Evening on Place des Terreaux, a popular square next to Hôtel de Ville. This square hosts different city events like the Festival of Lights in the winter.
Before the square, the city featured towers and walls for protection from sieges and ditches that could be filled with water. In the 16th century after a siege, the walls crumbled, the ditches were filled, and now atop stand buildings like the opera house and city hall around the square. After a fire and many post-siege beheadings, the square became Place des Terreaux, accessible to the city with new streets around.
This “place” features Fontaine Bartholdi, a fountain of horses sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. In the US, Bartholdi is not famously known for the Statue of Liberty. First placed in Bordeaux, then moved to Lyon in front of Hôtel de Ville (west side of the square), the fountain resides permanently on the north side of Terreaux facing south (though just moved out and placed back in last year for renovations) .
Today, it is an easy meeting place, center of the city between two rivers and right by a metro stop. Locals gather for drinks and snacks at the cafes as workers walk or commute home. After a flight from LA with a layover in Zurich and train+metro from Lyon airport, I’m ready to meet Pauline right where we first met three years ago: at the steps of Hôtel de Ville in Place des Terreaux.