Saint-Jean Cathedral lies in the heart of Lyon's medieval and Renaissance old town. Built over the centuries – from 1180 to 1480 - it is splendid blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. It was first listed as a historic monument in 1862.
In the Middle Ages, Saint-Jean Cathedral and its companion churches, Saint George and Saint Paul, formed the backbone of the city and its religious and political centre. The buildings which sprang up around them were tall and narrow - there was a shortage of space. They were linked by passageways - Lyon's famous traboules.
The district flourished in the Renaissance (15th/16th centuries) thanks to the King of France Charles VII who bestowed upon the city the right to hold four major trade fairs a year. Foreign bankers and merchants flocked to Lyon. The Italians built private residences - the hôtel de Gadagne, home of the Pierrevive family was a good example - and left their stamp on both architecture and lifestyle.
Saint-Jean with its impressive Renaissance architecture - among France's finest - epitomizes the city's heritage. It was listed as a Unesco world heritage site in 1998.
Source: Lyon History Museum - Musées Gadagne