La Croix-Rousse is the old silk-weavers’ district and spreads up the steep slopes of the hill above the northern end of the Presqu’île. Although increasingly gentrified, it’s still predominantly a working-class area, but barely a couple of dozen people operate the modern high-speed computerized looms that are kept in business by the restoration and maintenance of France’s palaces and châteaux.
Along with Vieux Lyon, it was in this district that the traboules flourished. Officially the traboules are public thoroughfares during daylight hours, but you may find some closed for security reasons. The long climb up the part-pedestrianized Montée de la Grande Côte, however, still gives an idea of what the quartier was like in the sixteenth century, when the traboules were first built. One of the original traboules, Passage Thiaffait on rue Réné-Leynaud, has been refurbished to provide premises for young couturiers.