Word of the Day – Thursday, May 30th



Word of the Day


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LYON (lee-OHN)

A city in east central France
Common clues: Rhone's capital; French silk center; City NW of Grenoble;
City on the Rhone; City south of Macon
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Frequency in English language: 17605 / 86800
Light Festival of Lyon, France

Lyon, also known as Lyons (former names include Lugdunum), is a city in east central France. It is the third largest French city, the first being Paris and the second Marseilles. It is a major centre of business, situated between Paris and Marseilles, and has a reputation as the French capital of gastronomy and a significant role in the history of cinema.

Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the second largest metropolitan area in France after Paris, with 1,783,400 inhabitants at the 2007 estimate, and approximately the 20th to 25th largest metropolitan area of Western Europe.

The "Fête des Lumières" expresses gratitude to Mary

Lyon was founded as a Roman colony in 43 BCE by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon—from the Celtic sun god Lugus ('Light', cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish Lú) and dúnon (hill-fort). Lyon was first named Lughunum meaning the "hill of lights" or "the hill of crows". Lug was equated by the Romans to Mercury. Lug's 'totem' was a cockerel (rooster), hence the Modern French association with 'le coq'.

As early as the 13th century, the Arpitans, residents of the region spoke a dialect of the Arpitan (often called the Franco-Provençal language too). This Lyonnais dialect was partly replaced by the French language as the importance of the city grew. Lyon was an early centre for printing books, and nurtured a circle of 16th century poets. For several centuries Lyon and its bouchons have been known as the capital of gastronomy, fine handweaving, and the silk trade. The Lumière brothers invented cinema in the town in 1895. December 8 each year is marked by "la Fête des lumières" (the Festival of Lights), a celebration of thanks to the Virgin Mary, who purportedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the local population places candles in their windows and the city of Lyos organizes and projects impressive large-scale light shows onto the sides of important Lyonnais monuments, such as the mediaeval Cathédral St-Jean. The church of Saint Francis of Sales is famous for its large and unaltered Cavaillé-Coll pipe organ, attracting audiences from around the world. Lyon also features a renowned opera house.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lyon"