The Presqu’île is the heart of Lyon, France. Extending from the foot of the Croix Rousse hill to the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône rivers, it has a preponderance of cafés, restaurants, luxury shops, department stores, banks, government buildings, and cultural institutions. The 1st and 2nd arrondissements of the city are located here, along with the Hôtel de Ville . The spires of the church of St. Nizier, reconstructed starting in the 14th century, are at the foot of the former Saône river bridge. Though the business center is located to the east in the 3rd arrondissement, road signs pointing to the centre of the city take drivers to Place Bellecour in the 2nd.
This district was an important counterpoint to the "Vieux Lyon" in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Many picturesque streets still exist. Among these is the rue Mercière, where printers and booksellers gravitated in the 15th and 16th centuries and which still has some superb buildings. The Museum of Printing, housed in the former Hôtel de la Couronne, explains how Lyon’s first books were printed. Squares, in many cases decorated with fountains, and churches sprinkled throughout evoke the presence of numerous convents, including those of the Dominicans , the Celestines and the Conventual Franciscans , whose Saint Bonaventure church was rebuilt in the 14th century. Further south, the church of Saint-Martin d’Ainay in the Ainay area was originally the church of Ainay Abbey, a large Benedictine monastery, and is still a jewel of Romanesque art in Lyon.
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