All around Lyon lurk traboules, alleyways and tunnelled passages originally built to provide shelter from the weather for the silk-weavers as they moved their delicate pieces of work from one part of the manufacturing process to another. The streets running down from boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, as well as many in Vieux Lyon, are intersected by these traboules. Usually hidden by plain doors, they are impossible to distinguish from normal entryways, proving an indispensable escape network for prewar gangsters and wartime Resistance fighters. Keep a look out for subtle signs on the walls indicating the presence of a traboule.
In Vieux Lyon there's the aptly named longue traboule, a dark winding passage connecting 27 rue de Boeuf with 54 rue St-Jean. Also in Vieux Lyon, a traboule lies behind the door of 28 rue St-Jean, leading to the serene courtyard of a fifteenth-century palace. In La Croix-Rousse, go up rue Réné-Leynaud, passing St-Polycarpe on your right, then take rue Pouteau via a passage. Turn right into rue des Tables Claudiennes, and enter no. 55 emerging opposite 29 rue Imbert-Colomes. Climb the stairs into 14bis, cross three courtyards and climb the steps, where you finally arrive at place Colbert.