Perspective of La Part-Dieu high-rises seen from Saint-Paul, along with Saint-Nizier bell towers
|Boroughs||3rd arrondissement of Lyon|
|• Total||1.17 km2 (0.45 sq mi)|
|• Density||17,606/km2 (45,600/sq mi)|
La Part-Dieu is the central business district and beating heart of Lyon Metropolis, inside an urban area of more than 2.2 million inhabitants. It is also the second largest tertiary district in France, after La Défense in Greater Paris, with over 1,150,000 m² of office and service space, along with 45,000 service sector jobs, 2,500 companies, affordable rents and a 97% occupancy rate. A major European nerve centre, La Part-Dieu high-speed train station is a leading interchange rail station on the continent, welcoming 120,000 travellers everyday, while its multimodal hub deals with 500,000 daily commuters, by means of public transport such as métro, tram and buses lines, taxi and bike services, including the Rhônexpress shuttle connecting La Part-Dieu directly with Lyon-Saint-Exupéry International Airport.
Located on the Left Bank of the Rhône river, this urban centre also provides major entertainment and cultural facilities, including one of the largest urban shopping mall of all Europe, 800 shops, Paul Bocuse indoor food market, café terraces, the Auditorium concert hall, Bourse du Travail theatre, Municipal Library and Departmental Archives. Moreover, it harbours Tour Incity (202m), Tour Part-Dieu (164m) and Tour Oxygène (117m), making Lyon one of the few European cities able to display high-rise architecture right next to its historical core.
- 1 Governance
- 2 Urbanity
- 3 History
- 4 Economy
- 5 Landmarks
- 5.1 Sole skyscraper and high-rises
- 5.2 Other landmarks
- 5.2.1 Railway Station
- 5.2.2 Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
- 5.2.3 Mall
- 5.2.4 Auditorium Maurice Ravel
- 5.2.5 Bourse du Travail theatre
- 5.2.6 Municipal Library
- 5.2.7 City and Departmental Archives
- 5.2.8 Lyon Metropolis headquarters
- 5.2.9 Montluc Fort and Prison museum
- 5.2.10 Church of Blessed "Saint" Sacrement
- 5.2.11 Garibaldi swimming pool
- 6 Transportation
- 7 La Part-Dieu 2030
- 8 See also
- 9 References
The current 3rd arrondissement Mayor, centrist Catherine Panassier, was elected in 2018 thanks to the support of the former Mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb. She works for Lyon Metropolis' permanent commission as an advisor on urban habitat, planning, housing and politics.
SPL Part-Dieu, or Part-Dieu's publicly-owned local development corporation, is used by local authorities as an operational tool. It was created back in 2014 and is governed by a board of administrators, chaired by David Kimelfed, head of Lyon Metropolis. 20 people work on urban, economic, human and resources related problems. They manage, control, promote and coordinate the Part-Dieu project.
Lyon Metropolis is headquartered in La Part-Dieu district, in a brutalist building from the 1970s, on Garibaldi street. It concentrates hundreds of civil workers and local figures hold regular meetings there.
A district of 21,000 inhabitants, La Part-Dieu has developed on both sides of the railway and is mostly made up of high-rise and low-rise architecture. According to La Part-Dieu SPL area, this 3rd arrondissement district is roughly limited by Garibaldi street to the West (Rhône Docks and Place Guichard district), Juliette Récamier to the North (Brotteaux district), Maurice Flandin to the East (La Villette district) and the former La Buire automotive plants to the South (ZAC de La Buire). It has originally been planned according to La Défense urban planning model.
La Rize river used to run through Part-Dieu but was buried in a sewage system. Nowadays, urban planners aim at preventing urban heat island effects thanks to green spaces. For example, Garibaldi street, once a main urban highway, has been revamped as a part of a green path going from Tête d’Or Park to Sergent Blandan and Gerland Park. La Part-Dieu also offers several plazas (Nelson Mandela, Europe, Du lac, Voltaire and Francfort), several gardens (Jugan, Jacob-Kaplan and Sainte-Marie-Perrin) and a park (Montluc Fort), on top of the centenary plane trees from the former cavalry barracks.
