As building mayor, Gérard Collomb has completely revamped the Confluence district. - C. Girardon / 20 Minutes

  • Gérard Collomb, elected in 2001, is about to complete his third and last mandate in the city of Lyon.
  • For 19 years, man has profoundly transformed the capital of Gaul, formerly perceived as a bourgeois and sleepy city.
  • Back on his greatest successes that have shaped the image of the city.

In three weeks, Gérard Collomb will leave the keys to the town hall of Lyon. If the identity of his successor will not be revealed until June 28, the man is about to put an end to a story started with the city, more than 40 years ago. "It took me 20 years to conquer it and 20 years to transform it," he likes to call.

There have been resounding failures such as the cutting sale of the Grôlée district or the abandonment of a swimming pool plan worthy of the third city in France. Critics also rose from the second term to denounce a very lonely exercise of power. But undeniably, the elected official knew how to deeply transform the capital of Gaul, now far from the cliché of bourgeois and cold city that it has long conveyed. In 19 years, Lyon has become an attractive city where real estate prices have continued to rise and are now burning. Sometimes it was enough: a pedal stroke for example.


If today, Gérard Collomb fears that "we put bikes everywhere" in the event of a victory for environmentalists, he was nevertheless one of the first mayors of France to have believed in modes of soft travel. In 2005, Lyon innovated. For the first time, it offers a self-service bicycle service, provided by the company JCDecaux in exchange for advertising space on the public highway. The Lyonnais then discovered Vélo'V, a system that would be emulated everywhere in France, especially in Paris a few years later.

The banks of the Rhône

Another notable project which ensured the re-election of Gérard Collomb in 2008: the metamorphosis of the banks of the Rhône. Probably one of his greatest successes. The low ports, which were until then huge car parks, radically change their face. Exit parking spaces. The quays are transformed by backhoes. The lawns are coming out of the cobblestones, the playgrounds are sprouting up like mushrooms and the cycle paths now link the Tête-d'Or park to that of Gerland, along the river that the Lyonnais are beginning to rediscover.

The rebirth of the Confluence

As building mayor, Gérard Collomb will also work to revamp the Confluence district, that of the old docks. The place was only worth a detour at the time to wiggle on the Bodéga slopes (a period that those under 30 did not know). The elected official calls on renowned architects. The first buildings, which come out of the ground, are surprising, but they shape the brand of this new district, symbol of modernity.

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The district of #Confluence bathed in the rays of the end of the day #Lyon #deconfinement #spring #collinedefourviere #igerslyon #igerslyonnais #onlylyon #ilovelyon #monlyon #pictoftheday

A post shared by 20minutesLyon (@ 20minuteslyon) on May 24, 2020 at 11:26 am PDT

The shopping center and the nautical dock, then the dwellings will complete the picture to make it one of the essential places for summer evenings, prized for its calm and freshness.

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#lyon Quietness of a sunny day #ilovelyon #monlyon #onlylyon #jaimelyon #spring #sunnyday #flowerpower #confluence

A post shared by 20minutesLyon (@ 20minuteslyon) on May 22, 2019 at 6:06 am PDT

The luxurious Grand-Hôtel-Dieu

Another strong symbol of the Collomb reign: the creation of the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, a luxury setting on the banks of the Rhône quays. The project's success was not without pain. The hospital there (the first built in Lyon) was asked to cease operations. Services have been transferred to other establishments at the Hospices Civils de Lyon. From 2010 to 2015, the building will remain unused before the titanic construction site can start. Today, the site, partially converted into a 5-star hotel, also hosts shops, the city of gastronomy and offices. The notable innovation: the interior courtyards are open to the public. If the whole may seem to lack vegetation, it must be recognized that the completely renovated building imposes damn. And that it is today one of the pride of the inhabitants.

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The #grandhoteldieu in #lyon where the luxurious #intercontinental hotel will open on June 4. The old hospital is transformed into a new tourist and gastronomic place ... #tourism #lyonnaise #instagood # onlylyon

A post shared by 20minutesLyon (@ 20minuteslyon) on May 30, 2019 at 3:18 am PDT

The Sound Nights

The moulting of Lyon is also closely associated with the dazzling success of Nuits Sonores. The electronic music festival, which now attracts the greatest DJs in the world, is not the work of Gérard Collomb, let's face it. But in 2002, the town hall worked to allow the association Arty Farty to carry out the project. In particular, she opened the doors of heritage places to him or gave the keys to disused factories and never lost interest in the event.

On the other hand, the Lumière festival was born from the imagination of municipal teams who wanted to promote the invention of cinema in Lyon. Gérard Collomb asked Thierry Frémaux to imagine an event that could celebrate heritage films and attract the biggest stars. Mission accomplished. Since 2009, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Francis Coppola and even Pedro Almodóvar have come between Rhône and Saône to receive the prize which has been awarded to them.


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  • Lyon
  • Town planning
  • Municipal
  • Gérard Collomb