Venissious, Lyon metropolis, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Venissious is a French commune located in the metropolis of Lyon, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Formerly a peaceful agricultural and wine-growing village, Vénissieux has developed thanks in particular to its automobile industries, of which it was one of the cradles . The construction of large complexes from the 1960s onwards profoundly changed its urban and social aspect. It is the seventh city of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes by the number of inhabitants.

Vénissieux is located in the southern suburbs of Lyon. It is considered the “southern gateway to the Lyon agglomeration”. Benefiting from a privileged geographical location between Lyon, the Rhone valley and the plains of the Velin region, Vénissieux concentrates many economic activities on its territory and is crossed by major communication routes.

From Antiquity until the industrial revolution, Vénissieux was an essentially agricultural territory. The most recent excavation campaigns have brought to light remains from the Bronze Period. Texts dating from the Middle Ages also mention a villa “Véniciès”, which, etymologically, would have given “Vénissieux”. From the 9th to the 11th century Vénissieux was attached to the kingdom of Burgundy, then fell under the control of the Holy Roman Empire. After having been land of Dauphiné and property of the Counts of Savoy, Vénissieux and its inhabitants definitively integrated the kingdom of France.

The Château des Chandieu, located on the site of what is now Place Léon-Sublet, was destroyed at the end of the 17th century. The rue du château has taken over the old route of the wall, which explains its circular shape around the Saint-Germain church; it is therefore the oldest street in Vénissieux. Vénissieux later became the capital of the canton, breaking away from Bron. In 1790, the city was located in Isère and had 2100 inhabitants.

French Revolution
The PTT, to the benefit or detriment of Dauphine, is the rule of the xvi th century and xvii th century to Venissieux. Le Dauphiné lost Vénissieux in 1545, recovered it in 1605 and, finally, sold it to a certain M.Dugue, treasurer of France at the Lyon Bureau in 1649.

In 1560, the famous painter royal of portrait Franco – Dutch the xvi th century, Corneille de Lyon, bought a modest brick house and adjoining land in the current street of the Castle, it will become his country house.

Throughout the xvii th century, the territory of the Windmill, becomes a free zone due to a decision of Louis XIV to integrate the suburb of Guillotière the province Lyonnais. The border with the province of Dauphiné is thus moved to the Moulin à Vent. In a few years, many peasants, artisans, but also cabarets with a sometimes sulphurous reputation, settled in the district to take advantage of a more flexible justice and regulations than in Lyon.

Vénissieux becomes the capital of the canton by breaking away from Bron. And in 1790, the town found itself in the Isère region and had barely 2,100 inhabitants.

The castle of Chandieu, located south of the current place Léon Sublet, is destroyed at the end of the xvii th century, five centuries after its construction.

19th century
Isère cedes, by decree of March 2, 1852, Vénissieux, Bron, Vaulx-en-Velin and Villeurbanne in the Rhône department. Today, the Venissian canton is single-cell.

In February 1874, the Lyon City Council announced its intention to annex a large part of the town of Vénissieux: the sectors of Parilly, Moulin à Vent and the district of Saint-Fons (which was not yet detached from Vénissieux) are targeted. Villeurbanne and Caluire are also in the sights of the mayor of Lyon at the time, Victor Augagneur. The main sponsor for the expansion of Lyon had to face him, the many public meetings, the Socialist deputy of the constituency, Francis de Pressensé, as well as the town council of Vénissieux. The three stakeholders unanimously reject this project. However in 1905, the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of an annexation, but Victor Augagneur becamegovernor of French Equatorial Africa and lost interest in the Lyon suburb.

At the end of the 19th century, the hamlet of Saint-Fons reached the same level of population that the town of Venissieux. From 1885, the industrial hamlet of 2,197 inhabitants and the agricultural and commercial center of 2,283 inhabitants no longer had the same needs or the same development ambitions. Heated debates pitted supporters of separation against those of maintaining communal unity. It was on March 21, 1888, that the Senate passed a bill tabled in the Chamber of Deputies in June 1887, establishing Saint-Fons as an independent municipality.

The last vestiges of the oldest building in town, the castle of Chandieu, do not see the end xix th century. The last wall is indeed destroyed to build the presbytery of the church, then a subdivision of houses, including the common house; and finally the new town hall. Thus, the rue du Château, which has taken over the old route of the wall, ends its loop by offering a second outlet on the place Léon Sublet. Seen from above, the loop encircles the Church of Saint-Germain. It is the oldest street in Vénissieux.

Inaugurated in January 1882 by Napoleon Sublet, in record time, the new town hall stood alongside the church, with its 23 meters long, 4 levels and no less than 20 windows on its main facade. When it was inaugurated, it was the largest town hall in the entire Lyon suburb. It included the girls’ school with its two rooms that can accommodate a hundred students, the premises of the town hall and a library.

