Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 16: A rainy day in Lyon

It started off as a rainy day, so after breakfast we decided to chill for a while and I went back to sleep. In Lyons we stayed at the Campanile Lyon Centre - Gare Part Dieu Hotel. Decent and cozy it provided the perfect room for a short stay. By mid morning we made our way to the Fouviere. By now we figured out how to use the Metro in France. The ride up to the Fouviere included a ride on the verticals. The reason they are called so is because the cables run vertically up the hill and at a crazy angle.

At the top of the hill sits the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have saved the city of Lyon from the plague in 1643. Enter into the basilica and you will be amazed with the Byzantine influence in architecture. It also draws influences from Romanesque architecture. However the exteriors are more gothic in nature. In whole the glass painted windows, mosaics, the crypt of St. Joseph and candles offered, all add to a very serene atmosphere.

Stepping out we took in the view of the city. Beautiful! After spending a good hour here on a rainy day, we made our way to Bellacour and off we went for a river cruise on the Saône River. The cruise included a trip to the Ile Barbe island. This island, a quaint little thing is the only inhabited island in Lyon. In the 5th century, one of the first monasteries in Gaul was founded there. It later became a powerful Benedictine abbey. Today however only the Romanesque Notre-Dame remains with a few old buildings.

Back on solid ground, we then lazed around Place Bellacour taking in the musical activities, food stalls and people just generally having a good time. Bliss! We indulge in the local sandwiches before we hop aboard the bus to take us back to the hotel.

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