Why do the Swiss call this the Rotten River? Not because it is rotten in the English sense of the word, but because Rotten happens to be the Swiss-German word for Rhône.
The Rhône aka Rotten starts in the Swiss Alps and has collected considerable detritus (so it’s a bit murky but not rotten) before it flows into the east end of Lac Leman aka Lake Geneva. Then at the west end of the lake the Rhône has a brief moment of glory because it is one of the cleanest rivers in the world as it flows through the city of Geneva, the reason for this unusual cleanliness being that all the gunk has settled to the bottom of the lake.
Lyon is over 260 km further downstream, which gives the Rhône ample opportunity to replenish its gunk supply, especially since there are some chemical factories and disused industrial complexes along the way, so it really does get somewhat "Rotten" by the time it reaches Lyon.
Reportedly the Rhône has accumulated such dangerous levels of PCBs -- polychlorinated biphenyls –- that the French government has outlawed the consumption of fish from the entire length of the Rhône, from the Swiss border all the way down to the Mediterranean.
There is a vivid exhibit on the pollution of the Rhône River in the Grand Gallery of Evolution in Paris.
Second and third photos: People on Vélo’v bikes on a recently constructed bicycle route by the Rhône River. It’s safe and pleasant to ride bicycles along the Rhône, just don’t swim in it, okay?
The Saône is the smaller of the two rivers that come together in Lyon. It is also the more scenic of the two and is better behaved, since it doesn’t flood as often and is not as polluted as the Rhône, as far as I know.
On the right bank of the Saône is the Old Town, Vieux Lyon, and on a hill above that is the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which is visible from most places in the city that have any sort of view at all.
Second photo: The footbridge “Pile du Palais de Justice” over the Saône.
Third photo: The Saône from above.
Fourth photo: The Saône, looking upstream from the Promenade de la Sarra, on the hill behind the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
The Passerelle du Palais de Justice has quite a fascinating history.
A first bridge with ten arches was built on that site in 1638. It reached a high state of disrepair and was destroyed in 1778. It was replaced in 1780 by a bridge made up of a chain of 12 boats, of which two were mobile. Commonly known as Pont Volant (flying bridge), it was also called Pont de Bois (wooden bridge) or Pont des Célestins. This flying bridge was partially carried away by the thawing of ice in January 1789, and then totally during the winter of 1795.
It was replaced in 1797 by a wooden bridge built on the initiative of Guillaume Niogret. The bridge was still called Pont Volant but also named Pont Neuf (new bridge.) In 1820, it was damaged by fall-outs from fireworks, then again by the river overflowing. It was finally demolished in 1833 and replaced the next year by a foot-bridge built by the Séguin Company, to serve the Palais de Justice district. The central arch, with a span of 90 m., was destroyed by the river rising again in 1840. The bridge was rebuilt in 1844 and made up of two piers anchored near the banks, with a leaning central arch of 47 m., relieved by two lateral girders of 20 m. The roadway for this new bridge was 4 m. wide and the two sidewalks were 1 m. each.
The central arch was destroyed by the German armed forces in September 1944. The bridge was re-opened in January 1945. In 1968, the Navigation Service was authorised to demolish the Pont du Change and the Passerelle du Palais de Justice, in order to replace them by the Pont Maréchal-Juin. In 1983, Gilbert Lamboley conceived a new foot-bridge: 4 m. wide, with a span of 136 m. suspended by girders planted in one mast. The mast was anchored on the left bank of the river and was still there when I crossed the Passerelle du Palais de Justice.
There are two sides to Lyon - Lyon Part Dieu and Vieux Lyon - divided by the Saone. If you are visiting, Lyon Part Dieu is not the place to go. It's your average smoggy, dull metropolis, and has no charm whatsoever. Conversely, Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) is beautiful. It may have more tourists, but reasonably so. See my Lyon page (if it has been constructed) to see why.
Fondest memory: Tasting the most exquisite tomato of my life at the market.
