4th arrondissement of Lyon, France

The 4th district of Lyon is one of nine districts of Lyon, on the hill of Croix-Rousse. Covering an area of 293 hectares, the district covers the plateau of La Croix-Rousse. It is bounded on the south by 1 st district, on the east by the Rhone, which separates it from the 6 th district, on the west by the Saône and the 9 th district and finally north by the town of Caluire-and- To cook.

La Croix-Rousse is the heritage of many changes. Rich in traces of the past, it is steeped in the history of the canuts. Today, with its “village” identity, it is a beloved neighborhood, a common good for its diverse inhabitants and eager to live together.

The 4th district was created March 24, 1852 (date of creation of the first five districts), taking over the borders of the former municipality of La Croix-Rousse. Until the 1820s, the commune of Croix-Rousse was a rural commune mainly inhabited on both sides of the Grande-Rue, by many traders and by monks, settled since the 18th century. The invention of Jacquard mechanics will change its fate. This mechanism will allow the number of looms to be doubled. We have to find another space than the one where the canuts had been working since the 16th century, Vieux Lyon. The land available at the top of the slopes of Croix-Rousse and that of the municipality will do the trick and allow the construction of buildings specially intended for weaving. Ceilings over 4 meters high, high windows, austere facades, staircases specially designed for the passage of silk scrolls.

The settlement will be very rapid, as since the Revolution the silk houses run by the merchants have been gathered on the lower slopes of the hill. This proximity thus reduces delivery and communication times between traders and weavers. La Croix-Rousse will be attached in 1852 to the City of Lyon. In the meantime it will be the site of two canuts revolts which have remained in history as the first workers’ struggles but also witness to the first social gains such as mutualism, the concept of living with dignity through work, the improvement of industrial tribunals, workers’ cooperatives.

At the end of the 20th century, Croix-Rousse became an attractive district (a “village” it is sometimes said) and began to attract a new population who saw it as an exemplary district for its habitat, its economic dynamism, the pleasure of living there and meeting people there. The western sector and the Serin district then saw the appearance of numerous constructions, while the cours d’Herbouville kept its alignment of tall buildings. In all its variety, Croix-Rousse is the heritage of all these changes: rich in traces of the past, today it is the common good of its inhabitants, diverse and eager to live together.

The city of Lyon is one of three French municipalities currently divided into municipal districts (with Paris and Marseille). The law No.82-1169 of December 31, 1982 relating to the administrative organization of Paris, Lyon, Marseille and public establishments for inter-municipal cooperation, known as the PLM Law after the names of the cities concerned, is the French law which has established the particular administrative status applicable in particular to the city of Lyon. It was adopted in the context of the decentralization law (known as the Deferre Law) of March 2, 1982.

In this context, the PLM law transformed the former district town halls into structures elected at the local level. However, they are not fully-fledged town halls, and in particular do not levy taxes, but distribute the credits delegated to them by the Lyon Town Hall. However, they manage certain municipal facilities, and are consulted by the City of Lyon before certain decisions of local interest.

La Croix-Rousse district
La Croix-Rousse is a hill in the city of Lyon, and the name of the district located there. The plateau of the hill, which rises to 254 meters, is located in the 4th district, and its slopes are partly in the 1 st district.

La Croix-Rousse, nicknamed the hill that works in reference to the canuts, and in opposition to the hill that prays referencing the opposite hill of Fourvière, is a former commune of the Rhône department. This area is deeply marked by his past high-rise of the silk industry and the revolt of the silk workers, workers’ insurrection quite unusual for the era that inspired the great social movements of thought of the xix th century (Proudhon, Claude-Henri de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Karl Marx).

The tray (4th district), is a plateau between the Rhône and Saône, roughly from the Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse to the borders with Caluire-and-Bake (Theater and Cross Hospital -Rousse). A residential area, the plateau is distinguished from the rest of the city of Lyon by a special atmosphere that is said to be close to a “village”. This impression is reinforced by the boules pitches (like that of Clos Jouve) or the daily “small market”, located on Place de la Croix-Rousse and surrounded by bistros. The inhabitants actually cultivate there a certain insularity vis-à-vis the rest of the city. The slopes effectively act as a natural border separating the plateau from the rest of Lyon, and locals often say that they “go down to town” when it comes to reaching other districts.

