Lyon stands as the third-largest city in France, nestled at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, northwest of the French Alps.
As of 2023, the City of Lyon boasts a population of 522,000 within its compact municipal territory of 48 km2. However, when considering its suburbs and exurbs, the Lyon metropolitan area recorded a population of 2,293,180 in the same year, ranking as the second most populous in France. Since 2015, Lyon and 58 neighbouring municipalities have collectively formed the Metropolis of Lyon, a directly elected metropolitan authority overseeing most urban affairs. In 2020, the Metropolis had a population of 1,416,545. Lyon serves as the prefecture of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and is the seat of the Departmental Council of Rhône, though the council's jurisdiction no longer extends over the Metropolis of Lyon.
Having been the capital of the Gauls during the Roman Empire, Lyon hosts an archbishopric, and its archbishop carries the title of Primate of the Gauls. Lyon's prominence as a major economic hub dates back to the Renaissance. The city is renowned for its cuisine, gastronomy, historical sites, and architectural landmarks. Notable areas such as Old Lyon, the Fourvière Hill, the Presqu'île, and the slopes of the Croix-Rousse are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lyon has a historical connection to silk production and weaving and played a pivotal role in the history of cinema with the invention of the cinematograph by Auguste and Louis Lumière. The Fête des Lumières, a four-day light festival starting on December 8th, has earned Lyon the title of the "Capital of Lights."
Economically, Lyon serves as a major centre for banking, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city has a significant software industry, particularly focused on video games, and has seen the growth of a thriving local start-up sector in recent years. Lyon is the second-largest student city in France, home to renowned universities and higher education schools, with a university population of nearly 200,000 students within the Metropolis of Lyon. Lyon also hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Euronews.