|Lyon (often Lyons in English) (French pronunciation: /lj??/) is a city in east central France. Location: 45ÂÂ° 46? 1? N, 4ÂÂ° 50? 3? E.
Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the second largest metropolitan area in France after Paris, with 1,648,216 inhabitants at the 1999 census, and approximately the 20th to 25th largest metropolitan area of Western Europe.
Lyon is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes rÃ©gion, and the prÃ©fecture (capital) of the Rhône dÃ©partement.
The city gave its name to the Lyonnais province, of which it was the capital. Today the region around Lyon is still known as Lyonnais (French: le Lyonnais), or sometimes even as the Lyonnaise Region (French: RÃ©gion Lyonnaise). Lyonnaise Region is an unofficial, popular name, not to be confused with the administrative rÃ©gion of Rhône-Alpes, which is much larger than the Lyonnaise Region.
Lyon is also the international headquarters of Interpol.
Lyon was an early center for printing books, and nurtured a circle of 16th century poets. For several centuries Lyon has been known as the capital of gastronomy, fine handweaving, and the silk trade. The LumiÃ¨re brothers invented cinema in the town in 1898. December 8 each year is marked by "la FÃªte de la LumiÃ¨re" (the Festival of Lights), a celebration of thanks to the Virgin Mary, who purportedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the local population places candles in their windows and the city of Lyon organizes and projects impressive large-scale light shows onto the sides of important Lyonais monuments, such as the mediaeval CathÃ©dral St-Jean.
Two of France's best known wine-growing regions are located near Lyon: the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South.