Lyon traditionally spelt Lyons in English, is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais. The population of Lyon is 484,344 (2010). Lyon is the capital of this region, as well as the capital of the smaller Rhône departement.
Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. The local professional football team, Olympique Lyonnais, has increased Lyon's profile internationally through participation in European football championships.
Marseille is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 853,000 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km. Located on the southeast coast of France, Marseille is France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port.
Marseille has been designated as European Capital of Culture in 2013. Marseille is a city that has its own unique culture and is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with an important opera house, historical and maritime museums, five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants. The city boasts a wide variety of sports facilities and teams. The most popular team is the city's football club, Olympique de Marseille, which was the UEFA Champions League winner in 1993 and finalist of the UEFA Cup in 1999 and 2004.
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France. It lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea and 300 from the Atlantic Ocean, and 590 km (366 mi) away from Paris. With 1,202,889 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.
Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, ATR (aircraft manufacturer) and the Aerospace Valley, considered as a global cluster. The city also hosts l'Oncopole de Toulouse, the largest cancer research centre in Europe, the European headquarters of Intel and CNES's Toulouse Space Centre (CST), the largest space centre in Europe. Its world renowned university is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 119,000 students, is the third-largest university campus of France after Paris and Lyon.
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