Various theories shed some light on the origins of the "Part-Dieu" name (literally "property of God"). It could either come from the tenacity with which several landlords managed to save pieces of land from Rhône waters or how Guillaume de Fuer named his parcel "Pardeu" by the end of the 12th century. A last theory states that Marc-Antoine Mazenod gave his 140 hectares land to Hôtel-Dieu Public Hospitals after his daughter was saved miraculously and named it "Gift from God".
Before the 1850s, La Part-Dieu was composed of rural flood-zones. It was ceded by the Mazenod-Servient family to the Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon Public Hospitals in 1737. The embankment of the Rhône river and construction of bridges ( see Bridges of Lyon ) led to the management of flood risk and urbanization of the eastern Rhone bank from 1772 onwards. By the end of the 18th century, La Part-Dieu domain was a large estate bordered by the Brotteaux and Guillotière districts. 
Lafayette bridge erected in 1872 accelerated the eastward urbanization process, while cleansed farmlands gave way to wheat production. From 1830 to 1848, the city erected walls to protect itself from foreign invasions. Montluc Fort saw life in 1831. La Part-Dieu, thus becoming a fort, acquired a military function. Because of the administrative, urban and geological complexity of Lyon, rail transport brought multiple train stations to existence. The Part-Dieu one was solely dedicated to freight transport.
In 1844, Public Hospitals sold their land to the military administration, which built cavalry barracks from 1851 to 1863. However, the process of urbanization was limited by traverse axes and the fact that Lafayette street was the only road connecting La Part-Dieu with the Lyon peninsula. In order to link the city with Geneva, Gare des Brotteaux was designed by the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée company, which led to the dismantling of wall fortifications to make way for railway lines. Meanwhile, the military compound took on the orthogonal footprint of the original farm estate.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Édouard Herriot was elected Mayor of Lyon, a dominating French city outside of Paris, thanks to its dynamic industrial and commercial output. Inspired by the French hygiéniste urbanist movement, similar to Haussmann's renovation of Paris, he undertook major works to improve urban and social space. The eastward urban expansion, rail and road networks turned the Part-Dieu marshalling yards into the centre of the metropolitan area. In 1926, a project based on American Downtowns emerged.
Following World War II, France's top priorities were to rebuild the housing stock fast, to push for economic development and to favour efficient movements by car. Due to the evolution of warfare, the military compound lost its importance and became part of a massive housing estate project.
In 1960, the French State sold the lands to a private company, SERL, to bring the project to life. The subsequent demolition of existing structures took 5 years. The fact that large estates were owned by state administrations (Public Hospitals, SNCF and the military), allowed for a profound transformation right in the middle of the city.
The program evolved under the mandate of Mayor Pradel, not only by pushing for housing construction but also for encouraging the construction of an administrative centre and private office space to host public services, such as radio and police stations. The winning architectural project abided by the Athens Charter, a rigorous modernist urban planning philosophy developed by Le Corbusier.
It promoted the separation of human and car flow through the use of "above the street" concrete structures, in a La Défense fashion, allowing for car supremacy on the lower street level, while overhead orthogonal architecture standing on reinforced concrete stilts followed the Unité d'habitation principles. Consequently, several buildings were drawn by the hands of Jacques Perrin-Fayolle, Jean Sillan and Jean Zumbrunnen, nonetheless, only a third of the planned structures were constructed.
While the Charles de Gaulle government pushed for the decentralization of France, car-centric urbanism from the Trente Glorieuses fuelled the growth of the periphery at the expense of the centre. As a result, a management plan was drafted by urbanist Charles Delfante and Jean Zumbrunnen, under the supervision of Mayor Louis Pradel. It included the development of commercial, tertiary and cultural activities, in order to compete with Paris and other international cities and to turn La Part-Dieu into a showcase of modernity. A central train station was planned but the SNCF refused to fund it, a move which hindered the purpose of the directional center.
