The Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon was built circa 15 B.C.E. through the 2nd century C.E. and was designed to seat 10,000 spectators in its 180-meter diameter circumference. It remains an important cultural venue in Lyon with an annual festival drawing thousands of people to this old Roman city centre. This is the oldest still-standing theater in Roman Gaul and among the largest of its kind in the world.

It's set into the slope of the hill to take advantage of the terrain for amphitheater-style seating. In ancient times, plays—particularly comedies—were presented here, as well as dance performances.

Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon - one of the highlights of 10 Iconic Buildings and Places in Lyon and 10 Most Instagrammable Places in Lyon (Read all about Lyon here)

What are the highlights of the Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon?

The most famed highlight of the Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon is the annual Nuits de Fourviére, or Nights of Fourviére, festival. It takes place every summer and has gone on since 1946. It features theater, music, dance, circus and even movie presentations and draws thousands of people to view the spectacle. The theater almost always fills up and more, often drawing well over 100,000 people.

When the festival isn't going on, you can take photos of the stage, the Roman pillars, the seats and the well-trimmed surrounding gardens. You can even walk the same stage where Roman performers once stood.

What else is good to know about the Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon?

The Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon is also called the "Large Theater," since it sits directly next door to the Odeon, which is another ancient Roman theater that's about half the size, and also takes part in the annual festival. The Odeon was designed for musical performances and speakers.

Guided tours are available for individual and group visits, or you can take a self-guided visit and just wander on your own. The sites are largely accessible to people with disabilities. Visitors who need accommodations can get audio guides free of charge and get in free with two accompanying others.

Teatro Galo-Romano in Lyon

Location: Rue de l'Antiquaille, 69005 Lyon, France

Open: Hours vary by show

Phone: +33 (0)4 72 38 49 30