Out and about Voyage dans la métropole

Find it on the map: Rillieux-La-Pape

Virginie Billy
By Virginie
Published on 05/10/2023

Sometimes it only takes a few dance steps to get from a rough neighbourhood to a place of vibrant culture. Rillieux-la-Pape has pulled this off with a major urban initiative underpinned by various cultural projects.

Located in the north-east of the metropolitan area, Rillieux-la-Pape lies next to the border with the department of Ain, which it belonged to until 1968. As for the origin of its name, it is known that ‘Rille’ is related to the word ‘sillon’ (furrow), in reference to the route of an ancient road. The second part of the town’s name does not refer to any visits by the pope; it is related to a castle mound known as a ‘poype’. While the town is sometimes in the news for the wrong reasons, it would be a shame to let this put you off.

The fort of Vancia, for instance, is well worth a visit. Initially built to protect the town of Miribel in the Ain, it rises to an altitude of 332 metres and offers a stunning view of La Dombes with its many lakes. It served as a lookout for attacks from Italy and Germany, as well as a buffer against potential revolts in the city of Lyon… Today, the fortifications are home to the Vanciaventure adventure park and even a 500 m² horror escape game, which takes place in the darkest corners of the fort…

A major scheme for the town of Rillieux-la-Pape was initiated in 2015, one of four major projects run by the Lyon metropolitan area, which is aimed at lastingly improving the quality of life of the town’s 30,887 inhabitants. Culture is one of the main drivers of growth and development. In addition to relying on well-established organisations, like the Ô Totem youth club and the CCNR (Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape, which was partially destroyed in 2017 by an act of arson, but still puts on dance performances outside of the venue), the town has also welcomed in new facilities, such as the media library L’Échappée. The latter, housed in a 4700 m² glass structure, was inaugurated in March 2021 and received the ‘Grand Prix des Bibliothèques’ in the year of its opening.

There are other cultural monuments at numbers 1 and 3 Avenue du Mont-Blanc. Here, since 2021, an artist residency has been managed by the association SpaceJunk Lyon, which is also behind the Street Art Rillieux festival held in October. Each guest artist is given total freedom to personalise an empty apartment according to their style and creative desire. The good news is that there is still time left to visit them before the building’s demolition, scheduled for the end of 2023!

Celebrating street art!

During the second edition of the Street Art Rillieux festival, run by SpaceJunk, the town’s walls will be splashed with colour! On the programme: creation of frescoes, introductory workshops, an exhibition by the artist Obey, graffiti performance and tours of apartment-artworks.

A stroll in Rillieux

Make the most of the lingering warm weather to discover the Buissière, a 10.6-km walking trail. After passing by family gardens, the route will take you to a panoramic viewpoint, located at the foot of the water tower of Les Bruyères, and then to the chapel of La Buissière and the canal of Miribel.

Duration: 3 hrs. Starting point: sports complex of Montanay. TCL bus line 97, stop ‘La Croix des Hommes'.

Where to eat?

At Le Comptoir du Loup Pendu, for its vintage décor, but above all for its generous, traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, which has earned it many loyal patrons. This is an essential address for those who like their food and appreciate Gamay wine. The restaurant is certified by the Franc-Mâchon quality label and is a member of the Bistrots Beaujolais network.

A local hero

Among the various athletes to watch at the upcoming Olympic games in Paris, the fencer Manon Apithy-Brunet will be the main star here. A double medal-winner in sabre fencing at the Tokyo Olympics, and current European Champion, this athlete began learning the art at the age of eight, at her local fencing club: Le Sabre au Clair.

Instagram @nounebrune

Let’s dance!

Planned as part of the 20th Dance Biennale, the performance Silver Rosa, by the director and choreographer of the CCNR, Yuval Pick, brings together a group of ten dancers of various ages and origins, each one reflecting a different world, with its folklores and unique history.