As with Bern, we arrived in Lyon late in the afternoon after many rest stops for coffee and chocolates along the way. The caffeine was for Matthew and the chocolates were also mainly for Matthew. I think he used them as comfort food to cope with the world's worst passenger-seat-driver (I'm about 100 times worse than a back seat driver)...well, I'm not good with those narrow lanes they have here and also being on the wrong side of the road really (and I mean really) freaks me out. I have white knuckles the whole trip. But with the precision driving skills of hubby we made it safe and sound and after checking into our hotel on the outer edge of the city (and then wandering around in circles trying to find the right bus stop into the city, getting on the wrong bus, ending up in a very seedy side of town) we finally headed into the old town for a good look around.
With Emma's trusty notes in hand here is what we found out about Lyon. Lyon is the third largest city in France, after Paris and Marseille. It lies between two mountains and between two rivers, the turbulent Rhone and the tranquil Saone. Lyon has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1998 and has some beautiful architectural renaissance buildings, monuments and other sighs to see, so we set forth to find some of them...
First off was the awe-inspiring Basilique and can I just say the French do Churches so, so much better than the Germans! Not just because you need to take a funicular to get to it, but The Basilique, from afar, looked more like a whimsical fairytale castle rather than a cathedral. It is simply beautiful with its bejewelled mosaics, shimmering paintings and white marble and sandstone (our photos do not do it justice) and it also has a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
The view over the city from the gardens of the Basilique
So, if you take the finicular to get to the top, you then need to get back down to the city. Rather than take the railway back down (and quite frankly, that was a scary thought), we decided to dodge the raindrops and head through the lovely rose garden down to the old city.
I love this view of the roof tops in the distance peeking through the greenery of the garden.
It was a long way down!
What a great door knocker!
Sean wanted to take a photo of me but I was distracted by the street we were about to turn the corner into, it looked very interesting...or was it the cakes and pastries that distracted me...
We were absolutely loving the architecture and took so many photos. I wish I could have posted them all!
Looking back up the hill to the Basilique from the front of The Saint Jean Cathedral.
The Basilique was very impressive, however, when we looked through the Saint Jean Cathedral I was completely stunned. It was so beautifully serene. I think it was the combination of the medieval architecture (I do so love to see flying buttresses and gargoyles), marvelling at the stone craftsmanship, the ancient wooden pews and the ages old columns (12th century), the stunning rose window, plus the modern element that had been added with the soothing music (not the Gregorian Chant type of music you expect to hear in a church this age, it was much more modern and classical, just really lovely) and a beautiful collection of modern day abstract paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross. This church was something else. I felt very peaceful.
The 14th century astronomical clock in perfect working order.
In Place Bellecour you can have some fun on the Only Lyon monument. Lyon Tourism even have a site set up where you can post your favourite pics -
The Hotel de Ville, one of the largest and oldest buildings in Lyon.
Now, that's a lovely big bunch of flowers!
Contemplating making a run through the fountain and then commiserating, why do mum's alway spoil the fun?
So with our overnighter in Lyon done, the next stop is the South of France and the French Riviera for 7 days of R&R. We have so many great photos of this leg of the journey that it's going to take some time to sort through them all and choose a sample to put on the blog. It might take a few day for the next post to appear.