Moored in Lyon, city of contrasts, where Roman history rubs shoulders with modernity

Lyon is one of the most interesting cities in the world, and it’s amazing to have our floating home moored here.  We arrived in Lyon on the Saone river and left on the mighty Rhône. The Saone and the Rhône rivers meet here, converge and continue as the Rhône, two rivers in one.  It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 3rd (or if you ask a Lyonaisse the 2nd) largest city in France, yet with only 1.5 million people inhabiting the city. So many famous people lived and created in Lyon, not least the Lumiere brothers, inventors of the “moving picture” on their machine the Cinematagraph. It’s unashamedly a city of Culture, Art and Innovations.

The city of Lyon sprawls between the two rivers and on either sides of the rivers up the hills.  The one hill known as the “hill that prays” and the other as the “hill that works”. Our first mooring was on a concrete wall, close to old Lyon, (Vieux Lyon) with amazing views

During the heat wave we had no electricity to turn on our a/c.. this kind street cleaner squirted a high pressure water hose on Sojourn to cool her (and us) down.  (An amazingly equipped cleaning van: high pressure water, bins, tools..

And a perspective view, all by ourselves far distant right under the trees.. we’re such a tiny blob on this enormous body of water,  not sure if we can be seen?

In the background This famous Basilica, Notre-Dam de Fouviere on the Fourvière Hill (known as the hill that prays) built to honor Mary, who saved the city from Black Plague, and protected her Lyonnaise people

Together with our friends Johan and Lynette le Roux (who were ending their short stay with us here ) we caught the City bus.  It gives a good overall feel of this history-filled city of contrasts.. from some of the Main streets littered with Haute Couture names – Longchamp, Louis Vuitton, Grant, Role , Mont Blanc…to this Basilica

The Basilica is spectacular, it’s meant to be, with a golden Mary watching over and protecting the city. 

The views from the “hill that prays” are spectacular, the two rivers clearly seen

Beautiful architecture 

Ancient Roman ruins and amphitheater remind one of 2000 years ago.  Lyon was known as Lugdunum by the Romans. The amphitheater this month is used for the Nuits Festival, where modern music beats out rhythms that all dance to  – would this utterly confuse ancient Romans who preferred throwing Christians to the lions?

Below, Roman ruins

Old Lyon is a delight to explore, with cobbled streets and quaint buildings.  Simple pavement restaurants offer Lyonnaise specialities, the simplest of dishes served with flare.

Pavement restaurant, called One,Two, Three where we had lunch in old Lyon.  The Plat de Jour is a reasonable price at lunch time, nearly double price in the evening.

Croix-Rousse-Rousse is the area built on the other hill, known as the “hill that works”. It’s where the silk industry developed.   Tall buildings with large windows let in light for weavers who worked as small family businesses. The silk weavers were known as Canuts.  Here the Jacquard loom was invented. The forerunner of the computer as it used a binary system?

Lyon is famous for its secret passage ways called Traboules.  These were passages closed by doors at either end, so looked like normal housedoors.   The passageways were used by the Canuts as quick ways to get their silk wares down the hill to the River.  Also used to hide Jews during WW2

Lyon has SO MUCH!

FOOD, (it’s considered the Cuisine capital of France, the French think of the world and they are probably right). Choose from Michelin rated restaurants (priced around 160 – 200 Euros per person ) to pavement cafes. Paul Bocuse is Lyons most famous chef, and one of the most famous chefs of the 20C. He was awarded 3 Michelin stars for his restaurants for 53 years and is described as a “master of traditional cuisine, he embodies a simple and authentic cuisine, faithful to the soil and executed with the love of the gesture.”  He would always come out and welcome his guests. 

Street art of the famous chef Paul Bocuse on the building opposite the Paul Bocuse Les Halles Market 

The Paul Bocuse Les Halles Market, locals tucking into oysters served with style

Les Halles sells authentic French produced food offerings.

The famous Bresse chickens (they have to be packaged like this to prove their authenticity)

Macaroons of all colours and  flavours…

We had a freshly squeezed fruit juice here at the end of a hot hot day 

Specially plated meals

My fish main dish

Dessert, a taste of creme brûlée, s chocolate sponge and citron sorbet


Probably began here with this blank wall in the sIlk workers district, Croix-Rousse, such an eyesore.

And the end result, depicting the life of the silk workers and modernizing the wall over the years.

And now I’m part of the street art !

Love the flower wall

And another wall depicting Lyons famous characters.

Such detail…and so real

Lyon has fascinating MUSEUMS 

La Musee de Beau Arts features incredibly valuable originals from ancients to my favourite s, the Impressionists

Rodin sculptures…The Kiss

A Museum of Miniatures, incredible detail. 

And of course beautiful public art throughout the city, mostly  based on Myth

It’s a city to stop one in ones tracks for weeks.  We only stayed a week, luckily moving from the concrete wall after a few days to this mooring with water and electric (and a/c) and easy shopping! Our floating home reminded us of the need to move on,leaving the Saone river and onto the mighty Rhône and la Mistral winds.

Leaving our safe harbor..

But at least I don’t have to pull Sojourn as she probably had been in the past….

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  1. Absolutely love your photos. We’re hoping to get over to France, maybe in 2021 now. Hoping to maybe relocate over there eventually from Australia. Looks like there’s endless reasons to do so.

  2. Really enjoyed this Pam and Rob, not having visited Lyon your page brought it to life.

  3. It was a joy to read your blog and see the photographs of Lyon. It brought back many fond memories.

    Happy travels!

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