We spent eight unforgettable days in the French city of Lyon. Visiting the city was a great travelling experience. We, of course, made plans, what to visit, when and how, but things never turn out as planned. There were many interesting places to visit, places which were not included in our plans, because either they were overlooked in the travelling guides or they are ignored for a number of reasons.
Lyon houses about 60 modern art murals. The Canuts Wall or Le mur des Canuts is the largest one and it has got worldwide fame. The artwork Wall was created in 1987. It is dedicated to the Silk Weavers, populating this old area of the city. The Wall is known as the largest mural in Europe, with a painted surface of about 1200 square meters. The Mural tells the ordinary story of this city district, which is located next to the Croix-Rousse Hill.
Paul Bocuse Food Halls or Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, in original, is Lyon’s famous food market. It is a covered area where about 60 food producers gather to sell their traditional food. They are bakers, pastry chefs, market gardeners, butchers, fishers, caterers, wine merchants, to name just a few.
The Place des Jacobins is a beautiful square housing a stunning fountain. Beautiful buildings border the square. Here one can simply perceive a pleasant murmur made of the city sounds and of the fountain water.
We were lucky to benefit from a great sunny day while visiting one of the most famous city attraction, the Park de la Tête d’Or. Located in a privileged geographical point where the Rhône and the Saône embrace each other, Lyon surprises visitors with this beautiful large park in addition to its architectural, cultural and gastronomic treasures.
Lyon has also got a strong romantic touch with its plane trees. We heard that they are the most common trees in the region. We shortly found out that the South of France is well populated with plane trees.
Front doors, clocks, bridges & an astronomical clock
We also planned to carefully look at the front doors of the buildings as we heard that they are of a particular beauty. Made out of wood, iron or glass, they represent a specific style, which has developed over the past centuries. We were very impressed with the art of crafting these beautiful masterpieces.
One who notices the front doors cannot ignore the clocks either street-clocks or part of bell towers. Some of the restless clocks were crafted hundreds of years ago. Some of them were renovated throughout the centuries. These public clocks add a particular beauty to the buildings they decorate: churches, public buildings and railway stations.
Despite the fact that we all are equipped with modern devices on which we can read the time, the public clocks preserve the mark of an architectural style and of the time period when they were crafted.
The heart of the French city of Lyon is embraced by two rivers: the Sâone and the Rhône. The two rivers are crossed by 29 bridges (ponts) and footbridges (passerelles): 16 on the Rhône and 13 on the Saône. It is for the first time when I saw so many bridges and footbridges together, in such a small physical space. They have been there for centuries and they are always ready to connect people and streets to the heart of the city. We managed to see and picture nine bridges and footbridges.
We did not miss, of course, the St. John’s Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-Jean in French. It took four centuries to build this Cathedral. Today the monument is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Cathedral houses a famous astronomical clock. The clock is the oldest in France and one of the oldest in the World. The clock was designed in the 14th century and restored several times.
Stained glass windows or eternal story tellers
The major discovery of our trip to Lyon, France, was the Saint-Nizier Church and its stunning stained glass windows. This was the first time when I managed to picture a set of stained glass windows at their best. I was lucky with the day light, so that I managed to capture their breath-taking beauty.
We did not search for each scene, to see who authored it and when. We just enjoyed the beautiful moments, moving the eyes from one window to another.
We also had the chance to discover another gorgeous stained glass window collection housed by the St. Bonaventure Church. We could not trace the stained glass window authors. They employed the mosaic techniques, so small pieces of glass are like puzzle pieces making the whole visual.
Churches & cathedrals
One of Lyon’s iconic ground-breaking attraction is the Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica, which is located on the top of the Fourvière Hill. The building is visible from almost all of the city corners. If the weather allows, Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, is visible from the Fourvière Hill. I heard that, symbolically, Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica belongs to all the Lyonnais, Lyon’s inhabitants.
Before arriving to the old district of Lyon, we noticed a small Church, which is located on the left bank of the Saône River. It is St. George Church. We crossed the river on the Paul Couturier Footbridge and we spent some time to find out more about the Church.
Built over 300 years, from the 12th to 15th century, the Saint-Jean Cathedral of Lyon is the iconic symbol of the Old city’s district. The monument features a gorgeous mixture of the Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles.
Lyon’s Old town district
Lyon’s medieval district – the Old Town or the Vieux Lyon, in French – is 2000 years old. The district is situated on the west bank of the Saône River. It is the place where one can easily discover the city inner heritage.
We have never seen such a place preserving so well the wealth of the Renaissance times in the four-five store buildings with indoor courtyards and beautiful stairs. We believe that the Old Lyon contributes to making the whole city a pleasant and unique place, which equally embeds both old and modern living styles.
Lyon’s Awesome Squares
As a tourist a city square is always a place where we can stop for a while, take a break and look around. This is a good moment to check a touristic guide, read more about that place and identify the monuments and buildings described in. Lyon’s inhabitants claim that their city houses more than 200 squares, docks and passageways. We managed to see eighteen of the most or less famous squares.
We would probably need to come back to Lyon to revisit certain places and discover some others which we could not visit this year.