France is one of the countries with the most international incoming tourists and one of the strongest economic regions in Europe. Nevertheless, on my own judgment, the level of awareness is limited to Paris, the south coast and possibly the castles of the Loire. In short, Lyon is often outside the range of vision, even though this region is one of the most populated areas of France. In this paper, Lyon will be classified in the urban system of France, on the one hand on the national level, that means in comparison to the other French metropolis and on the other hand, at the regional level, in comparison to the major cities in the region Rhône-Alpes and in the surrounding area. Prototypical characteristics of Lyon are presented on the basis of a morphogenetic structure analysis of selected areas of Lyon. That means that the development of the city is analyzed on the basis of the historical context and the resulting current structures. In addition, a functional analysis of selected areas of Lyon gives an overview of the city. Alongside the general structure of the metropolis, the analysis of three socio geographically different business areas is in the focus of this paper. Finally, the current processes and structures on the basis of three regions near the city are examined. Here, the emphasis is on the development of city-near residential areas during the last decades, in reference to the revitalization of old buildings and the construction of an entire quarter.