The Croix-Rousse is a hill and a section of town in the city of Lyon, France. It straddles the city’s 1st and 4th arrondissements and is divided up into two parts: the pentes (in the 1st arrondissement) and the plateau (4th arrondissement). The nearly 840-foot hill is closely associated with the early silk trade in Lyon as this was the place that canuts (silk workers) moved from the Vieux Lyon in the middle part of the nineteenth century. This section of the city was given the name Croix-Rousse, which translates as the russet cross, because of a reddish-brown stone cross that the Christians erected on the hill in the 1500s. Today, this quarter is a popular tourist destination, not only because of historical highlights like the traboules in Lyon and the ruins in Croix Rousse, but also because of the market and shops, restaurants, and quaint cafes.
The Croix-Rousse Market is a must-see if you get anywhere near this part of the city. You can hop right off of the metro stop that delivers you right to the Croix-Rousse and suddenly be in the midst of this amazing place. It is by far the largest, and certainly the most vibrant market in the city of Lyon. The Croix-Rousse Market features some 120 official vendors that sell everything from produce and fresh meat and game, to Lyonnaise sausage and a wide variety of cheese and wine. The Croix-Rousse Market is open every day of the week for your shopping pleasure except for Monday. You will find the market on the Boulevard de Croix-Rousse. You can make a full day of your trip to the market by also checking out some of the other nearby attractions on the hill that locals refer to as “the hill that works” (as compared to Fourviere, which is oftentimes referred to as “the hill that prays.”)
The traboules in Lyon are some of the other attractions that are well worth exploring. These narrow passageways are thought to have originated in Lyon and can be found in only a select few other French cities including Saint-Etienne and Chambery. They were originally erected so that the silk workers could move expediently from their workshops to the river and back. The traboules in Lyon certainly cast light on the way that this community came to become the leader in the European silk trade, a major contributing factor to why Lyon prospered financially and socially through the tumult of the past couple of centuries.
La Croix-Rousse is an enchanting part of the city where you can not only enjoy the ability to explore a variety of ruins, historical monuments, and gorgeous classical architecture, but also where you can indulge in fine French food and wine, and simply relax along the peaceful waterways and cobblestone streets. Taking a stroll through the charming quarter of Croix-Rousse is like taking a walk through the past. You will be enchanted by the easy going manner of the people, the breathtaking architecture, and the divine food and wine around every corner. Be sure to also check out the ruins in Croix-Rousse like the remains of the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls and the Roman ruins.