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Villeurbanne, life in the Gratte-Ciel district

Guided tours
Villeurbanne,  life in the Gratte-Ciel district

Exceptional architecture

Listed as ‘Patrimoine du 20ème siècle’ (20th century heritage) by the French Ministry of Culture, the Gratte-Ciel district has resisted the passing decades to remain a lively part of Villeurbanne. It is one of the ‘Utopies Réalisées’ (achieved utopias), major achievements of twentieth-century architecture, designed to create an architectural and social utopia.
During this guided tour, you will learn about the history of this district and its special architecture

Built between 1924 and 1934, the Gratte-Ciel district was born of the political will of the mayor, Lazare Goujon, which was fed by modernist utopianism and the American dream of the architect Môrice Leroux.

The Gratte-Ciel district is centred around social housing and includes residential areas, public facilities (including the City Hall), the current Théâtre National Populaire (formerly a venue for operettas), shops and services.
Symbolically, this project was born in the heart of Villeurbanne, during the interwar period, a time when large housing schemes remained rare in France.

During the tour, your tour guide will take you into a reconstructed show apartment, in the heart of the Gratte-Ciel, which will transport you back to the 1930s.

Worth knowing

  • This visit is not accessible to PMR.
  • Photos are subject to specific authorization.
  • Acces subjet to authorisation.

The advantages of this visit

You will be able to discover during this guided tour

  • An exceptional architecture
  • A reconstructed show apartment
  • An amazing district centred around social housing

The guides

Anneliese Anneliese

Lyon has been my city of adoption for several decades now, so as a polyglot with a lovely Austrian accent to boot and a passion for Lyon, I'm here to take you on a discovery tour of the city and its surrounding areas.

I'll be delighted to guide you through this great city, from Roman times to the 21st century!

Charlotte Charlotte

Originally from the countryside surrounding Lyon, I went travelling around the world before returning to Lyon, which many French people rate as the most beautiful city in France, except for their home town of course!

As a child, I always associated Lyon with the zoo in Tête d’Or Park, with its bear, elephants, lions and other animals. Later on, as an apprentice archaeologist in Fourvière, I discovered the city’s history and heritage.

I hope to share my passion for art and history with you during your stay and take you back through time as you discover the birth of this great city in the traboules (hidden passageways) of Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon), imagine the sounds of the silk looms on the slopes of Croix-Rousse hill (where the silk industry once thrived), and learn about Lyon through its painted walls in the city centre. In short, I want to share my love for the city!

From Fourvière Basilica to the museums in the Presqu’île district, I know how to get children interested in history and heritage, without forgetting the parents of course! My tours are lively and dynamic, so you can feel the heartbeat of my city and feel at home.

Far away from Lyon, my specialism at university was Egyptology, and my second passion is Japan: once you get me started on these subjects it’s difficult to stop me!

timer 2h00
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As low as

15 people

maximum per group

& practical information



2h visit



Walking guided tour


Meeting place

Place Lazare Goujon, (in front of the TNP) - 69100 Villeurbanne



Metro A > Gratte-Ciel

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