Fourvière


Fourvière

Fourvière is a district of Lyon, France located on a hill immediately west of the old part of the town, rising abruptly from the river Saône and then gently sloping down to the north-west. It is the site of the original Roman settlement of Lugdunum (43 BC). While it supports two funicular lines, the oldest in the world still active, it is known primarily for the Catholic Basilica of Fourvière. The inauguration of the golden statue of Mary on the north-west tower is the origin of the famous 8th of December festivities, when the citizens of Lyon display candles ("lumignons") at their windows. This festival now attracts hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of Lyon every year. Fourvière contains many other religious buildings including convents, monasteries and chapels. It is known in Lyon as "the hill that prays".

Also on the Fourvière hill is La Tour Métallique which was privately built by the owners of the land to rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It forms the highest point in Lyon and is in fact higher than the Eiffel Tower at its summit, due to it being on a hill. It is now a television relay tower.

On the south side of Fourvière are the (partially intact) ruins of a Roman Theatre (15 BC), only rediscovered in the 20th century, and now home to a museum and a series of concerts and operas throughout the summer, and the ruins of vast Roman Baths.

A double motorway tunnel passes under Fourvière, connecting the A6 autoroute (coming from Paris) and the A7 autoroute (coming from Marseille), both forming the "Autoroute du Soleil". Prior to the construction of the bypass of Lyon by the east, the tunnel was famous for its traffic jams, since traffic between northern and southern France, as well as from neighbouring countries and local traffic all wanted to cross, Lyon being virtually the only low passage between the Alps and the Massif Central (extinct) volcano range.

The hill is very fragile in places due to springs, underground streams and ancient tunnels and aqueducts, which have caused several subsidences in the past.


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