The best part of this trip was easily the weekend spent in the Alps in the small village of Alpe de Grand Serre. Round about 4.30pm, we had to stow our luggage into the Peugeot station wagon, snag Florian from the babysitter's flat, and get Isabelle as she knocked off from work. As the sun was fixing to set, the town's decorations were at their full effect. Those in this particular part of town were all sorts of shapes. I call it "Nightmare on the Eve of a Geometry Test". Believe it or not, despite the fact that it was 8 December and so cold the California raisins were volunteering for rum cake duty, there was lightning off in the distance. It was COMING UP A CLOUD (a thunderstorm was taking place) somewhere within a few miles of there. Most of the ride up was uneventful, however, when Luc made that hard right turn, the road got narrower and narrower, higher and higher, with more curves than a "Playboy" centrefold. Once we attained a certain climb, my ears popped again as if we were in the cabin of an airplane. The chalet in Alpe de Grande Serre is at 4600 ft. (1400 m.) above sea level with surrounding snow capped mountains as high as 7200 ft. (2200 m.).
Just like those Friday night trips of yore to Grandma's house, Luc's mama (Marie-France) had supper waiting for us as Grandma used to. Luc's folks were still about the same only his daddy, Marcel, retired from being a principal in the French school system. His mama still cooks meals that are the best I've ever had in a foreign country.
Fondest memory: The following day was rather uneventful. After lunch, we took a walk through the little town and along the stream. It was cold and I felt about as much like leaving the warm comfort of the chalet as hopping to the moon on a pogo stick. There we all were- Mr. and Mrs. Marcellin, Luc and Isabelle, Florian and me- pram and all. The town of Alpe de Grand Serre has about as many year-round inhabitants as Virgilina, Virginia (that small town on the Virginia-North Carolina border) where my grandmother lives. However, they do a brisk ski business in the winter months. On that walk, we also visited the Hotel Nivose, where Luc and Isabelle's wedding reception took place and where all the out-of-town guests stayed. I was so glad when we started back for the chalet because I was fixing to get numb.
The following day, I got up only to notice as the sun started to rise a dusting of snow that had fallen on the valley the previous night. With any luck, it would snow some more, and we would be stranded in the warmth of their mountain chalet where we would have heat from the non-electric heater (even if we lost power), and Luc's mama would still be able to cook the dishes she knows best. Heavy snowstorms this time of year were not unheard of at this time of year as there was 3 ft. (1 m.) of snow a few weeks before then. I wouldn't have minded that as long as I could leave on Thursday as planned.
With the preacher and a nun coming over for lunch, Luc's mama outdid herself again. In France, you had to sit through all the courses and all the conversation- at least until the host or hostess adjourns from the table. That was fine and dandy until they ran out of food, but I was ready to get up once dessert was over. I bet we were at the table more than 2 hours.
It is wrong to say of me that I have been to Lyon.
I was there, but I was also on a great number of other places, like Liernolles, Vichy, Lapallisse, Moulins!!,Le Donjon, Alpe d'huez,...
Fondest memory: The people who are very kind.
The old and very sympathetic houses.
The fields and the sun upon the snow on the horizon.
When you arrives to Lyon by motorway from the south, you see the big petrochemical Rhone Valley(Solaize, Feyzin with Elf factories).You think certainly:this city is crap!!!
It's totally wrong!!Why?Because you aren't go in the city which have some hidden secret.
Of course, like all the French, they don't welcome cordially but,if luckily,you meet an English-speaking,so there,you 'll chat.
My heart stoke is a quarter I know good:Monchat
Old Quarter (XIXth century):little house,decrepit walls ,but a given life quarter:associations...
The quarter that is developping is Gerland with lots of superoirs schools:scientist ENS( Ecole normale superieure)forming very high level enginners
Soon,the literary and social sciences ENS forming university teachers .(Open Oct.2000)
Too,There 's a very dangerous laboratory who studying the great epidemic:Ebola,AIDS...
Here is the Football Team Stadium:Olympique Lyonnais(We said O.L)
Favorite thing: Check out the the official Office of Tourism at la Place Bellecour. Here they have free maps as well as plenty of advice on what to see.
I must admit to sleeping around in my favorite cities! :-) Blame it on wanting to experience...more
This is the view from my room. While not the best, I could see the Baslica and Fourviere.more
The hotel itself is fine - clean, with reasonable service and a small bar - pretty much what you...more