Rue Mercière

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Rue Mercière
Rue Mercière, partie sud.JPG
Southern part of the street
Former name(s) Rue Marchire
Type Street
Location 2nd arrondissement of Lyon, Lyon, France
Postal code 69002
Construction start 13th century

Rue Mercière is a street of Les Cordeliers quarter in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon.[1] From north to south, it connects the Place des Jacobins to the Place d'Albon. This street is served by metro stations Bellecour and Cordeliers of the line  A  and by the bus station Jacobins of the lines 91 and 99. It belongs to the zone classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


Late antiquity - 17th century[edit]

Etymologically, the French word "Mercière" refers to "merchant", which is the main activity of the street. Previously, the small rue Mercière was distinguished from the rue Dubois in the south and the large rue Mercière at the north. This is one of the oldest streets of Lyon and was probably created during the late antiquity. From the 13th to the 18th century, it was the main street of Lyon on the left river of the Saône.[2] In the 16th century, it was the street of printers and notably housed Sébastien Gryphe's workshop, at the corner of rue Thomassin. At No. 64, the ruins of the Church of Anthonians can be seen. The Hôtel de la Rose, directed by Jacques Cœur, was occupied by the Consulate from 1459 for three years. The No. 64, called the "Cave of Ainay", was owned by the Ainay abbey until 1542.[3]

The composer Louis Marchand was born at number 2 in 1669. The almanac of Lyon was printed in this street from 1740 to 1836.[4] Among the famous residents of the street are Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1509) who held the secret society named l'Agla, Langlai brothers who printed Simon Maupin's Lyon map, and writer André Steyert who was born in this street in 1830.[5]

18th and 20th centuries[edit]

As for other streets of the close quarter, the Gas Company of Perrache made its first test of gas lighting in the street in 1835.[3]

Fallen into an unhealthiness state in the 19th and 20th century, the street was the subject of several re-developments, including the project Moncorgé named Transformation et embellissement de Lyon in 1909.[6] In 1925, the SEL contest already aimed to transform the neighborhood. By the mid 19th century, the street was covered with asphalt and all buildings in the eastern part were deleted when the rue Centrale was created.[5] The project of F. Chollat, with his 5th prize, wanted to build in the street Mercière a modern quarter and a fifty-stage skyscraper.[7] A radical project of destruction was halted at the last minute in 1956 by André Malraux.[8] In 1958, the city council took the decision to renovate the quarter Mercière-Saint-Antoine. The northern part of the street was demolished between the street and the dock to create a major building project : Mr. Marot, chief architect of the Bâtiments Civils et Palais Nationaux, elaborated a project modified eighteen times to "protect the variety of appearance and fancy which were the charm of the old neighborhood".

The southern part of the street was particularly known for its prostitutes until the 1970s[9] and was also the subject of a development plan near the Place des Jacobins.

Big changes were made in the 1980s. The embellishment was then spectacular and the street became pedestrian. In the south, it currently houses a large number of restaurants, including many bouchons of Lyon and bars, making the street a popular quarter for the tourists. It has a major architectural heritage by the presence of a row of buildings created during the Renaissance.


On the west side, the street starts with a seven-floor building of the 1970s. On the east side, there is a row of stone buildings of the 19th century, with five storeys. Between the rue Grenette and the luxurious hotel Horace Cardon, the street is narrower, with on the west, a row of Renaissance-styled houses with mullioned windows. The street ends with a modern home and a garden.[5]

A plaque shows the location of Étienne Dolet's print shop (16th century), another one from the Hospices Civils de Lyon is attached to the printer and alderman Guillaume de Rouville's house, and another one is on the Hôtel Horace Cardon mentioning 18th-century printer Fleury Mesplet.[5]

The opened traboule at No. 45 crosses two buildings and is composed of a 17th-century building and a courtyard with a spiral staircase. The closed traboule at No. 49 is straight starts with a high-storey building.[10]



  1. ^ Vanario, Maurice (2002). Rues de Lyon à travers les siècles (in French). Lyon: ELAH. p. 192. ISBN 2-84147-126-8. 
  2. ^ Louis Maynard, Rues de Lyon, avec l'indication de ce qu'on peut y remarquer en les parcourant, Traboules editions
  3. ^ a b Meynard, Louis (1932). Dictionnaire des lyonnaiseries — Les hommes. Le sol. Les rues. Histoires et légendes (in French). 3 (1982 ed.). Lyon: Jean Honoré. pp. 130–37. 
  4. ^ Brun De La Valette, Robert (1969). Lyon et ses rues (in French). Paris: Le Fleuve. pp. 171–72. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Rue Mercière" (in French). Rues de Lyon. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Charles Delfante and Agnès Dally-Martin, 100 ans d'urbanisme à Lyon, LUGD editions, 1994, p. 128
  7. ^ Charles Delfante and Agnès Dally-Martin, 100 ans d'urbanisme à Lyon, LUGD editions, 1994, p. 138
  8. ^ Pelletier, Jean (1986). Lyon pas à pas — son histoire à travers ses rues — Presqu'île, rive gauche du Rhône, quais et ponts du Rhône (in French). Roanne / Le Coteau: Horvath. p. 52. ISBN 2-7171-0453-4. 
  9. ^ "La prostitution à Lyon et ses faubourgs dans la 1e moitié du XIXème siècle" (PDF). Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  10. ^ Dejean, René (1988). Traboules de Lyon — Histoire secrète d'une ville (in French). Le Progrès. p. 120. ISBN 2-904899-01-4. 

Coordinates: 45°45′45″N 4°49′58″E / 45.76250°N 4.83278°E / 45.76250; 4.83278