Looming above Lyon from its position on a hilltop on the right bank of the Saône, the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière can be seen from numerous places in the city. So it is certainly a prominent landmark, even for those of us who dislike the building and what it stands for.
Like the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, which has a similarly dominating position on a hill above Paris, the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière was begun in the troubled period of the 1870s to celebrate (or at least assert) the triumph of reactionary "Christian values" over the socialist aspirations of the Paris and Lyon communes.
In the words of Bertrand Taithe, Professor of Cultural History at The University of Manchester: "The reaction to the communes of Paris and Lyon were triumphalist monuments, the Sacré-Coeur of Montmartre and the Basilica of Fourvière, dominating both cities. These buildings were erected using private funds, as gigantic ex-votos, thanking God for the victory over the socialists and in expiation of the sins of modern France." (From the book Citizenship and Wars: France in Turmoil, 1870-1871 by Bertrand Taithe.)
Second photo: View of Fourvière from the restaurant Les Muses on the fifth floor of the opera house.
Third photo: Inside the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière. (I think it looks awful, but I'm not exactly a connoisseur of church architecture.)
Fourth photo: One of the corner towers of the Basilica.
The Fourviere is one of Lyon's sights to see as it dominates the hillside, overlooking the town. The church is located up on top of Fourviere Hill, which can be reached by walking or by car. It is a pretty standard church with the stain glass and the high ceilings. Pretty nice all and all.
The basilique of Fourviere is very very decorated so I'd suggest to start visiting the middle aged area of St Jean, (which is just under Fourviere) and its Cathedrale St Jean as the walls are a lot more sober.
Then visit the Basilique of Fourviere. The best thing to do is to take the cable-car (funiculaire) from St-Jean up to Fourviere. Very picuresque !
Enjoy the wonderful scenery and go back to St Jean by foot!!
The lower lateral walls of the nave are each almost covered by three large mosaics with important events relating to the church. Between these are four small lateral niche chapels and the vaults are Above the mosaics within the windows are colored vitreous stories in each space. Above the columns are religious statues. The altar is equally covered with fixtures as are the vaults. Below the main church is a large crypt. To the east of the church is a free standing Chapel of the Virgin of the 18C which holds a 10C miraculous statue.
Although an oratory had bee placed on top of the hill in the 17C, it took a vow from the Archbishop to the Prussians in 1870, saving the city from destruction, that lead to the erection of the church starting in 1872. It is called neo-Byzantine and is decorated both outside and inside over all surfaces. The west facade has four tall columns and a portico and a set of bronze doors. Above this is a set of caryatids and a fronton like a giant storied tympanum. At least the short towers on each corner of the church are quiet as is the central cross.
Very unusual Basilica! Reminded me of Sacre Coeur in Paris (also very unusual) even though they are both very different.
Mosaics in Byzantine style cover almost everything inside this basilica. The impression is overwhelming...
You can walk up the hill or take cable car ride.
You can walk up through some nice gardens and switchbacks, or take a fenicular up to the hill that holds the basilica. The fenicular signs are located in old lyon, and sort of point you in the general direction of the trains. The trains take the same tickets as the subway, a convenience.
The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière sits high atop the Fourvière Hill in Lyon, France. It was built between 1872 and 1876, in the typical Baroque style of the period and offers a magnificent view over the city.
Our local friends indicated that it was built as thanks for sparing Lyon from a plague that spread throughout the country.
Built on Fourviere Hill, the Basilica dominates the city with its siluette. Enjoy its luxurious decorated interior ( fine mosaics, superb stained glass, marble works) and the superb view over the town!
This church sits atop Fourviere Hill overlooking the city of Lyon. The chuch looks faily modern compared with the somberness of other, older churches in Lyon, but the inside is not to be missed. There is no charge to enter the Basilica and it contains some beautiful stained glass, as well as some 19th century Byzantine art. As the church already provides a panoramic view of the city, the climb up the tower is hardly worth the time. I would recommend takin gthe furnicular up and then enjoying a leisurely walk back down into the city. The view of the church, and of the church from the city, in the evening is stunning.
Notre-Dame d'Fourviere, constructed in later time in romantic style of rococo at the top of the Fourvierre hill, direct above the Cathedral. There is a fine view on the city which opens from a terrace. The first Catholic cathedral on this place was constructed in the XII century, then it was reconstructed several times, it got a modern view almost in the end of the XIX century and now it is a dominant of the city.
The Museum of the Gallo-Roman civilization is located on a southern slope of a hill. In the old city there is a Romance church Saint Martin d'Ainay(VI-XIII centuries), Roman-Gothic Cathedral Saint Jean(XII-XV centuries), Gothic churches Saint-Pole, Saint-Bonavature, etc.
The relatively austere exterior houses a surprisingly ornate interior. In addition to several mosaics and stained glass windows, there is a fine collection of 19th-century Byzantine art. One of the highest points in Lyon, the tower provides an excellent viewpoint.
Cost: Free to visit the Basilica, 2 euro to climb up the tower.
Bottom-line: One of the most famous monuments in Lyon. Getting there via furnicular is half the fun, and the tower probably provides best location for a panoramic view of of the city.
It's the church that dominates over Lyon...especially during the night with all the lights on her...If you go all the way up to see her, you'll be surprised by her size...It has 2 parts...upper church with wonderful mosaics and stained glass windows and down is a more moddest place for choir concerts...You can also admire the panoramic view from all along the esplanade or climb the Panoramic Tower.
In 1870, the people of Lyon & their archbishop sought once again the virgin's intercession so that the Perussian armies could not enter the city. The prayer was 'answered', & as a sign of gratitude, the decision was taken to build up the basilica.
*Useful information -
- Fourviere museum: Open frm Apr-Dec, everyday frm 10am-12pm & 2pm-6pm.
- Free visits : From Apr-Oct, join a group for free visit to >> Decouvertes, Passions, Insolites sur les toits Fourviere(up to the roofs)
- Puppet show: Free for 6-11 year old children is given in May & June; frm Sept-Dec.
The view is probably nicer when the wether is fine (man, it was freezing cold up there !) but still, it was fantastic. From there, you have a view on the whole structure of the city with the two rivers. You can also see the four towers of the basilica representing the cardinal virtues : strenght, prudence, temperance and justice.
The inside is really beautiful with its stained glass, statues and above all, the mosaics. This is what I prefered : the walls and the floor are covered with mosaics. What a work this should have been but the result is great.