Notre-Dame de Fourvière

On the summit of the highest of Lyon’s three hills stands the monumental Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. It was built at the same time as Sacré-Coeur in Paris, and for the same reason: in thanks for the deliverance of the city during the late ninteenth-century Franco-Prussian war. Though the building is relatively new, there has been a church or sacred shrine of some kind here for millenia, beginning with a Roman temple – and maybe even the Gauls before that.

Next to the Basilica is another 19th-century structure: a tour métallique completed in 1894, and looking uncannily like the Eiffel Tower. The church and the tower may seem incongruous, but there may be a bit of one-upmanship involved. The top of the tower is just a few metres higher than the tallest spire of the church.

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Notre Dame de Fourvière, Lyon.

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