Monday, July 17, 2023

17th of July 2023 - Lyon

We were taken on a coach tour of Lyons driving through the city centre and Fourvière Hill before doing a walking tour through the old town with its narrow cobbled streets.

Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul, established on the current site of Lyon. The Roman city was founded in 43 BC and continued an existing Gallic settlement with a likely population of several thousands.  There are still some traces of Roman architecture.

Our first stop was at the Fourvière Basilica which has been dedicated to the Virgin Mary who has been the protectress of Lyon for centuries. The people of Lyon were first endeared to the Virgin Mary in 1643 when the spread of the plague was threatening the region of Lyon. To stop the plague epidemic, the city council’s aldermen decided to dedicate the city to the Virgin Mary. They made a solemn promise that, every year, they would go on a pilgrimage to the top of Fourvière Hill if the city was freed from the plague.  This vow was answered and, since then, the vow has been repeated every year on the day of the Virgin Mary’s Nativity feast by Lyon’s archbishop, in the presence of Lyon’s mayor and city councillors.  The origin of the Basilica’s construction dates from 1870 when France was facing the Franco-Prussian war. Lyon citizens prayed to the Virgin Mary to protect the city, so that the war did not reach Lyon. Lyon’s archbishop, made a promise to build a new sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Virgin Mary if the Prussians did not invade the city. Once again, the prayer was answered and the Basilica was built.

The interior of the Basilica is extremely ornate.

There is a great view of the city of Lyon from an esplanade behind the Basilica.

Our walk through Lyon's historic quarter took us through a number of traboules which are the old city's secret covered passageways.  The traboules took us through the buildings and past little courtyards.   They also gave us some welcome shade from the July sun.

We were given the chance to try a pink sugar praline brioche bun called La Praluline.   This was lovely but very sweet.

Lyon was apparently the world capital of silk in the 19th century.  On board ship in the afternoon we had a lecture on silk printing techniques from the Atelier de Soierie, a company which has specialised in printing and colouring silks since 1890.  The company mainly use either screen printing or ink jet printing.  Many of their products are reproduction of paintings by, for example Dali and Monet.  They also do hand painting on velvet panne which gives spectacular results.  We were shown on different layers of ink were applied in turn to produce a complete picture.  Reluctantly, I resisted buying any of the silk scarves they had on offer however did enjoy watching the demonstration of different ways to wear scarves.

In the evening we had the Captain's dinner but without the Captain present.  Some of the key members of the crew were presented to us and then we had another lovely meal.

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