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The most practical and least tiring way of getting to the basilique de Fourvière is to take the tram, known locally as the ficelle from Saint Jean to near the Esplanade. There is also a rather long but more interesting way to discover the hill. Walk up Rue de la Bombarde to the Montée des Chazeaux and go into the relatively unknown Jardin du Rosaire garden which leads to the Esplanade de Fourvière. Of course, to get the best of both worlds, you can take the ficelle up the hill and walk down through the gardens. The path that crosses the garden and leads to the Montée Saint Barthélémy at the basilica winds around the Stations of the Cross used by pilgrims. The best time of the day to walk up there is early morning or at the end of the day when wildlife is active: squirrels and buzzards are seen frequently here.
UNESCO recently listed the old part of Lyon, Vieux Lyon, including the Croix-Rousse and Presqu'île areas as a world heritage site. This Gothic and Renaissance district, famous for its maze of narrow streets and elegant buildings certainly deserves it! The culturally rich district is famous for its quaint cathedrals, churches, and building of historic importance. The office du Tourisme de Lyon organizes guided tours in English and French, which help you discover the best of Old Lyon.
Built between 1872 and 1884 by the architect Pierre Bossan, the Basilique de Fourvière, that has been nicknamed the "upside-down elephant" is representative of the eclecticism of the end of the 19th Century. The oriental, symbolic and neo-classical influences (twisted columns and columned porticoes) are mixed with architecture inspired by the medieval style towers, which creates a shocking fortress church. An observatory offers spectacular views, and under the basilica is a crypt, accessible from the esplanade. Guided tours are available.
The esplanade on the left side of the Basilica of Fourvière provides one of the best views of the city: the Croix-Rousse and the Terreaux district on your left, the roofs of Saint Jean down the hill, and on your right the Place Bellecour. Panoramic signs point you in the right direction, but don't forget your binoculars! For those who are not put off by climbing 200 steps, a staircase takes you to the observatory right at the top of the basilica giving you practically a bird's eye view.
Located close to the Fourvière Hill of Lyon is the Roman Theaters of Fourviere; a theater that is believed to have existed at this location since the 17th Century. Albeit an ancient sight, Roman Theaters of Fourviere is still used for many concerts and the science behind its seating arrangement and acoustics always makes visitors fall in awe of this beauty. Even when there aren't events lined up, when in Lyon, a visit to this place comes highly recommended. One can stroll up and down the complex while soaking in the serene atmosphere that surrounds these ruins.
Established in the 19th Century, Parc de la Tête d'Or is a cornucopia of entertainment, with its zoo, 5-hectare rose garden, an enormous greenhouse filled with exotic species, and a mysterious island. This lush green park is considered to be the lung of Lyon. With pony rides, jogging and cycling paths, a mini-golf course, a toy train track, and several sporting facilities, there is no shortage of entertainment here. There are also stalls for food and souvenirs. The Jardin Botanique de Lyon and the Statue which commemorates the twenty-second G7 conference are popular tourist attractions.
Built next to the ancient medieval city for protection, Château de Septème was restored in the 15th and 16th Centuries and parts of the ramparts remain today. Most of the buildings from the end of the Middle Ages (14th-15th Century) remain and bear witness to the changing lifestyles compared to earlier buildings (towers, chimneys and the like). The inner courtyard was reworked during the Renaissance when a loggia and gallery were added. Call for more details.
The small medieval city of Pérouges situated on the border between the States of Savoie and Dauphiné dates from the Gallo-Roman era. An inscription on one of the gates of the town records the victory of the Savoyards in 1468 against the armies of Dauphiné who were attempting to seize it. In the end it was tourism that saved Pérouges from being lost since this little medieval village has successfully exploited the charm of its stone houses and roads paved with cobblestones (extensively restored throughout this century). The city is huddled around the Place de Halle and is overlooked by the Vieux Pérouges museum, which is housed in a XIV century dwelling once owned by the dukes of Savoir, featuring collections on its history, archaeology and local crafts, as well as offering a beautiful view of the medieval garden.