Historical heritage
On December 5, 1998, the historic site of Lyon, a territory delimited by the old fortifications of the city including the hill of Fourvière as well as a large part of the Presqu’île and the slopes of Croix-Rousse (up to Boulevard de Croix-Rousse, side 4th district included) is on the list of World Heritage by UNESCO (the historic site of Lyon)

Architectural heritage
Canut and traboules architecture
the Montée de la Grand’Côte which offers a superb panorama at the top
the silk weavers buildings (including Brunet House or “House of the 365 windows”). In order to take advantage of the daylight, these buildings are characterized by very high windows, without shutters or ornate frames. Most of the time, their facades do not have a balcony.
the traboules: the Cour des Voraces, the Passage Thiaffait…

Le Gros Caillou
One of the symbols of the district is the Gros Caillou, a large rock whose mineralogical composition, a block of Triassic quartzite from the Vanoise, testifies to the extension of the glaciers of the Alps during the recent Riss. Its discovery dates back to 1862 during the piercing of the string connecting the Peninsulaat Croix-Rousse: the tunnel boring work had to be interrupted because the workers were blocked by an extremely hard rock, which they could not break. The rock in question therefore had to be cleared and extracted from the substrate, which required great resources and caused some delay in the work. Finally unearthed, the “Gros Caillou” has become both the symbol of the strength and perseverance of Lyonnais in the face of obstacles, but also the symbol of the connection of the Croix-Rousse to Lyon, facilitated by the funicular. The Gros Caillou was thus placed and installed at the eastern end of the boulevard, from where it dominates the Rhône and the whole plain as far as the Alps.

The Gros Caillou originally was riding on the 1 st district (slopes, Lyon) and the 4th district (the plateau of the Croix-Rousse). Following the construction of underground parking and a park (named Space Gros Caillou), it was moved thirty meters for now only in the 1 st district, what excites the wrath of some Croix-roussiens.

Le Gros Caillou was immortalized in children’s literature as a rallying point for the Six Compagnons de la Croix-Rousse, in the series written by Paul-Jacques Bonzon in the Green Library. According to legend, the Gros Caillou also represents the heart of a greedy bailiff who would have put on the streets a family of deprived canuts.

The undergrounds
There is a network of underground galleries under the Croix-Rousse hill, but they are prohibited to the public by a municipal decree of 1989. The oldest Lyon galleries are often drainage galleries dug by the Romans, either to capture or to evacuate water in order to avoid any collapse of the hill. Later, some of the many convents that covered the hill seem to have used these Roman galleries, adapting them to their needs. Finally, more recently, military galleries were built in the xvi th century and xvii th century, along with the strong belt around Lyon.

It is assumed that the “ Fishbones ” of the “Fantasques network”, which bear this name because of their shape resembling a fish skeleton, are of military origin. They would have been used to store equipment. But this is only one of the hypotheses about them for the moment. At least one of the fish bones seems to have served as catacombs. Most underground galleries seem to be fallen into oblivion after the water supply problems of the Cross Roussiens had been settled, that is to say at the end of the xix th century.

The enclosure of the Croix-Rousse
This long wall, forming part of the first belt of Lyon, closed the city to the north. Rebuilt in 1834 on the route of the old wall (built in the xvi th century and demolished after the siege of 1793), its main role was to ensure the defense of Lyon in case the strengths of Caluire and Montessuy were compromised by ‘enemy. This enclosure was traversed by 6 bastions culminating at 10 m above a ditch surrounding them.

Other buildings
The Rosa Mir Garden;
the Brunet house, known as the house with 365 windows;
the Clos Jouve, a center of the boules;
the district constituting the northern limit of the city was surrounded by defensive buildings (remains of ramparts). Only forts Saint-Jean and Saint-Laurent have remained intact (see Belts of Lyon);
the Villemanzy hotel and its garden (former Villemanzy military hospital);
the Institution des Chartreux, high school located in the buildings of the former Chartreuse du Lys-Saint-Esprit (xvii th century);
The private Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle high school located in the former buildings of the Perpetual Adoration of the Sacred Heart, a congregation recognized by the Church in 1824. Before the Revolution, the buildings belonged to the monks of the Chartreuse du Lys Saint-Esprit.
the Saint-Rédempteur clinic, a former leper colony installed on rue d ‘ Ypres, operating since 1946.

Religious heritage
The slopes of Croix-Rousse having been occupied since the Gallo-Roman period, one can admire the remains of the amphitheater of the Three Gauls there. In the center of this ancient amphitheater, a post evokes the tortures of Saint Blandine, Saint Pothin and the Martyrs of Lyon.

Saint-Bruno des Chartreux Church, baroque jewel, masterpiece by Ferdinand-Sigismond Delamonce, it houses one of the most beautiful canopies in France made by Servandoni.
Church of the Good Shepherd, surprising inaccessible church.
Saint-Polycarpe Church, former Oratorian Church, located between rue René Leynaud and the two passages Mermet and Thiaffait.
Saint-Bernard Church, Montée Saint-Sébastien, near the Plateau (disused).
Chapel of the Carthusians (Institution of the Carthusians)
The Chapel of the Sacred Heart of the Carthusians (Lycée Saint-Jean-Baptiste de La Salle)
Saint-Augustin church: Roman-Byzantine church on the Croix-Rousse plateau (rue Jacquard)
Saint-Denis Church: historic northern parish of Croix-Rousse (rue Hénon)
Sainte-Élisabeth Church: modern church (rue Hénon)

Cultural space

The Croix-Rousse Theater
In 1992, the Maison de la danse left Place Joannès Ambre to take over the premises of the Theater in the 8th arrondissement. Two years later, the city of Lyon, the Ministry of Culture and the Rhône-Alpes region entrusted the management of the Croix-roussienne room to Philippe Faure and his Compagnie de la Goutte: the Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse was born under the slogan “Opening of a theater, opening theater”. In sixteen years of management, Philippe Faure has endeavored to defend the work of artists from different backgrounds, thus offering a program that is both eclectic and demanding.

