At the foot of Fourvière hillside, Old Lyon (in French, "le Vieux Lyon") is appropriately named, since this district dates from the Middle Ages. It was at this time that the first traboules were built to facilitate the passage of goods from the banks of the Rhône towards houses built on pilings.
Later, during the Renaissance, and thanks to Marie de Medici, Florentines settled here and built houses whose interiors are authentic works of the Italian Quattrocento. Some still exist but are private, though you can still visit certain courtyards. It is also possible to walk through the traboules, alleyways that run between and through the houses. Are they underground? No, they are secret passages of Gothic architecture that can go from one street to another, often crossing building courtyards.
Old Lyon is completely pedestrianised, so you can stroll at leisure through the streets, which have not confined themselves completely to the past, providing multiple temptations with their bakeries, old bookstores, and lively cafés.