Lyon is one of the biggest cities in France, often classed third after Paris and Marseille. I’d heard a lot about it from friends and family who had been there or lived in the region. As such, I had some big expectations for what it would be like. I had heard it had a few skyscrapers, a large population and a love for food. I couldn’t help but envision something Melbourne like.
What I discovered was something quite different (only about 3 skyscrapers and well spread apart from each other), but definately welcome (and the food was good). We stayed with friends of friends who were mostly away during our stay. Although it was a little awkward to be infringing on their space, they were lovely open people who were very warm and hospitible. They also had a view from the stairwell that was magnifique.
Lyon is a city of hills and stairs, as Tasha (my friend and fellow aussie traveller) and I found out, dragging our suitcases down from the metro. At least we weren’t dragging them up. Once settled in the appartment, we went out for a walk in the cool of the evening, and decided to takle the most ambitious looking landmark on the horizon: la basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière.
A long walk downhill, across the river and up the other side, we had some great view of the river and the town. We came across a wooded park and an adventure playground with high and low rope climbing courses.
Finally we arrived at la basilique. Although the church itself was closed at that time of day, we were amazed by its intruiging architecture and ornately decorated entrance.
The size of the building is quite impressive, particularly its height. The view from the towers must stretch over many many square kilometres. As it was, we spent a good twenty minutes standing leaning on the fence railing that runs around the look out area, looking out over the rooftops and admiring the layout of Lyon and its surounds.
We passed by the nearby and more recent landmark that marks this hill: Lyon’s pseudo-Eiffel Tower. Decked with satellites and not quite so intricately designed, Lyon’s version is more pragmatic, but less attractive.
We ended our day by retracing our steps back down, across, and up to the appartment. I’ve learnt that climbing hills and stairs is worth it for the view from the top looking back down on how far you’ve come.