Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Only in Lyon

Tiếng Việt

Since visiting Lyon, the phrase “Only in Lyon” has printed in my head. Lyon is indeed one of its kinds and there are several things that you can only do in this wonderful city. From strolling the Vieux Lyon, visiting the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouvière to dining at a Bouchon, each activity is an extraordinary experience.


 

Boasting a strategic location at the junction of the Rhône and Saône River, Lyon has been a major city since the Roman Age. Its 2000 years of history and culture is reflected through the Roman trace on the Fouvière Hill, the medieval and Renaissance architecture in the Vieux Lyon to the modern Confluence district. Today, it is France’s third-largest metropole and a centre for banking, chemical, pharmaceutical and software industry. 

 1. Strolling around Vieux Lyon

With its winding narrow streets and medieval buildings, Vieux Lyon or the Old Town of Lyon was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1998. The district is divided into three distinct quarters: Saint-Jean, Saint Paul and Saint Georges. While Saint-Jean was Lyon’s religious and political power during the Middle Age, Saint Paul was predominantly occupied by the wealthy bank merchants from Italy. The poor silk weavers, on the other hand, lived in Saint Georges before moving to Croix Rousse in the 19th century. It was in this quarter that the first traboules   hidden corridors that run through buildings and connect one street directly with another – were built.

Vieux Lyon and Fourvière Hill
Vieux Lyon and Fourvière Hill
Cathedral of Saint Jean
Cathedral of Saint-Jean
Saint Georges
Saint Georges

2. Visiting the majestic Fourvière

More than 2000 years ago, the Romans built the military colony of Lugdunum (Lyon) on the slopes of Fourvière on Saône’s western bank. Although the Roman city has no longer existed, its trace can still be found at the Théâtres Romains. Today, the focal point of Fourvière Hill is the spectacular Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière (in short: Fourvière) crowning at the top. Thus, it is known in Lyon as “the hill that prays”.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Constructed in the 19th century, between 1872 and 1884, Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Maria, who saved the city of Lyon on various occasions, including the Black Death that swept across Europe in 1643 and the advance of the Prussian during the Franco-Prussian war. The construction of the basilica was privately funded and its design draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. Thanks to its location, Fourvière can be seen from many places in the city centre, and thus it has become the symbol of Lyon.

Inside the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Inside the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
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3. Adore the beautiful squares at Presqu’île

The heart of Lyon is Presqu’île (Peninsula) which extends from the foot of the Croix Rousse hill to the confluence of the two rivers. Filled with picturesque streets, this district was an important counterpoint to the Vieux Lyon in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Today, Presqu’île is known for its magnificent squares, in many cases decorated with fountains, and the abundance of cáfes, restaurants, luxury shops, museums, banks and government buildings. Noteworthy attractions in the area are Place Bellecour, Place des Jacobins, Place des Terreaux with its Bartholdi fountain, Italian inspired Théâtre des Célestins, as well as the beautiful Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall).

Place des Jacobins
Place des Jacobins
Théâtre des Célestins
Théâtre des Célestins
Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville

4. Step into the future at La Confluence

At the southern end of Presqu’île, you will find yourself at the newest neighbourhood of Lyon – La Confluence. The former industrial wasteland was transformed into a modern district with cutting-edge, environmental-friendly buildings. Most noteworthy is the futuristic-looking Musée des Confluences which houses over 5000m² of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum tells the story of mankind and the history of life in a very interactive way. Visitors are even encouraged to touch some exhibited objects.

Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence

5. Dining at a Bouchon

Somewhere else in France a bouchon is understood as a “plug” or a “traffic jam”. But in Lyon, a bouchon is a sort of bistro that cooks up traditional cuisine using regional products. Bouchon’s menu is limited, its decor is very modest and you usually sit elbow-to-elbow with strangers. However, the down-to-earth food and the good ambience can warm the heart of any visitor. Unlike classical French dishes, Lyon’s signature dishes specialised in various parts of the pig, including intestine and trotter, as well as crayfish.

Typical Lyonnaise dishes are roasted pork, andouillette (sausage made from pig’s intestines), boudin blanc (veal sausage), boudin noir (blood sausage) and quenelles de brochet (pink dumplings served in creamy crayfish sauce). And of course, fromage blanc (a hybrid between cream cheese and natural yoghurt serving with sugar) for the cheese course (or dessert) shouldn’t be missed. Price at a bouchon is very reasonable (around 25€ for a 3-courses menu) and the food is served in a healthy portion. More details about bouchon can be found in this article.

