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La Confluence Lyons Cutting Edge

Those roving travellers who, on a visit to the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, are unsated by delving into its past in the streets of Vieux Lyon, rambling through the bohemian district of La Croix-Rousse – which once hosted the silk workshops that earned the city fame and identity – or visiting the Institut Lumière, where the seventh art took its first tentative steps, and would instead like to discover the Lyon of the future, should make a point of heading for the Lyon Confluence.

At the tip of the peninsula where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet on their passage through Lyon lies the city’s most avant-garde district, the site of state-of-the-art architectural structures designed by a host of national and international architectural studios.

In its beginnings, the Confluence was an industrial precinct with numerous warehouses which gradually fell derelict. Over the last few years, this neighbourhood has been redeveloped, becoming what is now the apple of Lyon’s eye. This has been achieved by implementing a large-scale urban renewal project which has become a new focus of interest for both the Lyonese and tourists alike. Guided by the precepts of sustainability and creativity, the project features some highly interesting constructions and the district has taken on a markedly new lease of life, attracting businesses, restaurants and the odd hotel, and the project still has a long way to go.

Le Cube Orange is one of the icons of the district and one of the first surprises to hit newcomers to the area. The work of French architects Jakob + Macfarlane Architects, this huge building has a giant, cone-shaped hole gouged out of it, its function being both aesthetic and to provide light and ventilation. Another landmark and sequel to the Cube Orange, as it is designed by the same architects, is the Euronews HQ, although here one’s attention is struck by its loud green colour and this time the building’s rectangular facade is pierced by two holes. Another construction which made an impression on us during our stroll through La Confluence was Dark Point, the work of French architect Odile Decq, where the structure seemingly reaches out to embrace the river.

La Sucriére acts as a counterpoint to the aforementioned shot of cutting-edge architecture. Once a factory warehouse for storing sugar, it has now been refurbished and converted into an exhibition space for mainly art and creative works in general.

The itinerary culminates in the Musée des Confluences, unveiled in December 2014 and housed in a building characterised by the deconstructivist architectural style of the Austrian Coop Himmelb(l)au. Shaped to resemble a cloud, the museum is dedicated to natural history and societies. The permanent collection comes from the Museum of Lyon and features exhibits ranging from ethnographic artefacts to natural science objects.

And, if all that hasn’t quite quenched your sightseeing thirst, you can always go on a heady shopping spree in the district’s emblematic shopping complex – the largest in Lyon – namely the Pôle de Commerces et Loisirs Confluence which, apart from countless stores, is also the site of numerous restaurants, cinemas, gyms, etc.

Now that you know about Lyon’s most avant-garde neighbourhood, book your Vueling here and discover it for yourself.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Anthony V.

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