Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:06:50 AM EST
As most of you know, just before the Paris meetup I had the genuine pleasure of spending a day wandering around the sights of Lyon, before then being wined and dined on local fare as the guest of our very own Melancthon.
Lyon is one of the great cultural and historical melting pots. In ancient times there were only two commerical trade routes between the Mediterranean civilisations and and the Baltic countries. These were either the western route up the Rhone through Lyon to the Seine or the Rhine or to the east through the Bosphorus, Black Sea and up the Dnepr river; the "Viking" highway. So Lyon has been on a major trade route since the dawn of time.
In roman times it was named Lugdonum and, being the nearest point ot access to all three main Gallic kingdoms of France (Gallia in tres partes divisa est - opening line of Caeser's gallic wars), was effectively the capital of Roman France.
The first picture is of the roman amphitheatre, situated in the Roman town on the west bank of the Saone overlooking modern Lyon.
the next picture is of the much smaller gallish circus on the other side of the river.
Lyon was ruled by the church for a considerable period and there are some fine cathedrals. This is a view of both Cathedral St Jean (lower) and Basilisque Notre-Dame de Fouvriere on the hill above.
And this is the view looking the other way (not quite as impressive).
These are a couple of other views of the Basilisque. Up close...
...and from the other side of the river looking like something out of a Disney cartoon
this is just one of the set of stairs to get from Cathedral to Basilisque, pant ...pant... when I got to the top I found out there was a funicular railway. Fortunately it was closed else I might have said something profane.
however the views from the Basilisque are pretty spectacular
The old town, which dates from the 11th century, below the cathedral is full of lovely narrow streets and is very much a tourist destination.
One of the nice things about Lyon is that there is lots of quirky humour in public spaces. This stone dog on a balcony (thanks to ceebs for helping me rotate image)
Or this straw pig in a restaurant
and this entrance to a bookshop
but best of all the paintings on blank walls.
Apparently all of the scenes and people in this montage are famous people and places from Lyonnais history, around the corner it's all roman and Gallish figures.
but finally I had to walk down the hill.....
...to the square to meet Melancthon....
...and then proceed to a fine restaurant specialising in local Lyonnais cuisine. I passed on the lamb's brains, managed to eat the tripe in mustard but let's just draw a veil of silence over some of the other stuff which really takes the "eat everything but the oink" principle beyond a point I didn't know it went. But I admit to being fascinated by it. And my pikelet in batter was as excellent as expected.
Great company, great food, great city...and fine wine. All ETers should visit and let M. show off his lovely home town. It's a great day out.