20th century
From 1915 to 1917, on the 400 hectares near the railway line, a vast construction site will open and soon the 23 hectares of buildings of the Berliet factories will rise. By 1918, the Vénissieux plant will be a third larger than that of its American model Ford in Detroit. The vehicles are entirely produced in these factories. The Vénissieux plant, where vehicles are fitted on a conveyor belt, is second to none in Europe 4. In 1918, during the First World War, three shell buildings exploded 5 destroying a good part of the city (including the medieval stained glass windows of the Saint-Germain church).

The 1914-1918 war gave the signal for large-scale industrialization of the left bank of the Rhône. Vénissieux will be the scene of a spectacular transformation. The war caused a large concentration of labor and tools and the population of Vénissieux grew, with the arrival of migrants called to work in the factories. The establishment of industries bring new resources and create jobs.

In 1921, there were 8,050 Venissians. In ten years, the population has almost doubled. Vénissieux and Saint-Fons already form the largest industrial concentration in the entire Lyon region. Around the large factories will then rise the first workers’ cities. The town is developing around 3 axes: Bourg, Parilly and Moulin à Vent.

This period also marks the renewal of associative life. In December 1927, the municipality acquired its first work of art: from the Venissian painter Daugmann. On June 3, 1934, the Maison du Peuple was inaugurated. The concentration of factories and housing on the same territory and the sharing of the same activities promote the social cohesion of this working population. The Berliet factory will give the start of the great strikes of spring 1936 in the Lyon region.

In order to respond to the housing crisis,, and the reception of people from family reunification, the decision was taken to build the large complexes of Minguettes from the 1960s. These bars and towers provide unparalleled comfort at the time with its spacious and bright accommodation, equipped with modern sanitary facilities. Quickly, public services and shops set up at the foot of the buildings.

In Vénissieux, 1,200 homes were destroyed in WWII. Louis Dupic, elected Mayor on October 19, 1944, started an extension plan which provided for a major development of the city in order to find solutions to the housing crisis. From 1944 to 1947, the municipality made a great effort to provide services, opening up roads and creating the conditions for construction over large areas. In 1948, Vénissieux ville martyr, received by Max Lejeune, Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, the Croix de Guerre with the silver star “A courageous municipality which provides effective aid to the Resistance”.

In 1962, Marcel Houël was elected Mayor of Vénissieux. The city is changing and will quickly rise to the rank of third city in the Rhône Department. On 220 hectares, the construction site of the ZUP of Minguettes opens in 1963. On January 1, 1969, the municipality of Vénissieux is included in the urban community of Lyon, Courly. In 1973, most of the buildings were built.

In 1987, the metro arrived in Vénissieux. During the 90s, Vénissieux made a name for himself thanks to his still active men’s handball team, which became French champion of the 1st division, won the Coupe de France and many successes on the European scene.

21th century
The 2000s were marked by the arrival of the tram, which linked the Minguettes plateau to the rest of the city and the Lyon area. In November 2019, the tram line linked the Moulin à Vent district to the Gerland, Mermoz and Est hospitals.

Historical heritage
Place Léon Sublet is the heart of the historical identity of Vénissieux, because it is located on the site of the old castle of Chandieu. Imagined under the mandate of Antoine Givord, on February 17, 1801, then built by Blaise Sublet, this square has changed its name several times during its history: place de Vénissieux until the advent of the town hall, where it is located. renamed town hall square. Today it bears the name of Léon Sublet, mayor of Vénissieux from 1879 to 1895 and builder of the imposing town hall which overlooked the eponymous square. The name Léon Sublet is actually a Republican diminutive of his real first name, Napoléon Sublet. This square witnessed major events in the city, such as the liberation in 1944 or the election of the city’s first communist mayor, Ennemond Romand,. The western part of the square, formerly called the “little square” is now dedicated to Henri Barbusse.
The old town hall is the main civil monument in Vénissieux. It was built on the foundations of the town house (xviii th century) Napoleon Sublet. This monument with the allure of a beautiful mansion has today become the municipal museum of the Resistance and Deportation.
The rue du Château, the oldest street in the city, was built in place of the old rampart of the castle, hence its name. At the xvi th century, this street housed a royal portrait famous Franco-Dutch painter country house, Corneille de Lyon.
The fortifications of Vénissieux, included in the safety enclosure which extended from Villeurbanne-Cusset to Saint-Fons, were built after the defeat of France against Prussia in 1870. Some remains of the Parilly battery, as well as on the northern slope of the Minguettes plateau.
The Louis-Pasteur school group in the Charréard district, built by Emile Auguste Chollat, disciple of Tony Garnier, is listed as a historical monument as a “remarkable post-war building”. It looks like a secular palace with an imposing facade.
The Parilly school group has a particular facade with the inscription of an old republican motto: ” Work, Peace, Humanity “. At its feet is the Pernet-Ducher square, which pays tribute to the rose growers who had made the reputation of the district at the beginning of the 20th century.
The school group of the Center located on the hill of the Center is the first public school in Vénissieux. It was built in 1911 and has long dominated the outline of the old village.
The Maison du Peuple was inaugurated in 1934, in the heart of the old industrial and workers’ districts of Vénissieux. “ Center of resistance, demands and workers’ actions. A place of reflection, creation and fraternity in the face of the harshness of the fighting, ”said André Gerin, former mayor of Vénissieux. It now houses the trade union center, the municipal theater and a plastic art exhibition hall.
The former mansion of Sandier (vénissiane notable family of the xix th century) also called “the castle” by Vénissieux was destroyed. The vestige that remains is the wooded ensemble of the current Louis Dupic park, with a drained basin in the center and its small wooden bridge, a trace of the old pond of the residence.
The Monument to the Resistance and Deportation, now a monument to the dead, was sculpted by Louis Muller, a famous French sculptor and engraver. We owe him the creation of the Marianne stamps of the 50s and 60s, the bas-reliefs of the theater of the Palais de Chaillot in Paris and many swords of academics, including that of Édouard Herriot, former mayor of Lyon and eminent figure of the III Republic. Formerly located in the center of Place Léon Sublet, it was moved to Parc Louis Dupic, following the renovation of Place.
The Laurent Gérin monument located in the eponymous square contains a statue of this former benefactor mayor, who bequeathed his fortune to the city after his death. The old bronze bust designed by Louis Muller was stolen by the Germans during occupation. Today the bust is in limestone.
With the presence on its territory of Renault Trucks factories (former Berliet factories), the city is one of the cradles of the French automobile.
The Camp de Vénissieux, at 25-27 avenue de la République, is a former internment camp for stateless Jews, then German prisoners during World War II.