Lyon had to become the "Balancing Metropolis", relying on regional cities like Grenoble or Saint Etienne, that fought the impoverishment and depopulation of urban centers, owing to a network of highways passing through La Part-Dieu. The original plan included major east-west an north-south green axes, pedestrian-friendly spaces such as a central plaza well served by public transit, and an iconic tower as tall as the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière from its historical hill.
However, the 1970s oil shocks and following housing crises altered the project as profitability became the main concern, isolating the district from the rest of city flows. Pedestrians were alienated because of the rupture of major axes caused by the expansion of the central mall, and also by favouring vehicle transport over public transit and finally by constructing concrete pedestrian bridges several meters above street level that isolated architectures into islands. Nevertheless, several iconic structures were elevated during this decade, such as the Municipal Library (1972), the Mall and Auditorium (1975) and the Tour Part-Dieu (1977). To that end, La Part-Dieu differentiated itself from the historical center with a strong architectural identity by offering high end tertiary activities and public services.
Major rail node
In 1974, it was decided to transfer the old Brotteaux station to La Part-Dieu thanks to its central position. By that time, Line TGV line, between Lyon and Paris. However, large urban roads surrounding the business district such as Viver-Merle Boulevard, kept the business district isolated from Central Lyon and the train station.of Lyon Métro arrived inside the Mall in 1978. Half of the marshalling yards were converted into a large real estate project in order to fund the development of the new train station on each side of the rail tracks. The objective was also to integrate the district with its railways, that is, Central Lyon with eastern neighborhoods. 1983 saw the inauguration of France's first high speed rail
European business district
La Part-Dieu's expansion slowed down during 1990s because of a strong momentum of urban development all over the agglomeration, regarding the Confluence district, the Cité Internationale, Gerland and La Doua Campus. The City Council drove efforts to minimize car travel and to encourage public transit within city limits. It also wished to establish a proper European business district doubling its office supply by densifying the area with 7 highrises such as the Swiss Life and Oxygène Tower, although most proposals were scrapped, because Lyon was focusing elsewhere. Other objectives aimed at reintegrating the district within its surrounding urban environment by rethinking major axes, bringing the T1 tramway to life, renovating public spaces, improving connections between the métro and the main train station and demolishing elevated pedestrian footbridges.
Regional and urban context
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with a GDP of 250 billion euros, is the second French and fourth European region in terms of GDP : 70,000 companies are created there each year. It is the first industrial French region (with 500,000 industrial jobs on 50,000 sites) and second only in terms of exports (imports amount to 11.2% and exports to 12.4% of France's global exchanges). Chemicals are the main export sector.
According to a 2018 study of Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC), Lyon is a Beta- city, meaning that it's an important globalized city, instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy. It is also a credible alternative to Paris, with a GDP of 74.6 billion euros and France's second business park.
Over half of La Part-Dieu's economic landscape is dedicated to sustainable city and smart systems, showing a 16 percent growth between 2008 and 2013 and now representing more than 30,000 jobs from 45,000 tertiary jobs from 60,000 total jobs inside the district.
- It's mostly composed of city infrastructure and urban services (18,000 jobs)
- City and building construction (Bouygues, Icade, Foncia, Lyon Metropolis, Préfecture du Rhône, Nexity)
- Energy (EDF, GRDF, SPIE, Energy Pool, Vinci, Dalkia)
- Transport and mobility (SNCF, Keolis, XPOLogistics, Axxès, Clasqui)
- Other public services (INSEE, La Poste, Police Headquarters)
- And engineering and digital systems (11,500 jobs)
- Information and digital technology (DCS Easywear, Intitek, Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Euriware, RFI)
- Tertiary functions of the industrial sector (Areva, Elkem Silicones, Solvay)
- Engineering service provider (Egis, Setec, Tractebel, engineering GDF Suez, Artelia, Davidson, Burgeap)
- The rest is composed of traditional business and support services (11,500 jobs)
- Financial activities (Caisse d'Épargne, BNP Paribas, Agence France Locale, Caisse des impôts, Société générale, Natixis, BPI France, Banque Populaire)
- Audit, consulting, juridicial advisory and high value added services (Ernst& Young, Adamas, ManPower, Randstad, Amaris)
- Life and non-life insurance (AXA, Klesia, MAAF, April, MMA, Swiss Life)
La Part-Dieu hosts national and regional headquarters of banks (Caisse d’Épargne, Banque Populaire, Banque Rhône Alpes, Société Générale, etc.), national and regional headquarters of leading consultancy firms (EY, Mc Kinsey, Adamas, and Manpower) and global headquarters of international groups (April Group and Elkem Silicones).
