Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lyon

From the massive, white-limestone, staggeringly ornate Notre-Dame de Fouviere, Lyon flows down over the ancient Roman ruins, through the cobbled, twisting, narrow-laned medieval Vieux Lyon, over the beautiful Soane and into its low-rise, elegant, park-filled Enlightenment centre until finally, leaping the nearby Roane, it washes into the modern city, spilling out into the suburbs and satellite towns in the far distance.

It is a handsome, prosperous place. On its narrow streets cyclists are everywhere and cars are few, even at peak-hour. Underneath the streets, a superb metro swiftly, cheaply and regularly transports its willing population.

Until late in the evening the pavements are packed with crowds from the innumerable little bouchons that line the brightly-lit, narrow streets of this ancient city of beautiful river walks, massive cathedrals, museums and a rich history that winds, like its traboules (secret passages), through Vichy France, the birth of cinema, silk weaving and printing back to antiquity, to Caesar Augustus and finally, in 43 BC, to the Roman military colony of Lugdunum.  

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