Lyon, known as France’s second city, is located in the central-eastern part of the country, at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers. Also known as the gastronomic center of France, it has well over a dozen Michelin rated restaurants. Wandering through the tree-lined streets, visiting the stunning cathedrals, sitting in an outdoor cafe sipping a coffee or a glass of wine, or strolling through the market stalls along the river will make you feel like you are in Paris. However, I have found Lyon to be much more friendly and inviting than Paris.
The Romans settled here in 43 BC, and there are numerous ruins throughout the city. The Ancient Theater of Fourvière is an amazing site to see. theTravelsketcher and I throughly enjoyed climbing around on the ancient stone steps and were amazed by the stunning views of the city below.
More Roman ruins.
Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste, located in Vieux-Lyon, is a must see when visiting the city. We attended a service here and were blown away by the acoustics.
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere is another beautiful church to see. Construction began in 1872 with private funds and was finished in 1884. Perched high on Fourviére hill, it appears to be keeping a watchful eye on the city below.
An important historical event happened here on February 18, 1944. Bernard Guy, a sergeant with the FFI (an independent group working to free France from the Nazis during WWII) was killed at this site. The remains of the building are a tribute to his bravery.
It is a steep climb from Vieux-Lyon to the Fourviére district but there is a funicular, which is a fun and quick way to get to the top.
One can work up an appetite climbing around Roman ruins, visiting churches and the other sites in Lyon. Mais bien sur, as I mentioned earlier, Lyon is the foodie capital of France and there are many great bistros and cafes to choose from.
This is one of the best desserts I have ever had; strawberries with pistachio cream on a crispy crust, topped with sugar spirals; c’était délicieux!
Lyon has so much more to offer than the few points of interest that I have mentioned here, including museums, shops, art galleries, and food tours, but it is the warmth and friendliness of the residents that makes Lyon feel so welcoming. On our last day, as our train pulled out of Lyon Part Dieu, I promised myself that I would return one day and enjoy a longer visit.
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Stay safe and healthy,