Reporting from Lyon
09.07.2014 - 11.07.2014 14 °C
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "One night in Bangkok", but we had a glorious day today... albeit continuing with our not brilliant weather patterns, fortunately today was just cold and overcast, but no actual rain. Our break between camping destinations meant that we had 2 nights booked into a hotel, and a city to explore. Lyon did not disappoint.
We packed into one day a visit to Place Bellecour - apparently the largest unobstructed public square in Europe (no trees, greenery or structures in the middle), just one statue of a guy on a horse (OK it's King Louis XIV). Had a lovely wander around, and loved looking at the beautiful buildings surrounding the square. The surface is a red clay, like en tous cas on tennis courts used to be, and has little coffee stands around the edge.
From there we walked over to the Old Town (Vieux Lyon) and were heading to the Funiculaire station, where we were heading up to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere. The Old Town is gorgeously quaint with cobbled streets, and lots of little shops. We had a 'quick' look in St Jean Cathedral, which was beautiful, but under renovation, so only about half of the church was accessible, and the whole altar section was screened off.
We headed up on the funiculaire to the Basilica, and it was truly stunning. The walls are covered with mosaics, which from a distance are the most amazing pictures ever and up close you can see each individual tile in the mosaic. Interestingly the Basilica is not that old, being completed in 1884. Underneath the Basilica is the Crypt of St Joseph, and it has gracious high vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows, which when you are outside the building, can see the stained glass windows at street level. The main Basilica has gold everywhere, highlights in the mosaics, and catches the light from every angle. The stained glass windows and the floor tiles are gorgeous. It is built on a high point overlooking all of Lyon, and the views are stunning.
Afterwards, we got the funiculaire down again, and caught another one up to explore the Roman Amphitheatres. Built into the side of a hill, it provides natural elevation for the audience. I loved that it is still being used as a theatre spot, and at the moment there is a stage set up, and a festival occurring each night. The ruins are stunning, and free to enter and roam around!
Our plan had been to visit a Natural History Museum, however our guide was old, and as much as the kids wanted to see some dinosaurs, unfortunately it wasn't to be as the museum had relocated from the address provided in 2007!! Oops. We had a lovely walk back along the Rhone River, and found a playground for the kids to unleash some energy. Then we looked for an early dinner, easier said than done, as most restaurants were not even opening before 7, but quite a few were open for drinks... luckily we found one which was prepared to accept us for dinner at 6.30. Kids... humph.
Photos are in my album...
Better soak up the luxury in a real bed tonight... will be back on the air mattress tomorrow... heading down to a beach in Spain!!