Driven by the desire to give real visibility to this house, he manages to seduce a loyal and curious audience and definitively anchors this theater in the national artistic landscape. In July 2010, he bowed out after having formulated his last utopia: to rename the Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse in “House of the People 2.0”. In December 2010, Jean Lacornerie was appointed director of the Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse. He develops an artistic project in the continuity of that of Philippe Faure and intends to bring to the Theater its universe at the crossroads of theater and music.

Saint Denis Cinema
Heir to the patronage cinema of the 1920s, this neighborhood cinema has kept an old-fashioned atmosphere and configuration.

4th arrondissement library
Located near Place des Carpets, the 4th arrondissement library is easily accessible. Reopened in….. after long works of embellishment and modernization, it is now equipped with automatic terminals which allow the collection and return of books, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. The reception / entrance has also been modernized and there are all free cultural items available. The Youth Space welcomes young readers with a comfortable reading room as well as a space for the many workshops offered throughout the year.

Events and festivals
The “large” Croix-Rousse market, which stretches along the boulevard (for nearly 1 km) every day except Monday.
La vogue des Marrons, every fall.
Saturday and Sunday morning, the town crier.
Every year in September, the harvest of the République des Canuts (at the Parc de la Cerisaie).
During the second weekend of September, the Grande Braderie occupies the Grande-Rue and the Place de la Coix-Rousse.
Since 2008, a free monthly newspaper entitled La Ficelle has been devoted to current events (heritage, town planning, culture, neighborhood life, portraits, agenda) of the Croix-Rousse and Caluire-et-Cuire districts. It is currently published in 15,000 copies.
The Petiteshistoiresxrousse created by the Lyon 4th district councils evokes the memories of its inhabitants: the little stories, which make the life of Croix-Rousse and have made the history of the district.
A district of the town of Oyonnax and the square which forms its center are also called “Croix-Rousse”. The Lyon industrialists who worked in conjunction with their Oyonnaxian counterparts thus underlined the geographical resemblance between the two sites, a hill overlooking the old town in the valley, accessible by steep ramps.

Nature spaces
The City provides its inhabitants and visitors with a multitude of spaces with very varied colors, atmospheres and sizes. The banks of the Saône also benefit from a redevelopment plan. Explore the architectural, historical and natural heritage of the Saône.
An urban and bucolic stroll that strengthens the links between neighborhoods and villages while preserving the biodiversity of the banks of the river.

Parks and gardens
In addition to the large spaces strategically located in the city, a multitude of more intimate green spaces come, like so many chance encounters, to ventilate it. Different urban development approaches have enabled the most original creations.

Rosa Mir Garden
The Rosa Mir garden is a garden located in the heart of the Croix-Rousse in Lyon, created by Jules Senis. It has been classified as a historical monument since the December 24, 1987. The garden is located in an inner courtyard of the building at 83, High Street of the Croix Rousse, in the 4th district of Lyon. It is reached by the Impasse Viard, whose entrance is located near the No. 87 of the main street of the Croix-Rousse.

It was created by Jules Senis (1913-1983), a tiler mason, refugee from the Spanish Civil War who devoted the last twenty years of his life to the creation of an “extraordinary” garden dedicated to his mother Rosa Mir Mercader as well as to the Virgin Mary, to whom an altar is dedicated. After years of hospital treatment for cancer, Jules Senis vows to build a garden if he goes into remission. From 1958 he patiently created the garden he had dreamed of. Shortly before his death, in 1983, the “Association of Friends of the Rosa Mir Garden” was created for the preservation and promotion of the site. Unfortunately, over the years, the garden deteriorates and the planting campaigns are not always respectful of the original creation. The city of Lyon, owner of the site, decides to close it to the public in 2013 in order to initiate major renovation work. The garden has been reopened to the public since June 25, 2016

It is made up of a set of columns and crossbars decorated with thousands of shells cleverly dispersed alternately with stones that line all surfaces. The whole is no more than 400 m 2, but the scenery is total, we recognize the Spanish inspiration, in particular the structures à la Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, such as Park Güell or the Sagrada Família. The originality of this garden often evokes for visitors the work of the factor Cheval, although here we are dealing more with a clever mix of floral art and decorated structures finely marrying the mineral and the vegetal.