Friday, 25 November 2016

06 : Big Towns

Dijon, the home of mustard, has more to offer than just the hot stuff, it is well worth a full-daytrip.

Sarcophagi - Dijon
Dijon was one of the residences of the Dukes of Bourgogne. The Musée des Beaux Arts has been installed in the magnificent Dukes' palace. The museum houses a superb collection of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages. The number of superbly carved sarcophagi of various Dukes are one of the highlights of a visit to the palace. Apart from the palace, there are numerous very interesting churches to visit along with the Gothic cathedral of Saint Bénigne being one of the highlights. As you walk through the streets, around every corner you will find something different, there are many old buildings with stunning facades but don’t forget to look up at the roofs many of which are covered in beautifully coloured glazed tiles.
A day in Dijon would not be complete without buying yourself some pots of the real stuff, available in many flavours.

Buying Mustard at Maille's - Dijon
The mustard with blackcurrant is quite something else! Apart from mustard, Dijon is the culinary capital of Burgundy; what better way to complete your day out than to sample what one of the many excellent restaurants has to offer.

In the département of Rhône, where the Rhône and the Saône rivers come together, is the large city of Lyon. Lyon was once the silk centre of Europe. La Croix-Rousse is the district where this industry flourished and where the silk workers (Canuts) lived and worked. In the old city (Vieux Lyon) you will find small hidden alleyways (traboules) between and within the houses; when you find out how the system works, you will spend all morning going up and down these secret passages enjoying the fun of discovering where you reappear on the other side.

Place Bellecour - Lyon
Their real intention was to enable the long heavy rolls of silk to be transported to different areas of the city by the quickest route whilst of course keeping them dry. For those who want to window shop, the Rue de la République on Presqu’île (the nineteenth century business centre of Lyon) is the place to be. The Musée des Beaux Arts, which next to its immense collection of paintings from around Europe has 35 famous impressionist and modern paintings, is also in the same district.

Roman Theatre - Lyon
Not to be missed is a visit up the Fourvière hill in the funicular railway, or for the fitness fanatics via the very long staircase, to visit the basilica and take in the spectacular views over Lyon. On top of the hill you can also see the very well preserved Roman remains of two theatres built when Lyon was called Lugdunum. Lyon is also well known for its wall paintings. In a number of places throughout the city you will find whole buildings covered in frescos. Some of these painting are more than life size!

Mur des Canuts - Lyon

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