Places and religious buildings
The church Saint-Germain has an appearance reminiscent of a recent church, while its origin attested dates back to the Carolingian period (xi th century). Formerly located in the center of the castle of Chandieu, it is the oldest building in the town by the chapel of the Virgin and the bell tower of the xv th century. The bell tower which rests on the old foundations of the keep of the old castle, shelters at its top, a frame of old oaks supporting three bells, one of which is remarkable in bronze, weighing 800 kilos and dated around 1550. The dating was confirmed by a certain M. Lemoine, master carilloneur of the town hall of Lyonin 1995, to the general surprise of the Venissians. As a result, it is considered to be one of the oldest in the metropolis of Lyon and the Rhône department. The church also houses a carved wooden crucifix from the xviii th century and a painting of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, patron of this church. This painting of the xviii th century and its golden framework of the xvii th century, make this table included in the inventory of historical monuments, the jewel of the town. As for the old stained-glass windows from medieval times, they were unfortunately shattered during the explosion of the munitions factories of the Arsenal on October 15, 1918. Last particularity: the Saint-Germain church is the only church of the region to have a nave perpendicular to the old nave. This was added in 1920 following the population growth of the village.
The Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc church in Parilly, built by Spanish and Italian immigrants from the Berliet factory in 1933, is remarkable for its stained glass windows listed as historical monuments. Théodore Hanssen, who left his mark there, is best known for having designed the stained – glass windows for the Sacré-Coeur in Paris.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception (or Church of the Windmill or the Locusts), was erected in 1907. It includes an altar and liturgical objects registered in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments.
The two cemeteries of Vénissieux are also a curiosity. In particular the old cemetery located on the hill of the Center which is steeped in local history, with the famous tombs of rose growers, but also those of former mayors and personalities of the town.
The Eyüb Sultan mosque, inaugurated in 2013 in the Parilly district, has a remarkable interior, through the choice of materials, the finesse of the sculptures and calligraphy, topped by a dome of sixteen meters in diameter.

Green spaces
In 2015, thanks to its tree-lined and flowered boulevards, the greenway traced by the T4 tramway and its commitment against the use of pesticides in its green spaces, the town of Vénissieux benefited from the “flower town” label with 4 flowers, the highest possible level in the competition of towns and villages in bloom. Among the many parks, we find:

Louis Dupic Park: located behind the town hall, this land is the relic of a park that surrounded the old large bourgeois house belonging to the Sandiers (now destroyed). Comprising 194 trees of 53 different species, some of which are almost a century old and largely unknown to the general public, it is worth a visit for its botanical richness. Every summer, it is the scene of the Fêtes Escales festival.
The Parilly park is the second in terms of surface area of the Lyon metropolitan area with nearly 178 hectares. It includes nearly 18,000 trees, the oldest of which were planted about sixty years ago. The park also has a sports area with many sports facilities. In 1937, the departmental council wanted to make it “the most beautiful park in France”, a competition was launched and won by Pierre Bellemain, a year before the Second World War. This project included a lake and a canal, but it was definitively stopped by the arrival of the war.
The Minguettes park is located on the western buttress of the Minguettes, nearly 15 hectares is home to 15 different species of trees.
The agricultural plateau of the Grandes Terres is located in the extreme south of the city, it offers in particular a 10.5 km loop for mountain biking.