Dining at bouchon
A typical dish at bouchon: Andouillette – Sausage made from pig’s intestines

Practical Information

  • Lyon has an excellent public transport system. Most places are easily accessible by metros, trams and buses, as well as the funicular. A day ticket allows you to use all of these transport vehicles.
  • Lyon’s international airport is connected to the city centre by the Rhone Express. It takes around 20-30 minutes and costs 9.90€. Please note the ticket machines only accept coins, but you can still buy the ticket on board.
  • The hidden passages are relatively difficult to be recognised. But we found one way to see them is by taking the funicular. From the funicular, you can see some passages crisscrossing between buildings.
  • Authentic bouchon can be found around Hôtel de Ville and Ampère-Victor Hugo and can be realised by the metal plate on their façade depicting traditional puppet Gnafron with his wine glass.
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Những điều chỉ có thể tìm thấy ở Lyon

Nằm ở nơi giao nhau của hai con sông Saône và Rhône, Lyon đã là một thành phố quan trọng từ thời kì La Mã. Lịch sử 2000 năm của Lyon được thể hiện rõ nét qua từng khu vực của thành phố. Từ dấu tích của người La Mã trên đồi Fourvière, khu phố cổ ở Vieux Lyon, những nhà hàng bouchon giản dị, đến kiến trúc hiện đại tại Confluence, tất cả chỉ có thể tìm thấy tại Lyon. Ngày nay, Lyon là thành phố lớn thứ 3 của Pháp và đồng thời là một trung tâm tài chính và công nghiệp quan trọng.

1. Vieux Lyon

Với những con phố nhỏ đan xen với những tòa nhà từ thế kỉ 15 và 16, khu phố cổ Vieux Lyon là một di sản văn hóa thế giới. Vieux Lyon được UNESCO công nhận vào năm 1998 và được chia làm ba khu vực: Saint Jean, Saint Paul và Saint Georges. Trong khi Saint Jean và Saint Paul là trung tâm quyền lực và tài chính của Lyon trong suốt thời kì Trung Cổ, Saint Georges là nơi sinh sống của những thợ dệt nghèo trước khi họ chuyển về Croix Rousse ở phía Bắc thành phố. Chính tại khu Saint Georges này, những traboules  đầu tiên đã được xây dựng vì lí do thiếu diện tích xây đường. Traboules là tên gọi chung cho những đường bí mật nối liền các tòa nhà và cũng là một nét đặc trưng của khu Vieux Lyon.

Vieux Lyon and Fourvière Hill
Vieux Lyon and Fourvière Hill
Cathedral of Saint Jean
Cathedral of Saint Jean
Saint Georges
Saint Georges

2. Fourvière

Nằm trên đỉnh ngọn đồi Fourvière, nhà thờ Đức Bà Fourvière (gọi tắt là Fourvière) là biểu tượng của thành phố Lyon. Bạn có thể nhìn thấy nhà thờ bằng đá trắng này gần như từ bất cứ đâu trong trung tâm thành phố Lyon. Fourvière được xây dựng vào thế kỉ 19 để tỏ lòng biết ơn của người dân Lyon đến Đức Mẹ Maria. Họ tin rằng chính Đức Mẹ đã bảo vệ thành phố khỏi trận đại dịch 1643 xóa sổ gần 1/3 dân số châu Âu, và cuộc tiến công của quân đội Phổ trong cuộc chiến Pháp-Phổ.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Inside the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Inside the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
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3. Presqu’île

Trung tâm Lyon nằm ở Presqu’île kéo dài từ chân đồi Croix Rousse đến Confluence – nơi giao nhau của hai con sông. Presqu’île được biết đến với những quảng trường rộng lớn được bao quanh bởi những quán cafe, nhà hàng và cửa hàng sang trọng, cũng như một số cơ quan hành chính. Một số công trình kiến trúc đáng chú ý trong khu vực này là: quảng trường Bellecour, quảng trường Jacobin và tòa thị chính.

Place des Jacobins
Place des Jacobins
Théâtre des Célestins
Théâtre des Célestins
Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville

4. La Confluence

Nằm ở góc phía Nam của Presqu’île là khu đô thị mới của Lyon – La Confluence. Từ một khu công nghiệp bỏ hoang, La Confluence đang dần trở thành một đô thị hiện đại với những kiến trúc độc đáo và thân thiện với môi trường. Điểm nổi bật của La Confluence (cho đến thời điểm hiện tại) là viện bảo tàng khoa học Musée des Confluences mang hình dáng một đám mây màu bạc. Với diện tích trên 5000m², viện bảo tàng trưng bày hàng chục ngàn mẫu vật về sự hình thành của sự sống trên Trái Đất và lịch sử của nhân loại.

Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence
Musée de Confluence

5. Bouchon

Ở những vùng khác của nước Pháp, bouchon có nghĩa là “nút chai” hay “tắc đường”. Nhưng ở Lyon, bouchon là các nhà hàng nhỏ chuyên bán những đặc sản của vùng. Bouchon không chú trọng về việc trang trí và thực đơn cũng chỉ hạn chế trong một vài món. Nhưng những món ăn ở bouchon thường là công thức gia truyền. Khác với những món Pháp cổ điển, món ăn ở các bouchon sử dụng gần như tất cả các bộ phận của heo từ thịt, gan đến ruột non, và các loại hải sản như tôm sông. Giá một bữa ăn ở các bouchon cũng khá là mềm so với nhiều nhà hàng Pháp. Một menu ba món có giá từ 25€.

