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What the flock? Sheep set to walk across Lyon city centre

A flock of 24 sheep is beginning its journey across Lyon today, in a walk that will take three nights over three communes and 14 parks, as part of an urban-agricultural event

A photo of a closeup flock of sheep walking in one direction

The 24 sheep will cover 24 kilometres in Lyon as part of an urban environmental event Pic: Allexxandar / Shutterstock

A flock of sheep is set to walk across the city of Lyon over the course of three days, in a symbolic bid to reconcile the urban environment with the natural world.

The project is being organised by La Bergerie Urbaine, an urban agricultural group that combines itinerant grazing and educational activities within the Metropolis of Lyon.

The flock is made up of 24 sheep, who are walking 24 kilometres through Grand Lyon, over the course of three days and two nights from September 29 to October 1. They will travel through three communes, and 14 parks and gardens.

The journey is being dubbed a ‘transhumance urbaine’ (urban transhumance), and called ‘La Petite Transhumance’. 

The word ‘transhumance’ refers to the seasonal agricultural practice of moving livestock from one area to another, typically from highlands to lowlands in summer and winter.

Read more: Calls for French transhumance to be recognised as Unesco Heritage 

During the three-night journey, residents can enjoy environmental and cultural activities on topics such as biodiversity, food, and farming. These will be organised in partnership with a number of local associations to raise awareness of natural spaces.

There will be daytime events and evening “apero” sessions, from 16:00 to 22:30. A full list of events and details of how to sign up are online on the La Bergerie Urbaine website here.

Up to 30 people will be able to walk alongside the flock and take part in the event, helping the shepherds coordinate the flock and speaking more with them about socio-environmental issues. You can apply on the La Bergerie Urbaine website here.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1 (10:30 to 18:00): Vénissieux to Parc de Parilly
  • Day 2: (10:30 to 18:00): Parc de Parilly to Parc de Gerland
  • Day 3: (10:30 to 15:30): Parc de Parilly to Vieux Lyon - Place des Minimes

In a statement, La Bergerie Urbaine said: “Since 2019, we have carried out more than 160 itinerant grazing outings in 29 different communes, covering more than 560km in the Lyon metropolitan area. 

“In addition to these events, we manage 120,000 m² of grassland on a daily basis over six sites and five communes in the Lyon Metropolitan Area.” 

Related stories

New 3,000km hiking trail takes trekkers across ‘hidden’ France 

New hiking trail follows historic transhumance routes of Provence 

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