Friday 12 August

(magnify) Notre Dame de Fourvière

We drive for about twenty minutes to the Meyzieu Zone Industriale tram stop, which is the terminus of line T3 and park on a quiet road outside the car park since we are too tall to fit under the barrier.

The tram whisks us into the centre of Lyon where we change to the metro for Place Bellecour, between the rivers Saône and Rhône, which is very close to the old part of Lyon. We cross over the bridge across the Saône and take the funicular up to the Notre Dame de Fourvière cathedral. It is literally one cathedral on top of another. The crypt is austere but upstairs is extravagant in its mosaics, paintings, and gold leaf.

Left:
(magnify) View across Lyon
Right:
(magnify) Notre Dame de Fourvière
Left:
(magnify) Notre Dame de Fourvière
Middle:
High altar Right:
(magnify) Gardens below

Sadly the tower and roof are closed for a major restoration, involving the replacement of most of the ironwork, which has become very badly corroded. But we nevertheless obtain a good panoramic view of the city from the balustrade overlooking the steep gardens down to the river. The weather isn’t as clear as yesterday, so Mt Blanc is not quite visible above the distant hazy hills.

(magnify) Astronomical clock

We descend through the gardens in zigzags towards the old town and start thinking about lunch. For once we are in the right area for food at lunch time, but we don’t really fancy a full sit-down meal. Presently we find a small place doing baguette sandwiches, and the cashier successfully upsells us to the meal deal, which includes drink and a dessert, for which I choose a delicious French apple flan. It’s all a bit much, but I manfully help R with hers too.

We look in on the Cathédrale St Jean on the way past. It is much plainer than Notre Dame on the hill, but houses an extraordinary astronomical clock that has survived almost fully intact since the fourteenth century, and which is still in full working order.

We return to the lower funicular station and this time take the other line up to its central station where we alight for the Roman amphitheatres. They are very impressive both in scale and their state of repair, although it is clear that they have to some extent been restored to make them suitable for contemporary open air performances. It is extremely hot and breathless on the hillside here and we are glad to return to the funicular.

Left:
(magnify) Roman amphitheatres
Right:
(magnify) Yours truly

Our final visit of the day is the Lumière Museum, which we reach by metro. We decide to pay the extra €3 for the audio guide, without which the museum would have meant very little to us. They are clearly very proud of their contribution to cinematographic history, and seem to regard it as a high form of art. Though I couldn’t quite see the point of a looping film of a tree set alone on a plain moving slightly in the wind. They also have some beautiful photographs from around the world, including some very early colour ones.

We are back at the campsite by half past five and R prepares her famous chicken fajitas. We discover that we were undercharged by €3 last night. The correct price is €14.60, which is still good value, and we insist on making up the difference.