THROUGHOUT TIME

RECONQUERING A STRATEGIC TERRITORY

Following its history of port and logistics activity, La Confluence long remained an isolated neighbourhood, situated "behind the arches" of Perrache. In 2003, two centuries after its conquest of the waters, the district was reborn and took control of its destiny.

PERRACHE, A CONQUEST PUSHING AGAINST THE CURRENT 

In 1771, Michel-Antoine Perrache launched a plan to drain and fill the secondary arms of the rivers. 

The objectives:

  • consolidate the string of islands located on the Rhône,
  • expand Lyon southward beyond the Ainay ramparts. 

This project, presented in 1766 and then in 1769, was approved by King Louis XV. Its aim was to regain two kilometres of land at the confluence. It took seven decades to complete this epic construction project in 1841, designed by a visionary engineer. At the same time, Jean-Antoine Morand called for an extension on the Rhône’s left bank.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF LYON CONFLUENCE?

See the book "Lyon Confluence, une conquête à contre-courant" published by Libel in 2019. 

Despite the incredible metamorphosis under way at the confluence of the Saône and the Rhône, we mustn’t forget the historical process at work since the Age of Enlightenment, when Antoine Perrache proposed "a territory that did not exist” in Lyon. Each era has left its mark: bold projects, infrastructure, utopias and visions of progress. Today’s model is for a sustainable city. La Confluence is once again a priority, as a laboratory of urban ecology. 

Author: Nicolas-Bruno Jacquet, art historian, guide and speaker. 

Find out more

FROM EFFERVESCENCE TO INDUSTRIAL DECLINE 

For more than a century, industrial, port and logistics activity flourished. The inauguration of Perrache railway station in 1857 emphasised the strategic nature of this district, once part of the Roman capital of Gaul. 

In the 19th century, Lyon Confluence contained

  • two prisons
  • a gas plant
  • a slaughterhouse
  • a dockyard
  • a train station
  • an industrial port
  • a wholesale market 

In the 20th century, industrial activities gave way to numerous wastelands on the Saône side. In 1995, the activity at Port Rambaud came to an end. The Pavillon des Salins, La Sucrière, and the Pavillon des Douanes all closed their doors, to be put to other uses.

+ all key dates (1771 to 1999)

Once upon a time in Lyon Confluence

AN EXCEPTIONAL URBAN PROJECT 

In 2003, with the creation of the designated development zone (ZAC) for the first phase, the Saône side of the Lyon Confluence project was launched.  There were ambitious objectives:

  • redevelop industrial brownfields to make them part of Lyon's city centre, now doubled in size, 
  • build a sustainable city designed for the well-being of its inhabitants,
  • develop an attractive and dynamic neighbourhood. 

+ all key dates (2003 to 2030)

 

AN AMBITIOUS CHALLENGE 

Transforming 150 hectares of neglected land, located "behind the arches" of Perrache, was an ambitious but inspiring challenge. Bringing La Confluence back to life required the work of successive town planners and landscape designers: 

  • François Grether and Michel Desvigne for the first phase,
  • Herzog & de Meuron and Michel Desvigne for the second,
  • Gérard Penot, the Ruelle workshop, for the metamorphosis of Perrache and the public spaces of the Market Quarter.  

This development plan attracted architects from all over Europe and led to the creation of many urban workshops. In this way, the architects can express their talent within a clearly defined framework.