- 1 150 000 m2 of office space
- a flexible offer of 50 to 50,000 m2
- rents from €120 to €320 per m2
- 97% occupancy rate
- 2500 companies
- 2000 hotel rooms and residences from one to four stars
- 20 places for seminars and reunions
- 8 business centres
- available fibre optic network
Sole skyscraper and high-rises
The skyline is being shaped according to the Alps mountain range.
|1||Tour Incity||202 m (663 ft)||39||2015||Built||Office||Albert Constantin|
|2||Tour To-Lyon||170 m (558 ft)||43||2022||Under preparation||Office||Dominique Perrault Architecture|
|3||Tour Part-Dieu||165 m (541 ft)||42||1977||Built||Office||Cossutta & Associates|
|4||Tour Silex 2||129 m (423 ft)||23||2021||Under construction||Office||Má Architectes|
|5||Tour Oxygène||115 m (377 ft)||28||2010||Built||Office||Arte Charpentier Architectes|
|6||Tour Swiss Life||82 m (269 ft)||21||1989||Built||Office||Christian Batton
|7||Tour Caisse d'Epargne||63 m (207 ft)||14||1976||Built||Closed||René Bellemain
|8||Tour M+M||60 m (197 ft)||13||1972||Office||Residential||Pierre Dufau|
|9||Émergence Lafayette||57 m (187 ft)||17||2020||Under preparation||Residential||Itar Architectes
Sud Architectes Wilmotte & Associés
|10||Sky56||54 m (177 ft)||13||2018||Built||Residential||AFAA
Chaix & Morel
|11||Sky Avenue||50 m (164 ft)||15||2018||Built||Residential||51N4E
Tour Incity, Lyon's tallest structure, was designed by Valode & Pistre and AIA architects. The spire reaches 202 meters and was installed by helicopter. Around 2,700 employees work on 32 floors and share the same corporate restaurant. On the top of that, Tour Incity was the first tower in Lyon to obtain the low energy-consumption label, along with HQE and BREEAM Excellent labels. It was completed in 2016 and currently hosts regional Caisse d'Épargne bank headquarters and several SNCF branches.
Completed in 1977, this 164 meters tall building was designed by US-based architecture firm Cossutta & Associates for the main structure and by Stéphane du Château for its pyramid crown. Mainly occupied by office space, it also hosts a four-star Radisson Blu Hotel at the top. Originally named Crédit Lyonnais, it is now called Tour Part-Dieu, but is best known by its nickname, le Crayon or the Pencil. Its postmodern style is showing through the terracotta cladding made up of pozzolanic sands, imitating the reddish Lyon tiles, and also through the main volume echoing with the Rose Tower traboule in the Vieux Lyon quarter from French Renaissance.
Tour Oxygène is a 117 meter tall high-rise crowned by a leaf resonating with the district's tradition of crowning high-rises, such as Tour Part-Dieu. Its base serves as an extension and as a direct link to the Part-Dieu Mall, along with an underground parking lot. Designed by Arte Charpentier Architects and constructed in 2010, Tour Oxygène reflects the dynamism that Lyon has been experiencing since the early 2000s.
Tour Swiss Life
Tour Swiss Life was designed by Christian Batton and Robert Roustit and completed in 1989. It reaches 82 meters and holds many Swiss Life office spaces. The whole architecture is surrounded by moats and is covered by typical late 80s and early 90s blue cladding. The company launched a project of a 220 meter skyscraper called Swiss Life 2 (formerly Eva), on the existing parking lot.
