Lyon is in the south-east of France, a 2-hour train ride from Paris. We had a great Airbnb that was centrally located and worked well for our visit. Recently remodeled, our apartment was on the 3rd floor of what once was a single-family home built in 1850. The entry was very ornate, and the parquet floors were original!
First settled by the Romans in 43 BC and called Lugdunum, Lyon is strategically located where two rivers come together, the Rhone and the Saone. The city is split into 3 sections. Our apartment was between the two rivers, in the Presqu’ile district. The medieval city, Vieux Lyon, was just down the street and across the river from our apartment.
On our first morning we took a small group walking tour that met at the Bartholdi Fountain in the Place des Terreaux, a few blocks from our apartment.
The Hotel de Ville (City Hall) was built in 1655. The fountain was sculpted in the 1800s by Frederic-August Bartholdi who also designed the Statue of Liberty. It’s made of 21 tons of lead.
Our guide led us through “our” neighborhood and then over the Saone River to the historic area of Lyon.
There are lots of secret passages, called traboules, that run between streets, through buildings and interior courtyards (miraboules). 315 passages link 230 streets, some from Roman times. Most were constructed by silk weavers (canuts) in the 19th C to move silk through the city in bad weather. The entrances to these passages are just regular looking doors. These passages were extensively used by resistance fighters during World War II to escape German pursuers.
We took a funicular up the hill above the antique area to see the 19th century Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere with its magnificent mosaics.
Also on this hill is a Roman Theatre, built around 15 BCE, that could seat 10,000 people!
Great views looking over the city from the church’s terrace
They’ve nicknamed their skyscrapers The pencil and the eraser. They’ll need another name for the new one under construction.
The large open square is Place Bellecour, one of Europe’s largest public squares.
We walked down the hill back into the old town. It was a Sunday so there were lots of people out for lunch. Our tour wrapped up around 1:30 and restaurants were very busy. We were lucky to find an Indian restaurant with space for us. It was really good.
I promise, eventually we did eat French food.
Overlooking the Saone River.
Wow gorgeous accommodations
Thanks, Diane. It was a cool apartment!
What a beautiful apartment! Your pictures are stunning as always!
Nice tour through the lens of your camera Gracia. Your pictures give a real idea and ‘flavor’ of the city. I was quite amused by the murals. Thank you Gracia.