Out and about A journey in the metropolitan area

Vaulx-en-Velin, an eclectic town

Planétarium de Vaulx-en-Velin
By Doriane
Published on 26/01/2023

Don't judge a book by its cover! While Vaulx-en-Velin sometimes suffers from a bad reputation, it is a family-friendly destination offering fun and culture. Here is our guide to help you discover it in a new light.

Located on the left bank of the Rhône, Vaulx-en-Velin is one of the biggest towns in the eastern Lyon area. Its name is derived from that of the Pays du Velin, a livestock farming area, and by extension a forest that covered the Bas-Dauphiné region until the early Middle Ages. For a long time, the town was at the mercy of the Rhône, which often caused devastating flooding in the surrounding farmlands. It was not until the industrial revolution, when the Jonage canal and Cusset hydroelectric dam were built, that the rivers frequent floods were brought under control.

The former marshlands are now a protected natural area with walking paths, which begin right next to the Planetarium and Charlie Chaplin centre, two landmarks on the local cultural landscape. People can enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Jonage canal, while more experienced hikers can walk all the way to the north of the town along the Promenade Lénine trail. Those who prefer to do their walking indoors in the warm will find the Carré de Soie shopping centre on the opposite bank, in the La Soie neighbourhood. Straddling the towns of Villeurbanne and Vaulx-en-Velin, this redeveloped area is home to Mini World, France’s largest animated miniature model park, as well as the busiest leisure centre in the whole of the Lyon region. Just a short walk away are the must-visit attractions Cirque Imagine, with its fabulous big top, and Usine Tase, a former textiles factory that has become one of the town’s iconic buildings. Among the reminders of Vaulx-en-Velin’s industrial past, there is the inviting bistro La Boule en Soie, which has retained all of its former charm.

A stroll by the water

For ramblers, hikers and Sunday strollers, the Promenade Lénine is a leisurely 5 km (1½ hour) walking path along the banks of Jonage canal, offering a chance to discover another side of Vaulx-en-Velin. 
Accessible to all
Starting point: Vaulx-en-Velin town centre 
Bus lines: 52 - C3 - C8, stop: Grand Vire

A little bit closer to the stars

The Vaulx-en-Velin Planetarium is the place to come to learn about science and the universe. Beginning on the 14th of January, the exhibition De la terre aux étoiles (From the Earth to the stars) offers a chance to put the world into perspective. Find out all about tools developed through space research, from rockets to probes, satellites and robots! 

Place de la Nation, Vaulx-en-Velin

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Live entertainment

Centre Culturel Charlie Chaplin Vaulx-en-Velin

Just a stone’s throw from the Planetarium, the Charlie Chaplin centre has changed a lot over the four decades since it was created. Its eclectic offering is oriented towards a young audience, including circus arts, live music, comedy and drama. On the bill this winter: French singer Marianne James, the puppet show Si loin, si haut ! (so far, so high!) by the company Rouge les Anges, and a lively interpretation of French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’ Le Carnaval des Animaux (The Carnival of the Animals ) by Orchestre Symphonique Divertimento.

Centre Culturel Charlie Chaplin
Place de la Nation, Vaulx-en-Velin

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Climbing high

Inaugurated in 1990, the Patrick Berhault tower was, for a time, the tallest outdoor artificial climbing wall in France. Now closed to the public, the tower named after the famous French mountaineer is home to the offices of the CPEAVV climbing club of Vaulx-en-Velin.

Tour d'escalade Patrick-Berhault
1 rue des vergers, Vaulx-en-Velin

All things mini

Mini World Vaulx-en-Velin Star Wars

Six years ago, Mini World and its 70,000 “residents” became the biggest attraction in Greater Lyon. It has already brought in more than 800,000 visitors! Until the 5th of March 2023, you will find Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Yoda, Darth Vader, Ewoks and Stormtroopers at the Lego Star Wars exhibition, which took more than one million bricks to make! 

Mini World Lyon
Pôle Carré de Soie,
3 Avenue de Bohlen, Vaulx-en-Velin

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One decade of Cirque Imagine

There are no clowns or animals at Cirque Imagine. Here, the shows combine circus arts with the glamour of cabaret. This year, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the circus has created a unique show named ‘Acte 5’. This 4½-hour show brings together contemporary dance acts and artists from the four corners of the Earth. 

Cirque Imagine
5, Avenue des Canuts, Vaulx-en-Velin

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