Originally planned during the 1960s, Part-Dieu railway station only opened in 1983 as part of a high speed rail line project between Lyon and Paris. It was designed by Charles Delfante, Michel Macary, Eugène Gachon and Jean-Louis Girodet, and serves as a link between Lyon and Villeurbanne, as its design allows pedestrian traffic under concrete rail viaducts. Currently saturated, it is undergoing major renovation and construction works, since it welcomes 120 000 travellers and up to 150 high-speed "TGV" trains per day.
Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
La Part-Dieu covered food market is an international reference in terms of French and Lyon cuisine. 48 merchants ( fishmongers, cheesemakers, bakers and pastry cooks, caterers, cellarmen and restaurant owners ) work under the same roof and prepetuate local traditions of Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France. In 1859, the city inaugurated its first indoor food market with a 19th Century glass and cast-iron architecture in Cordeliers, easing the lives of merchants and consumers, and then decided to innovate the architectural design in the future La Part-Dieu district. Thus in 1971 the new covered market opened. Three decades later, the Halles were put in line with safety standards. It now bears the name of Paul Bocuse, the famed starred French chef.
Part-Dieu mall was the largest urban mall in Europe when it opened in 1975. Built on the cavalry barracks' former location, it references the past with a parking lot named Cuirassiers or "Light Cavalry". The shopping centre has 240 shops and restaurants over five levels and is frequented by 35 million visitors a year. It also has a 14 screen multiplex cinema. Mass transportation reinforced its position as a regional shopping hub. In 2010 the mall got a major extension thanks to the Oxygène Tower. This Unibail-Rodamco owned project is currently undergoing a major renovation project, totalling 300 million euros, according to a Winy Maas design. 
Auditorium Maurice Ravel
This concrete shell was named after the famed Lyon musician and was drawn by architect Henri Pottier, assistant of urbanist Charles Delfante. Even though the new auditorium offered a great Roman theatre design, it lacked a decent acoustic one. However, several renovations fixed the sound issue. It currently hosts the Orchestre National de Lyon and a substantial organ from the former Trocadéro Palace for the 1878 Exposition Universelle.
Bourse du Travail theatre
Bourse du Travail theatre was constructed between 1929 and 1936 in art deco style by Charles Meysson, chief architect of Lyon. The building facade is covered by a large mosaic from 1934, by the hand of 35 mosaists, according to a work from painter Fernand Fargeot, representing "the city embellished by labour" hence its name "Labour Exchange" or "Bourse du Travail". Interiors are covered by plaster and painted murals inspired by socialist realism.
In July 1966, Mayor Louis Pradel decided to experiment the library of the future inside the Part-Dieu project. 27,000 square meters are distributed into 3 levels, each dedicated to public reading, studies and research, while a silo contains all historical documents from the former library. The library is opened to university researchers and middle school students alike. The 1980s saw the mass informatization of data. Users had to wait until the late 2000s to get an entrance opened towards the train station plaza. The structure is currently undergoing renovation.
City and Departmental Archives
This institution was created after the French Revolution in Lyon. Documentation from the Ancien Régime period used to be stored under the Hôtel de Ville and other locations until it was all regrouped inside a 2014 site that opened in La Part-Dieu. The consultation room of this golden-clad secure building currently hosts a large collection of maps, both public administrative and private reserves, notarial archives and documents from the historical library, from the year 861 till today.
Lyon Metropolis headquarters
Lyon Metropolis headquarters were built between 1976 and 1978 by René Gimbert Jacques Vergély in a brutalist style. Four massive square-shaped pier foundations bear the whole suspended structure, doubling as elevator shafts, and four concrete boxes self intersecting on top of it form a crown. Mirror-like curtain walls reflect the surrounding urban environment.
Montluc Fort and Prison museum
Montluc Fort was erected in 1831 under Louis-Philippe's reign as part of Lyon's fortified belt, in order to protect the city from foreign invasions, especially Prussian ones. Montluc prison opened in 1926 from the existing fort. Under the Vichy Regime, it became a major Jewish deportation center and French Resistance prison. It was later converted into a civilian prison in 1947 and into a museum in 2010.
