Vieux Lyon: Old Town

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With the necessities of food and wine covered, we headed out to discover Lyon’s Old Town or Vieux Lyon – a ten-minute walk across the Saone River. This charming district is one of the oldest and most well preserved old towns in France. The entire neighborhood is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lyon is also known as the Religious City, with 56 churches, many monuments testifying to the Christian faith of the city, and over 200 statues of the Madonna.

dsc_0434On the outskirts of Vieux Lyon, we discovered Saint Jean Cathedral, the church of John the Baptist, built in the 12th century.

Perched atop the northern hill of the city beyond Vieux Lyon stands the Basilica Notre-Dame Fouviere. Completed in 1896, this mesmerizing modern-day acropolis is the most astonishing of the 56 churches in Lyon and, I speculate, in the top ten across all of Europe. It stands tall, overlooking all of Lyon and its gilded statue of the Virgin Mary can be seen from any vantage point.

Inside, the spectacle of Christianity is everywhere. We are Catholic and I try not to focus on faith when I describe our European adventures, but it’s impossible not to know there is a God after visiting Basilica Notre-Dame Fouviere.

All Glory Comes From Daring to Begin
Eugene F. Ware

Eat Like Locals

As we observed in Italy in 2014, lunch is the most economical time to enjoy the main meal of the day. Multi-course lunches are served in most restaurants for a set fee from 10-14€. Thus, an enjoyable lunch followed by a dinner of wine, cheese, and crackers or bread became our normal routine – oh and yes, breakfast croissants from next door.

We never selected a favorite Lyon restaurant to frequent over the month. We stopped when we were hungry – averaging 3-5 miles a day wandering and absorbing the culture – and we were never disappointed in a meal nor at a loss to find a charming place. This is because there are over 2000 restaurants in Lyon, and as reported by International Living: “Lyon has mind-blowing gastronomy, earning its reputation as France’s culinary capital”. (I bet you would have said Paris!)