Parks and gardens in Lyon: Tete d’Or

Sladjana Perkovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Situated on the banks of the River Rhone, the Tete d'Or (the Golden Head, in English) is the most famous park in Lyon. Inaugurated in 1857 and designed as an English garden, this green space is one of the best spots in Lyon where you can rest from the city hustle. This park has a vast lake where you can rent a boat during the hot summer days. You can also jog, cycle, or enjoy discovering a beautiful botanical garden and an impressive rosarium. Children will also be thrilled to visit this place. They can play on the most interesting playground, or even ride ponies, mini karting, and a little train. But this is not all! In the Tete d’Or, there is also a fascinating zoo with many wild animals that live in freedom.

History of the park

The authorities of Lyon decided in 1812 to create a public park. They wanted a green space to look like the Parisian Bois de Boulogne, so they bought in 1856 land from the Hospital of Lyon. The work on the construction of the park was entrusted to Eugene and Denis Buhler, two Swiss landscape architects. The Tete d’Or was finally inaugurated in 1857. In 1901, an impressive iron gate called the "Porte des Enfants du Rhône" (Gate of the Children of the Rhone, in English) was installed as the main entrance of the park.  Today, this beautiful park is mainly known as a place where you can spend a pleasant time boating on a vast lake. If you are a nature lover, then you should visit the most impressive rosarium, as well as a botanical garden, and its greenhouses. Children will be probably most dazzled with the fact that giraffes, lions, monkeys, crocodiles, and other wild animals live in this park.

© iStockphoto/lauradibiase

A zoo where animals live in freedom

The zoological garden was created in 1858 in the Tete d'Or. In the beginning, this place was used only for educational purposes. Soon, wild animals from Africa and Asia were also accommodated, and this farm was turned into a real zoo.  But, in the 2010s, this zoo has become a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Therefore this place became devoted to the conservation of animal species in danger of extinction. In October 2006, an area named "The African Plain" was opened, hosting few hundreds of different animals, which have been living here in freedom ever since.

Practical information

The Tete d’Or, one of the most beautiful and largest parks in Lyon, is accessible by seven entrances. The main and most remarkable is the "Porte des Enfants du Rhône". This park is free of charge and open all year round from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, from April to October; and from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm, from October to April.

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