According to the sign posted on the wall by it, this little alley way used to be an open sewer. It actually has a name (La ruelle Punaise) and it leads to Montée Saint-Bartélémy, toward Fourvière.
I love its "Les Misérables" look and was seriously tempted to walk up through it, but alas, felt clumsy in my thick winter coat, carrying my purse as well as the camera bag.
I want to come back when it's a bit warmer and walk all the way up to the Basilica from here. The funiculaire is not running until May, so why not?