An architectural oddity standing next to Tête d’Or park.
With its unique architectural design, which is modelled on the hull of a ship, but looks more like a flying saucer, this venue in Lyon’s 6th district is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. It is also one of the more recent additions to the cityscape.
The story goes back a few decades.
In 1984, the Lyon Fair, which was previously held here, between the Rhône and Tête d’Or Park, moved to a new venue: Eurexpo in Chassieu. It left behind a huge 35-hectare site, unoccupied and ideally located.
It did not take long for the mayor at the time, Francisque Collomb, to come up with a plan for a new complex. He launched an international competition that was won by landscape designer Michel Corajoud and Italian architect Renzo Piano, who had already designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Following several years of works, the all-new Palais des Congrès and Contemporary Art Museum hosted the 1996 G7 summit. However, things did not go quite to plan! The site turned out to be too small, offering insufficient capacity. A new, much larger venue was therefore created, with space for up to 3000 seats, as well as a semi-circular amphitheatre-style design that made it adaptable to all types of events. Its inauguration, ten years later, on the 1st of June 2006, marked the completion of the Cité Internationale.
Behind the scenes of the Lyon Convention Centre
‘Salle 3000’, as it is known by the people of Lyon, which hosts a busy schedule of conventions, concerts and major shows, can now also be discovered by visitors thanks to a new guided tour of the Cité Internationale complex, including the stages and backstage. Duration: 2½ hours.