Saturday, November 1, 2014

Around Lyon

My friend Joyce and I spent five days exploring Lyon. It's easy to do with its good metro and bus system. We stayed in a hotel near the Gare Part Dieu, the main TGV train station. From there, a number of buses and trolleys run in all directions.

Vieux Lyon, or Old Lyon is west of the two rivers, the Saone and the Rhone. Dominating the area is the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica. Just down the hill a short distance are two Roman amphitheaters, now restored and used in summers for concerts. The subway goes beneath both rivers and quickly takes people from one side of the city to the other.

Roman fountain, Hotel de Ville in background
In Old Lyon, the buildings are ancient stone edifices with narrow streets, mostly closed to traffic now, crammed with shops and restaurants with apartments above. Across the Saone, the town is newer, only several hundred years old. The city, with the Hotel de Ville as it's center, is "downtown." Here, in an old convent, is an impressive art museum that took five hours to explore. The opera house and many wide spacious plaza's overlook the Rhone.

And going east across the Rhone, the city is newer still, extending for miles with modern skyscrapers and industrial zones. It is the third largest city in France.

At a curve in the Rhone, the city has built a beautiful park, Tete d'Or. Many acres of forest, fields and lake are bordered by the river to the west and north, and a large university on the east. It was a beautiful place to spend the day wandering the many paved and unpaved trails.

Elaborate ornamentation of the Hotel de Ville

The Lyon Opera House

Saone River between Old Lyon and the City Center

Looking up at the Notre Dame
Basilica from trails in the park below

Parc de la Tete d'Or
Parc de la Tete d'Or

War monument on the island: Ile de Souvenir
Sculpture at the entrance to the park