Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lyon - City of History and Culture

I have not been feeling fantastic for the last 2 days and have developed a case of Bali belly or something similar ;). Decided to take some of the antibiotics and hopes this settles it down quickly!

So we thought we might have a bit of a quieter day today. In fact, I had thought I might go to bed once we had checked in to our next hotel. We booked the Hotel Hotelo online through the Lyon Tourism and Convention Bureau - very user friendly.

Before we check in, we decide to go back up to the Fourviere area on the hill overlooking the City of Lyon and have a look at the Notre Dame Basilica by day, and to have a quick (yeah, right) look at the Roman amphitheatre ruins.

We arrive at the Basilica and find a parking spot in the small carpark adjacent. For anyone who has ever been to any large French city, you will know that this is akin to finding that elusive gold paved street! Anyway, lady luck was on our side today.

Atop the Fourvière hill, this edifice dominates the skyline of the City of Lyon, where it can be seen from many vantage points. The church is very ornate, while the crypt below is a much simpler design. Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have saved the city of Lyon from the plague in 1643.

The church is so ornate as to be quite ordinary. I know that sounds contradictory, but there is so much overdone that no one element stands out as special. The entire church is made of stone with the exception of the pews and confessionals in timber. There is so much marble, such rich mosaics set out on the wall as though they are tapestries (including some gilded parts), such ornate plaster and paintwork that you almost cringe. Very impressive for all the work put in to it, but not to our tastes. I just pity the stoneworkers who had to lay all that mosaic - I'll bet there were more than one of them with nightly headaches!

At the roman amphitheatre ruins on the hill of Fourviere above the City just down from the Basilica Michael nearly wets his pants and even I must admit that it is really impressive. These ruins date from 50 BC - yes 50 BC! That makes them 2059 years old. AND they have been contiuously used. AND they still use them today (in the summer months)!

But I won't spoil Michael's fun. He is going to dedicate a special blog today to the ruins!
So much for the quieter day - once we had finished with the ruins, had a quick look at the museum and then found our hotel close to the river, it was nearly 5:30 pm. But I have promised myself an early night! R E A L L Y
So, a plus tard (see you later - sorry, can't so the arettes and accentes in this text!!)

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