Lyon (also called Lyons) is located in east-central France between Marseille and Paris in the Rhone-Alpes region. Lyon is the third-largest city in France after Paris and Marseille with a population of 495,000 in 2015.
The larger metropolitan area has a population estimated at 2.22 million, and it's the second-largest metro area in France behind Paris.
Lyon is known for its many historic landmarks, its annual light festival, and its role in cinema. It's also an important center for biotech and chemical industries and banking. Lyon is the international headquarters for Euronews and Interpol.
City Size and Population Density
Lyon is the capital of the Rhone department and the Rhone-Alpes region. The city proper has a population density of 10,000 people per square kilometer (27,000/square mile). The city proper also covers a surface area of approximately 47.87 square kilometers (18.48 square miles).
13% of the population of Lyon is foreign-born people without French citizenship. Most immigrants in Lyon are from Africa and countries in the European Union.
Lyon has a history going back more than 2,000 years, and it's visible in the city's many landmarks, which include Renaissance palaces and Roman ruins. Lyon is unique in the world in that it has never suffered from a major disaster or a wide-scale redesign by urban planners, leaving its history intact.
Lungdunam, which is the Roman name for Lyon, was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, Governor of Gaul. It later became Capital of Gaul due to its strategic location. Between 69 and 192 AD, the city enjoyed peace and prosperity with a population estimated at 50,000 to 80,000. It was here that the first Christian communities of Gaul appeared and where the early martyrdoms occurred.
During the Middle Ages, Lyon belonged to many provinces and then the Holy Roman Empire from 1018 to 1312 before it was given to France. The city experienced a new golden age during the Renaissance when merchants from throughout Europe arrived. Lyon became one of the largest cities in Europe in the 16th century.
Lyon was located very near the border between the occupied and free zone during WWII, which made it a strategic location for the French Resistance and the Germans. The business district was largely developed during the 1960s.
Lyon Population Growth
Lyon has a growing immigrant population, many of whom arrive for jobs in security and the cleaning industry. This trend is expected to continue and lead to moderate growth for Lyon.