Lyon is the third biggest city in France, after Paris and Marseilles, according to the commentary on our bus tour of the city. The open top bus, where everyone was crammed downstairs because the weather was so bloody awful…
Thank goodness for overpacking. As I mentioned in my previous post the weather forecast for the first two days was cold and rainy, followed by warmer temperatures and sunshine for the next two. There’s always the hope that the forecasters have got it wrong, and in fact they had, it was colder than suggested!
Our first stop was the Basilica de Notre Dame, situated high on Fourviere Hill on the old town side of the River Saone. We took the (impressively clean and organised) Metro and then the funicular railway to the top of the hill. The Basilica was built between 1872 and 1884 and is one of the most breathtaking churches I’ve ever been in – from sheer scale through to attention to detail.
Inside was mind blowing.
I spent so long looking at the mosaics – each one must have been 3 metres long and was made entirely out of tiny half centimetre squares. The dedication and attention to detail is hard to comprehend.
On a good day you can see Mont Blanc from Fourviere Hill. On a cold, rainy, windy, 6 degree day, you can’t!
Vieux Lyon, old town, is a maze of cobbled streets and little squares with restaurants and traditional Lyonnais bouchons – tiny eateries serving rustic cuisine from the region. It was very pretty, but hampered by the weather even though we struggled on in the face of adversity!
You can get a perspective of how high the Basilica rises above the city from this picture.
Parc de la Tête d’Or covers 290 acres. It’s huge! I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a multi faceted park in my life, and we spent 2 hours just wandering around.
It has a lake where people can boat in summertime, a beautiful fountain surrounded by flowers, and there’s a big velodrome in the grounds too!
There’s a small deer park, which randomly also has some ostriches?!
A zoo with flamingos, a giraffe (who we didn’t see, unfortunately), lions (who wouldn’t stand up for a photo!), a variety of monkies who I couldn’t photograph through glass, buffalo, toucans and tortoises! An eclectic mix!
The park is famous for it’s rose gardens, although we were slightly too early as they weren’t fully in flower. I can only imagine what a riot of colour there is in high season.
And the Botanical Gardens which, although not my thing (too claustrophobic) were very impressive.
There you have it, an overview of our time in Lyon! We didn’t mange to see everything we’d have liked because of the weather, the fact that 1st May is Labour Day and there is no public transport running (WHAT???!!! I didn’t know that when I booked!) and also my Mother-in-Law, who was our travelling companion, isn’t at 100% health right now so we were tourist dawdlers rather than striding out all over the place and walking miles like we usually do.
Special mention, before I finish, to my first time of eating snails! Which I enjoyed so much I had them a second time too! They’re fiddly to get out of the shells and not very filling, but they were so tasty and enjoyable. A similar texture to mussels, they were cooked in garlic butter and I loved them.
Tomorrow I’ll share some pictures from our daytrip to Annecy, in the Alps.
Thanks, as always, for reading!