The second largest urban area in France and second largest contributor to the French economy, Lyon is nestled into the country’s southeast. This capital of the Rhône-Alpes region is a hard-working city, with a rich architectural heritage than spans 2,000 years. Here lies the capital of French gastronomy, with the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in France. Lyon is also a leader in the life science field, and is for this reason attracting a lot of association events recognising the city and its Metropole’s expertise.
Lyon has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, thanks to a feast of beautiful renaissance architecture. Nicknamed the ‘City of Light’ – every evening, more than 100 sites across the city light up – Lyon has a forward-thinking spirit that makes it both very French and very international.
The largest health cluster in France, Lyon and its surrounding region provide an internationally recognised scientific, technical and university environment to scientists, researchers and students alike. Lyonbiopôle, for instance, was accredited as a competitiveness cluster by the government in 2005. Its aim? To carry out research in infectious human and animal diseases on a global scale. It has, in this regard, become a world-centre of excellence in diagnostics and vaccines – one billion doses are produced there every year, making it one of the top vaccine production centres in the world.
Located at the south entrance to the city, the Lyon-Gerland Biodistrict, where Lyonbiopôle is located, is attracting an increasing number of innovative businesses, people and services. With its heart entirely dedicated to health and biotechnologies, it brings together world leaders like Sanofi and Genzyme, smaller companies like Aguettant and Fab’entech, and higher learning and research institutes such as the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). As a whole, the district provides more than 5,000 jobs and accommodates 2,750 academicians and technicians from the public and private sectors.
But if Lyon has become a can’t-miss destination, it has also a lot to do with its status as the capital of gastronomy which hosts – and rightly so – SIRHA, the world’s biggest hospitality and food service event, every year.
As France’s second city for conferences (20th in Europe), Lyon offers a unique combination of business and culinary pleasure that makes congress participants enjoy a truly French experience. The epitome of this? The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie, which will open late summer 2019 and be located in the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital part of Lyon’s architectural wealth (pictured).
Created in the wake of UNESCO’s inclusion of the ‘gastronomic meal of the French’ on the list of intangible cultural heritage, La Cité will examine how gastronomy plays an integral part in the world today and will in the future, with food and health as the guiding thread. The site will host exhibitions, cultural events, venues for discovery and demonstrations, an Intercontinental Hotel, restaurants and shops, conveying a ‘modern vision of gastronomy’… as well as a conference centre.