Researching the public transport in Lyon, we had discovered that for 5.50 Euro ($8.15 AUD) each we could pretty much take any tram, train, bus and the funicular all day. To get our money’s worth, we tried to do as many of those as possible!
The Tram. We made our way to the tram stop Maryse Bastie not far from where we were staying and found a patisserie¹ where we bought some pastries for breakfast. Being excited to serve a couple of Aussies, the staff gave us extra stuff for free!
We took the pastries with us and walked the remaining two minutes to the tram stop. All the public transport stops appeared to have a ticket machine, it was easy to use and we had no problem obtaining the all day pass we were looking for. We were taking the tram to meet up with the correct train line.
The Train. The Metro line then took us only a couple of stops to Place Bellacour which is a massive square in the middle of Lyon. Within the square is a huge fountain with a statue on top called Statue d’Antione de Sain-Exupery which is very white and easily seen.
We then walked along the River Saone enjoying the street markets.
On our way to the Church of Saint-Nizie, we decided it was time for a coffee. There wasn’t anything that was open, so we stopped in at McDonalds. We were pleasantly surprised as the coffee was great. Over coffee we took the time to check the map to ensure we were heading in the right direction.
It turned out that the church was just around the corner. In fact, it was a very busy corner – one where Keith almost got run over taking the photos below.
We made our way to Place des Terreaux which is basically a large plaza. The centre piece of the plaza is the Fontaine Bartholdi. The fountain has an interesting story – the city of Bordeaux held a competition for the design of a fountain in 1857 and the 23 year old Bartholdi won. They then decided at the time not to build it. However, years later after Bartholdi built the Statue of Liberty, the mayor of Bordeaux decided to actually go ahead with the fountain. Prior to completion it was deemed too expensive so they sold it to the city of Lyon where it remains to this day.
Our final destination in our sightseeing tour of Lyon was the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. To save time we decided to catch the train back to Place Bellecour and walk across the Pont Bonaparte. The view on the bridge was lovely and perfect for our first selfie of the day.
After we crossed the bridge we had lunch in a tiny cafe in the Place Saint-Jean. After looking through the Lyon Cathedral, we made our way to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
The Funicular. The Basilica was located on top of a hill that overlooks all of Lyon. The most efficient and direct route was via funicular.
The inside of the Basilica was absolutely incredible and far outshone the simple exterior. The artwork and architecture were very impressive and we both agreed that this was one of the most beautiful churches we had seen.
The weather was beautiful and we had made good time on our list of ‘must see’ destinations, so we walked to the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière. Beside the obvious amazement of seeing these ancient ruins in such good condition, we were also surprised that there was no entry fee, no security and not many people around. In truth these ruins are just as amazing as anything we had seen in Pompeii or Rome. The Amphitheatre is still functional and used frequently for festivals.
The theatre was built in two steps: around 15 BC, a theatre with a 90m diameter was built next to the hill. At the beginning of the 2nd century, the final construction added a last place for the audience. The diameter is 108m, and there were seats for 10,000 people.
What an awesome day! We both enjoyed so much about this amazing city, beside the key landmarks we have talked about, the entire city was full of beautiful buildings, gardens and had a lovely relaxed attitude. The public transport was easy to use and cheap!
¹ It was this Patisserie that started a conversation – ‘What is the difference between a patisserie and a boulangerie in France?’ Later that night we consulted ‘The Google’, and found that to be known as a Patisserie one must have a licensed master pastry chef. To obtain this title the chef has to complete a lengthy training process and pass an exam.