Church of Blessed "Saint" Sacrement
Inaugurated in 1905, Blessed "Saint" Sacrament Church combines Gothic and Byzantine styles. Its architecture and unfinished bell tower were drawn by Louis Sainte-Marie-Perrin, architect of Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The church was originally designed to preach christian values in an immoral working-class neighbourhood with a high poverty rate and a low number of people getting baptized. It has recently being added to a catholic school extension by AFAA architecture firm.
Garibaldi swimming pool
Garibaldi swimming pool became the first indoor and public swimming pool in Lyon when it opened in 1933. Designed by architect C.Colliard and engineer Camille Chalumeau in a typical art deco style, it was only built in a matter of months.
La Part-Dieu is the main Lyon transportation hub that includes :
- a high speed, regional, national, international and freight train station currently saturated and undergoing renovation, that offers:
- regional TER rail lines to Grenoble, Saint-Étienne, Clermont-Ferrand, Valence, Roanne, Bourg-en-Bresse, Chambéry and Annecy
- national TER and TGV lines to major French French city centres such as Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Lille and Strasbourg.
- international high speed TGV rail lines to major European city centres such as Monaco and Brussels (SNCF), London (Eurostar), Geneva (Lyria), Barcelona (Thalys), Frankfurt (ICE) and Turin and Milan (Trenitalia), between 2 and 6 hours
- Lyon-Saint-Exupéry International Airport and high speed rail station, in less than 30 minutes, thanks to a Rhônexpress tramway, with flights to more than 120 international destinations.
- line Lyon Métro of
- tramway lines (T1, T3 and T4)
- local bus lines (C1, C2, C3, C7, C 13, 25, 37, 38 and 70)
- regional bus lines to Isère (1920, 1980 and 2060) or the Rhône region (165)
- a main coach station on Francfort Plaza
- public bicycle sharing stations
- some taxi and drop-off zones
- a car rental parking lot under construction
- four large public car parks
- main Lyon arteries (Cours Lafayette, Garibaldi street, Cours Gambetta, Thiers avenue and Vivier-Merle Boulevard)
- 4 tunnels easing urban flows and undergoing renovation (Vivier-Merle, Bonnel, Brotteaux and Servient)
- major European and National highways, including A6, A7 and E15 "autoroutes" highways near Perrache and Lyon ring roads, in less than 20 minutes.
- Lyon Peninsula by public transit, car or bike, in less than 10 minutes.
La Part-Dieu 2030
Presentation of the project
Since the 2010s, La Part-Dieu has been undergoing a major transformation, totalling around 2.5 billions euros between public and private investments.
Lyon Metropolis launched an ambitious project to renew La Part-Dieu area with the collaboration of SPL La Part-Dieu organisation and the AUC architecture firm. The goal is to improve tertiary, housing and collective spaces and respecting the existing cultural heritage at the same time. It also wants to turn the business district into a place to live in rather to just work while spurring economic development.
All contemporary developments, including Tour Incity, try to take the 20th century architectural heritage into account, that is the distinct La Part-Dieu style which mostly consists of repetitive mineral and retrofuturistic patterns from the 1960s and 1970s.
Work in progress
Multimodal Transport Hub
- Doubling of the railway station's surface
- L track addition
- New access to Pompidou platforms
- New car rental parking lot
- New Béraudier front gallery with commercial space and ticketing services directly connected to To-Lyon high-rise
- Creation of a massive pedestrian plaza on the Place Béraudier surface, with underground shops, metro access and a 1,500 bicycle parking spot station. A drop-off zone and parking lot zone will be located down below, thanks to a tunnel extension.
Tour To-Lyon is an office, four-star hotel and services tower providing conference and trade shows, located beside the railway station and Béraudier Plaza, to be completed around 2022 by Dominique Perrault Architecture (170 m). It is currently under preparation, as the hotel located on site is to be demolished.
- Bouchut street beautification and extension.
- High-rise projects :
- Infrastructure projects :
- Métro E extension hypothesis
- CFAL to alievate pressure on La Part-Dieu's rail node
- Rail tunnels and railway station (Underground train station Turin)
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