FOUNDED BY THE ROMANS IN 43 BC, LYON IS KNOWN FOR ITS HISTORICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL LANDMARKS AND IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. LYON WAS HISTORICALLY KNOWN AS AN IMPORTANT AREA FOR THE PRODUCTION AND WEAVING OF SILK AND HAS DEVELOPED INTO THE MODERN CAPITAL OF GASTRONOMY IN FRANCE. IT HAS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA - BROTHERS AUGUSTE AND LOUIS LUMIÈRE INVENTED THE CINEMA IN 1895. THE CITY IS ALSO KNOWN FOR ITS FAMOUS LIGHT FESTIVAL 'FETE DES LUMIÈRES' WHICH OCCURS EVERY 8 DECEMBER AND LASTS FOR FOUR DAYS, THAT VALUED LYON THE TITLE OF CAPITAL OF LIGHTS (NOT TO BE MIXED UP WITH PARIS THE CITY OF LIGHTS).
France is one of the most developed countries and possesses the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh largest economy by purchasing power parity. France enjoys a high standard of living as well as a high public education level, and has also one of the world's highest life expectancies.
France has been a major power for several centuries with strong cultural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and abroad. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonised great parts of North America; during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Metropolitan France covers 547,030 square kilometres(211,209 sq mi), having the largest area among European Union members. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alpsin the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central andPyrenees in the south-west. At 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level, the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, is situated in the Alps on the border between France and Italy. Metropolitan France also has extensive river systems such as theSeine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône, which divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue, the lowest point in France (2 m/6.56 ft below sea level). Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.
LYON QUICK FACTS