La Place Bellecour is the central historic city square of Lyon, featuring iconic statuary and sculpture, and has seen centuries of history. During Roman times, the square served military and commercial purposes. It was a vineyard owned by the Archbishop of Lyon in the 12th century, served as an encampment of soldiers in 1562, and after a nearly century-long court battle, the king took possession.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site has seen many names: the Place Royale, Place Louis-le-Grand, the Place de la Fédération, Place de l'Égalité, Placé Bonaparte and finally, the Place Bellecour. It's among the largest open pedestrian squares in Europe.

Place Bellecour in Lyon - one of the highlights of 11 Best Things to Do in Lyon and 10 Most Popular Streets in Lyon (Read all about Lyon here)

What are the highlights of the Place Bellecour in Lyon?

Place Bellecour is a center of social life in Lyon, with several statues forming major visitor attractions. These include the central equestrian statue of Louis XIV, the Saône and the Rhône statues, the Stone Watchmen and the statue of Antoine de Saint Exupéry before the Little Prince.

The square also hosts major events throughout the year, including a book fair, public concerts, student and union demonstrations and a weekly Friday roller ride that begins here. Every winter, the square transforms with the addition of a public ice rink and a 60-meter Ferris wheel. Every Pentecost weekend, a pétanque competition is held here.

What else is good to know about Place Bellecour in Lyon?

Place Bellecour is quite literally the center of Lyon and is considered kilometer 0, the point from where all other distances in the city are calculated. Stretching out from the square are four main thoroughfares from which you can easily access the opera house, a line of boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. This is a place where you can brush shoulders with locals and visitors alike, particularly young professionals and lawyers.

Just steps away from the square, you can find Decitre, an international bookstore that's popular with those looking for English-speaking texts. It's also the location of the Lyon Tourist Office.

Place Bellecour in Lyon

Location: Place, 69002 Lyon, France

Open: 24/7

Phone: +33 (0)4 72 77 69 69