Last Day of the Cruise & the Last Tour  Map

OK, today is the last day of the cruise and today is the more interesting Lyon city tour. There is another tour departing for Cluny, France - but that one required a two hour bus ride in each direction. So we make the easy decision that we'd rather see the city in more detail.
The Lyon City tour first stop is at La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière (main entrance shown in this image), which is another amazing example of a Gothic Church. Built with private funds in 1872 to 1884, on the site of what was once the Roman forum of Trajan.
Although you cannot see it in this picture, the rear area of this church is next to a wall that overlooks the city of Lyon below the ridge that the church is located on. The view is fantastic - the church grounds are approximately 928 feet above sea level, while the majority of Lyon is at 550 feet above sea level. Gives you some idea of the height of the ridge eh?

Lyon Exploration
Lyon Roman Ruins

The remains of the Roman colony "Colonia Copia Felix Munatia", a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum, the earliest translation of this Gaulish place-name as "Desired Mountain". Our Viking Tour Bus took us to this area on the way to La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière.

The Roman City Lugdunum was founded under a policy of establishing settlements in newly conquered areas, with the aims of ensuring the stability of those areas and rewarding retired veteran soldiers with land and rights. The settlement initiatives were established by Julius Caesar, and included the cities of Vienne, Noviodunum (Switzerland), and Augusta Raurica. The indigenous people in this area were the Allobroges.

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière Interior

Constructed during 1872 - 1884, the interior is a beautiful example of the neo-byzantine-gothic style. Because it is still a church in operation, the guides insist on silence and no flash photography.

La Basilique Decorations

The stained glass windows were beautiful and the ceiling was very high above us but was also a work of art! The mural that can be seen in image two is titled "The battle of Lepanto".

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière Exterior

These images were taken outside the Basilica, and because it sits high above Lyon on a ridge, the views of the city below are superb.

Image one was taken in front of the basilica, as we had to queue up here waiting to be allowed inside. Image three is the basilica as it can be seen from the city (image three is the propery of Loïc Ventre via Flickr). Image two was taken as we waited to enter the basilica.

Because the basilica sits high up on a ridge, it is one of the most visible landmarks in the city, and one of the symbols of the city of Lyon. It gives Lyon its status as a “Marian city”. About two million tourists are welcomed each year in the basilica. The basilica complex includes not only the building, the Saint-Thomas chapel and the statue, but also the panoramic esplanade, the Rosary garden and the Archbishopric of Lyon.
NOTE: Click here to see a Google Images set of pictures.

Lyon Streets Scenes
The Lyon Fresco (aka "La Fresque des Lyonnais")

At first glance you see what appears to be a very busy building, with people walking by or standing on balconies… but take a closer look and you’ll see that this is actually one giant fresco! Painted with the trompe-l’oeil – or “trick of the eye” – technique, this giant fresco celebrates over thirty local figures who have made their mark over 2,000 years of Lyonnais history, from the Roman emperor Claudius to the renowned chef Paul Bocuse.

Click here to view a set of Google Images of this building located at 2 Rue de la Martinière very near the Saône River, 1/2 block off the Quai Saint-Vincent.

Click here to go to the "This is Lyon" website and a more complete description of the Lyon Fresco.

Opéra Nouvel (Nouvel Opera House)

The Opéra Nouvel (Nouvel Opera House) in Lyon, France is the home of the Opéra National de Lyon. The original opera house was re-designed by the distinguished French architect, Jean Nouvel between 1985 and 1993 in association with the agency of scenography dUCKS scéno and the acoustician Peutz. Serge Dorny was appointed general director in 2003.

The Lyon Fresco up Close

Image one is a side view of the Lyon Fresco and image two is a shop at the base of the Fresco - you can see the river on the right side of image two, as our tour bus was parked on the Quai Saint-Vincent.

Lyon Street Scenes

Image one was taken of near the The Lyon Fresco and the La Saone River. Image two is near the Place des Terreaux where we found a seafood restaurant and had lunch there.

Place des Terreaux

This is a square located in the center of Lyon, France on the Presqu'île between the Rhône and the Saône rivers, at the foot of the hill of La Croix-Rousse in the 1st arrondissement. The square belongs to the zone classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This area is surrounded by shops, restaurants, narrow streets, statues and sometimes excellent views of the church up on the hill.

The building in the center of the first image above, is the Hôtel de Ville de Lyon the city hall of the City of Lyon and one of the largest historic buildings in the city, located between the Place des Terreaux and the Place de la Comédie, in front of the Opera Nouvel. Since 12 July 1886, the building has been classified as a Monument historique.

The statue shown in image # 2, is the "Fontaine Bartholdi" a fountain sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. The sculptor is also the artist who designed the Statue of Liberty, which made him famous in France. There is also a Bartholdi Fountain in Washington D.C.


NOTE: Click here to see a Google Images set of pictures for the square.
NOTE: Click here to go to the Wiki Page for Place des Terreaux.

La Confluence Mall

Celeste and I decided to have our last meal ashore, rather than sit through another "formal" meal onboard the Viking Heimdal. This was not a comment on the ship's food (it was good), but more of a "we are not truly hungry, and we wanted to have something local" before we leave Lyon. We found a small restaurant in the La Confluence Mall, and we had gallettes - if you have never had one, do a Google Search, because they are fantastic!

Although I came back to the ship to let my back and leg nerves get a break, Celeste went on a walk and discovered some interesting architecture. Images 1 and 4 are of the "Orange Cube" building on the Saône River near the La Confluence Mall. This six-story building is separated into a double-height showroom on the ground floor and offices on the upper levels, with a roof terrace surrounding offices on the sixth floor. Image 2 is of the La Confluence Mall, and as you can see, it is very distinctive architecture. When the Viking Heimdal moved to the Saône River, we were docked immediately next to this mall. Image 3 is another cube building, similar to the Orange building.
NOTE: Click here to view a Google Images set of pictures for this area of Lyon.

  • The Viking Lyon & Provence Cruise Overview & Guide Our Viking River Cruise from Marseilles to Lyon, north on the Rhône River with various ports of call, click here to read more.
  • Avignon, France The first stop as we head up the Rhône River, click here to read more.
  • Arles, France The town of Arles is a community situated in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the south eastern area of France. click here to read more.
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France While docked in Avignon, Viking organized an afternoon tour to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region, known in France as one of the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regions. click here to read more.
  • Tournon-sur-Rhône, France The Viking Heimdal cast off at 4AM to continue north on the River Rhône, to Tournon - set to arrive at 1PM. This was the longest leg of the cruise, it is approximately 150 kilometers from Avignon to Tournon. click here to read more.
  • Vienne, France Vienne is a commune in southeastern France, located 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Lyon, on the river Rhône. It is only the fourth largest city in the Isère department, of which it is a sub-prefecture, but was a major center of the Roman Empire. click here to read more.
  • Lyon, France The ship arrives in Lyon at 3PM, and we initially tied up at the Quai Claude Bernard - the eastern side of the Rhône River. This is a very scenic location, adjacent to the Université Lumière Lyon and only 2.2 kilometers from the Place des Terreaux. click here to read more.
  • Perouges, France The optional free bus tour to Perouges departs at 2PM today, and we drive through some really beautiful countryside on the way there. The La Dombes district is where fish are raised in a series of 1,200 ponds. Click here to read more.
  • Our Thoughts on Viking River Cruises Our perspective on Viking River Cruises, plus a few pros & cons to consider. Click here to read more.

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