Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Notre Dame de Fourvière - the protector of Lyon

The Romans built their first settlements in Lyon on top of the Fourvière hill. From here they could keep an eye of what went on in the valley below. At the end of the 19th century work started on impressive churches in three French cities.

Paris built its Sacre Coeur, Marseille its Notre Dame de la Garde, and Lyon built its Notre Dame de Fourvière where the Romans once had their forum vetus. All these churches are visible far away, as they are located on hilltops overlooking the city centres below.

I have walked up to all these churches, and they have striking similarities. They are all built in a neo-byzantine style, and both Notre Dame churches in Marseille and in Lyon have a gilded sculpture of Saint Mary on the top.

The Basilica was built from 1870-1886 and is in fact inspired by Sacre Coeur. It is the main work of the architect Pierre Basson. It is a beautiful building, and it looks like a fairy tale palace when you see all its towers.

And it looks as beautiful inside, as outside. Personally I felt removed to one of the richly ornate churches found in Eastern Europe.

Outside you may enjoy a fabulous view over the city of Lyon. From the church you can walk down to the city below through a lush forest.

It is certainly a place to visit. Make it as a tour of the Fourvière hill, with its rich Roman remains.

More stories on French cathedral on Enjoy Food & Travel

- Read story on Sacre Coeur in Paris
- Marseille: Notre Dame de la Garde
- Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

More churches in Lyon on Enjoy Food & Travel

- Saint Bonaventure's Church
- St-Martin-d'Ainay
- Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon
- Church of Saint Paul
- An ancient Christian centre

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