Dining at bouchon
A typical dish at bouchon: Andouillette – Sausage made from pig’s intestines

Một số thông tin cần biết

  • Hệ thống giao thông công cộng ở Lyon rất tốt. Day-ticket cho phép bạn sử dụng tất cả các phương tiện công cộng, kể cả cáp treo để lên đồi Fourvière.
  • Từ sân bay Lyon vào thành phố có thể sử dụng Rhone Express. Giá vé 9,90€ và mất khoảng 20-30 phút. Lưu ý: máy tự động ở Lyon chỉ nhận tiền xu, nhưng bạn có thể mua vé khi đã lên tàu.
  • Những bouchon chính gốc nằm quanh khu Hôtel de Ville và Ampère-Victor Hugo. Một dấu hiệu để nhận ra là tấm bảng sắt có hình con rối Gnafron treo bên ngoài quán.
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30 Comments

    1. Len Kagami

      It’s quite enjoyable! The menus are completely in French but the waiter (but could be the owner) was nice enough to translate for you. She also taught me how to eat blanc fromage like a Lyonnaise. You sprinkle the sugar on the fromage and eat it. It’s unhealthy but it tastes really good 🙂

  1. Eleazar

    I love Lyon, Ken!!! And you captured very well its essence! Excellent job 🙂
    I hope you enjoyed it. You had beautiful weather, as I can see.
    Have a nice day!

    1. Len Kagami

      Thanks a lot, Eleazar! Lyon is indeed a wonderful city and I really enjoyed the time there despite the not-so-great weather. Actually, it was pouring rain during my stay. If you look closely at the photo of Fourvière you might notice some dark cloud. The sun only came out on the last day, so I had to run out for some shots 🙂 But I still missed some shots of the farmer markets, the food there is awesome!

    1. Len Kagami

      I admit if I could read the ingredients, I might not order the andouillette 🙂 The menu is in French so I could only understand that this dish is made of pork. And the waiter explained to me it is made of something around the belly (by using body language). So I thought she means the pork belly or something. But it is not 🙂 Fortunately, it turned out well. The dish might sound a bit unusual but it tastes not so bad.

  2. Wish

    I’ve been to Lyon many times. You’ve just reminded me what a great city it is. I’ve seen everything you mentioned except the Musée des Confluences, so that’s what I can do next time I visit my Lyonnais friends. Great blog post!

    1. Len Kagami

      Many thanks! I am glad that you like it. You should definitely visit the museum and the surrounding area by your next visit 🙂 It looks totally different than other parts of Lyon. The museum is interesting not only for kids but also for adults.

  3. Nemorino

    Just one small correction: The building you have labelled as “Opéra de Lyon” is actually not the opera house, but rather a theater (for spoken drama) called the Théâtre des Célestins. (I saw a play by Molière there once but only understood part of it.) The real opera house in Lyon looks *much* different.

    1. Len Kagami

      Thanks a lot for the information, Don! I’d been wondering what the glass-building in front of the city hall is, now I know 🙂 It looks much different to a classical opera house.

      1. Nemorino

        Originally it was a classical opera house, inaugurated in 1831. It stayed that way for over a hundred and fifty years before being radically redesigned and expanded by the French architect Jean Nouvel from 1989 to 1993. I once saw a fine performance there of Luisa Miller, the fifteenth opera by Giuseppe Verdi.

  4. travelpictorium

    Great post. You are right, Lyon seems to have a lot of unique, curious elements that make it a really well-rounded place to visit. I was there for three days only but I loved it. Small enough to get around easily but full of lots of quirky things to see and do. The bouchons are fun as long as you aren’t squeamish about eating arse etc! Vieux Lyon is gorgeous. Lovely piece.

    1. Len Kagami

      Many thanks! I agree with you that the dishes in bouchon is not for everyone, including myself 🙂 It is worth a try, however I don’t think I will eat them again. The only exceptions are the crayfish and the dessert.

  5. denisepoyner

    Your shots are very beautiful. There is such a wonderful contrast in architecture. I like the Gothic style, and found the inside chapel of the Notre Dame to be very pretty. Thanks for sharing. Kind regards, Denise.

    1. Len Kagami

      Your words made my day 🙂 Thank you, Denise! Lyon is a great city. I really like it, especially the culinary scene and the cathedral. They are truly one -of-a-kind.

    1. Len Kagami

      Thank you 🙂 From the street level, it’s quite difficult to see the traboules. I didn’t do research in advance so I could not find it. I only recognised it when sitting on the funicular.

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