The commemoration took the place of the Festival of Lights, normally a four-day event that draws around three million people to the eastern city, which was cancelled this year over security concerns following the November 13th attacks in the capital.
Lyon's mayor Gerard Collomb called for Tuesday's tribute instead, while city residents still placed lighted candles in their windows and in public squares as tradition dictates.
And a light installation that had been planned for the cancelled festival was retained for Tuesday's event, a creation titled "Regards" (Looks) by Daniel Knipper.
The installation featured 80 penetrating glances and gazes depicted in works of art by masters such as Matisse and Botticelli, projected against a basilica and the facades of the quayside buildings.
The names of the Paris victims - their first names, lit up in a giant hand-written scrawl - then followed as thousands looked on.