At the heart of Lyon is Place Bellecour, an enormous, unbroken brick expanse (the third largest square in France) sprawled between the Saône and the Rhône Rivers. These are echoed by two sculptures, named for the waterways, that flank a famed statue of Louis the X1V, on horseback.
The Sun King, in 1708, took this former vineyard, army barracks, and private gardens, and developed it into a public square. His architects framed the space with elegant facades, and it has since hosted public events and, more recently, an iconic Ferris wheel.
The shadeless plaza is surrounded by excellent eateries and cool cafés - Lyon is, after all, the Gastronomic Capital of France - w here you'll find respite on steamy summer afternoons.
Place Bellecour is the "Beautiful Heart" of Lyon, and marks kilometer 0, from which all distances are measured. It is served by Metro Lines A and D, which cross at the Bellecour stop.