Friday, June 11, 2010

A Quick Trip to Lyon, France

 I recently had the opportunity to visit Lyon in the Rhône-Alpes region of France for work last week. It was a busy trip, but I was able to squeeze in some sights along the way. This trip also required several hours of driving through the winding, forested hills, and antiquated hilltop villages between Saint Etienne, Clermont-Ferrand, along my way to the mountain town of Massiac. Although we have been to France several times, I have never been to this corner, so it was great to see yet another beautiful part of the country.

 Lyon is the second largest city in France and is also the notorious gastronomic capital, the birthplace and home to nouvelle cuisine, set at the confluence of the Saône and the Rhône rivers and dominated by the Renaissance and Roman sights of the Fourvière hill. While in Lyon I stayed on the Place Bellecour, just within walking distance to the Vieux Lyon (old city), and perched beneath the imposing features of Fourvière hill.

 Lyon is more or less halfway between Paris and Marseilles, and could probably be easily seen inside of one day if your time is a bit stretched. Most of what you would like to see or do is located within the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 9th arrondissements, located on the western side of the Rhône. It is here that you can roam around the retail areas of Place Bellecour, one of the largest squares in Europe, take in the historic sites of Saint-Jean Cathedrale, the Roman ruins of the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, and the small, medieval lanes of Vieux Lyon.

During your stay in Lyon, be sure to try the local Beaujolais wine and treat yourself to one of the best meals you can find in Europe. Although short and busy, Lyon was a nice little mid-week excursion to a rich and beautiful corner of France.  -- K.V.

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