Sailing along the Rhone river with Viking River Cruises, we have visited a number of French towns and sailed past many more. Some were quaint little places with a unique charm of their own while others were part of a larger metropolitan area, still with a unique feel about them. Nearing the end of our journey, we were hopeful to end with a bang at the last few stops on our Portraits of Southern France itinerary. Overnighting in Lyon, we were not disappointed.
Never mind that Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the third one of our voyage. Forget Lyon’s strategic location, where the Saone and Rhone rivers meet, appreciated since ancient Roman times. Disregard Lyon as the home of international police agency Interpol, the location of where the first motion picture was made there and the place known as the silk-weaving capital of Europe. This is a location that ranks right up there with Dubrovnik, Croatia on our list of dream places to live, mainly because when Vikings visit Lyon, they do so in style.
We began our tour of Lyon high above the 2000 year old city at Fourviere Cathedral. Located on what is known as Lyon’s Hill of Prayers, the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere cathedral is renowned for its intricate mosaics that cover nearly every surface of the interior. Providing stunning views of the city below, it was a perfect place for Viking to begin our tour.
Continuing by bus to Lyon’s old town, our local guide pointed out interesting places and facts about Lyon. As the starting point for the entire Roman road system, all roads did indeed lead back to Rome as the saying goes. Combined with city’s strategic location, Lyon has been a place for trade and cultural exchange ever since.
Off the Viking River Cruises bus, we walked the streets of the city past museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants. First stopping at a sidewalk cafe for a lunch of Bruschetta and wine, we then visited a local bakery to bring back assorted horrible things we should never eat.
Back on board Viking Hermod, we washed those little delights down with a nice red wine we had bought at the vineyard visited earlier in the voyage. We like that Viking has no problem with passengers bringing their own wine aboard, will open it for them and provide glasses too.
It is hard not to like Lyon with its abundance of art all around the city ranging from this papal statue to things as simple as window boxes full of flowers, blocks of shops that look like they came out of a movie set and people walking, biking or just sitting around, enjoying the day. It’s almost like when we left someone might have shouted “Cut!” and all the actors creating the nearly perfect day took off their costumes, amazing storefronts were taken down to reveal ordinary buildings and the fairy dust we tried to bring back with us turned to simple glitter.
Lyon is surely one of those places visited by cruise ship that will go on the short list of locations to revisit later, staying longer. If our voyage ended in Lyon, our experience there would have been a wonderful way to wrap up a truly wonderful vacation.
But we have one more port to go as we stop in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. That’s next along with answers to your questions about Viking River Cruises, this Portraits of Southern France itinerary and more.
Come along with us from leaving home to returning and everything in-between right here. We’ll be posting live accounts of what happened along the way. Here is a handy guide with links to where we can be found and followed:
ChrisCruises.com- Live Event In Progress daily blog posts and this Day by Day account of our trip (see below)
Google+ Posts from ChrisCruises.com, all in one place
Spotify- River Cruise Playlists
Tumblr– Live photo posts, as they happen, from me; like Instagram without captions.
Tumblr Bonus: Lisa’s Tumblr, themed “The World As Lisa Sees It” posts one photo each day as it has for years. Follow along to see how Lisa experiences this trip as well.
Exposure- Photo Storybooks for each event, coming soon.
Have questions for us before, during or after the event?
We are Vikings and always in touch
Chris is on location this week, sponsored by Viking River Cruise touring in Europe by river. As always, Chris provides the details to let readers decide what resonates (or not) with them in an unbiased, factual manner.