The gastronomic capital of France, if not the world, is not just a foodie hotspot. With UNESCO-protected architecture and awe-inspiring Roman ruins, its one for history lovers too..
Travel bucket list idea:
Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France|lugdunum.grandlyon.com|
Under the name of Lugdunum, Lyon was a flourishing Roman city, founded at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers on Fourviere Hill in 43 BC.
Today, archaeological excavations have exposed two vastly important sites, an amphitheatre (the oldest in France from Roman Gaul) and a small theatre, both of which are now part of this fantastic museum.
In addition to the theatres, the museum houses a vast array of artefacts exposing all aspects of Roman life, from Lugdunum’s urban layout to its circus entertainment and army missions.
The Circus Games Mosaic is a rare and outstanding 2nd-century piece discovered in 1806, depicting the favourite Roman sport of chariot racing.
Also look out for the life-size statue of Neptune, found by Lyon’s Pont de la Guillotiere in 1859, and dating from the 3rd century AD. It’s remarkably intact.
While you're there
At the amphitheatre, enjoy one of the best cityscapes in town. Then walk downhill to 6 rue des Farges, where Roman bath ruins are now a quaint park.
Getting there & doing it
If you don’t fancy the steep walk up the hillside, take the funicular (lines F1 or F2) from Vieux (Old) Lyon – Cathedrale Saint-Jean metro. For F1, you need the Minimes stop (direction Saint-Just) and for F2, get off at Fourviere.
As part of the museum is outside, take sun-screen and water on hot days. The theatres are veritable suntraps.
When to do it
The museum is open all year round, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday. The Roman theatres are open daily.
There are rarely large crowds here, but quietest moments are during lunchtime and at the end of the afternoon, at around 4pm.
Each summer, the Nuits de Fourviere festival is held in the amphitheatre, showcasing music, theatre, opera, dance and circus in incredibly evocative and atmospheric surrounds.
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