Banks of the Saône

Along the Saône: A remarkable public space

The project of the team allied with landscapers George and Julien Descombes culminates in a newly developed riverbank area stretching for 1.5 kilometres. The space is designed for diverse uses, with the aim of strengthening bonds: between local users; between La Confluence and the historic centre; and between the community and the river. Seamlessly.



Redevelopment of the banks of the Saône in the Confluence district involves three tiers: the water, the lower quay (paved promenade) and the upper quay (resembling the countryside, with plants and trees). The project, to be completed in 2018, transforms the face of the riverside to welcome pedestrians, cyclists, basketball enthusiasts, skaters and bowls players of all ages. Priority was given to accommodating a wide range of uses and providing a variety of environments.


The Saône Park reaches into the neighbourhood

From north to south, the natural riverbanks and bucolic atmosphere pervade the Saône Park. It forms the core area of the riverside, home to numerous sports facilities (see close-up) on the upper quay and offering visitors a relaxing promenade on the lower quay. The redevelopment of the quays includes the restoration of Quai Rambaud, creating a public area for sports facilities and an open garden, as well as a new bike path, while preserving the green setting. The project also creates beautiful garden terraces and stone benches near the Saône. The promenade narrows as it approaches the more dense urban space at its northern end.


Trees: key components of development

Near the historic quarter, the architect of Bâtiments de France, serving as the guardian of France’s architectural heritage, worked on the green mall.  Along the entire riverside of the Saône, 150 trees, including lime and oak, were planted in line with the strict requirements of Lyon tradition and the need to ensure the quality of the urban interface between existing and new development. On the lower quay, a specific approach for the waterfront led to planting tree species adapted to the aquatic environment and climate change (ash, alder, and others).


The final touch? The passage under the bridges

The last stretch before the junction with the north of the peninsula remains to be completed. The narrowest area along its length unfolds under three bridges, creating a unique atmosphere. Materials like coloured concrete were chose to reflect this distinctive character and create a welcoming atmosphere. The promenade will be lowered to regain its historical level, and terracing will include a section set back to allow for varied uses. Delivery is expected in 2018. 



Sharing through diversity of use

The banks of the Saône are designed to adapt to a wide range of uses. These spaces for walking and socialising will host various facilities, including a 500-square-metre open garden, playgrounds, a football stadium, bowling greens, an open-air theatre, public sport grounds, a bike path and a skatepark. The passage under the bridges represents innovative land use (including “patterned” pavement), designed to be a shared space to meet the different needs of people walking, young children and skaters, without conflicts. Discussions were held with professionals specialising in these urban facilities to achieve perfect integration into the environment. All of the installations are also subject to consultation with the commission of the City of Lyon responsible for the rights of persons with reduced mobility.

Rives de Saône, equipment, basketball court, young people, quai Rambaud