Lyon Guide for Tourist

Lyon Guide for Tourist

FOURVIERE AND ROMAN LYON

From the comer of r. du Bceuf and r. de la Bombarde in Vieux Lyon, climb the stairs heading straight up to reach Fourviere Hill, the nucleus of Roman Lyon. From the top of the stairs, continue up via the rose-lined Chemin de la Rosaire, a series of switchbacks that leads through a garden to the esplanade Fourviere, where a model of the city indicates local landmarks. Most prefer to take the less strenuous funicular (known as la ficelle) to the top of the hill. It leaves from the head of av. A. Max in Vieux Lyon, off pl. St-Jean. The Tour de I’Observatoire, on the eastern edge of the hilltop basilica, offers a more acute angle on the city. On a clear day, scan for Mont Blanc, about 200km to the east. (Jardin de la Rosa ire open daily 6:30am-9:30pm. Tour de TObsenatoire open Su-M and W-Sa lOam-noon and 2-6:30pm. 2.)

BASILIQUE NOTRE-DAME DE FOURVIERE. Lyon’s archbishop vowed to build a church if the city was spared attack during the Franco-Prussian War. His bargain was met, and the bishop followed through. The basilica’s white, meringuelike exterior is imposing from a distance gorgeous or bizarre, depending on taste. The highlights of the ornate interior are the shimmering, gigantic mosaics that depict religious scenes, Joan of Arc at Orleans, and the naval battle of Lepante. The low, heavy crypt, used for mass, was conceived by the architect Pierre Bossan to contrast with the impossibly high and golden Byzantine basilica above. (Behind the esplanade at the top of the hill. Open 8am-7pm.)

MUSEE GALLO-ROMAIN. With rooms and corridors that circle deep into the historic hillside of Fourviere, this brilliant museum houses a collection of arms, pottery, statues, and jewelry. Highlights include six large, luminous mosaics, a bronze tablet inscribed with a speech by Lyon’s favorite son, Emperor Claudius, and a huge, half-cracked eggshell pot. Artifacts are labeled in English and French. (Open Mar.-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa 10am-6pm; Nov.-Feb. 10am-5pm. 3.80, students 2.30. Th free.)

PARC ARCHEOLOGIQUE. Just next to the MinimesTheatre Romain funicular stop, the Parc holds the almost too well-restored 2000-year-old Theatre Romain and the smaller Odeon, discovered when modern developers dug into the hill. Both still function as venues for shows during the Nuits de Fourviere. (Open Apr. 15-Sept. 15 9am-9pm; Sept. 16-Apr. 14 7am-7pm. Free.)

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