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Date of travel

August, 2017

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On your own

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Vienne is a large and pleasant city on the river Rhone just south of Lyon.

It was an important city in Roman times and more important than Lyon. It has some of the best preserved “Roman remains”: in the area. The modern city nestles along the side of the river and is overlooked by steep wooded slopes.

The city has a 3km “heritage walk leaflet”:
taking visitors round the most important sites. Armed with this, I set out to explore Vienne.

It is an attractive city with well laid out streets lined with shops and large houses, linked by narrow alleyways. Most of the buildings were built of stone in the C18th onwards, although the Pillory Housenext to the Gardens of Cybèle is C15th timber frame. The Hotel de Ville is a splendid C19th building, reflecting the importance of Vienne.

The Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology is in the C19th covered market hall.

Vienne has three very important early churches. The oldest church in the city and one of the oldest in France is “St Peter’s “: which dates from the C5th and housed most of the remains of the Bishops of Venne. In the Middle Ages, it was the most influential monastery in Vienne. It now houses the Archaeological Museum with an eclectic collection of Roman remains.

The “Church of St Andre-le-Bas “: was once part of a wealthy abbey founded in the C6th. The cloisters were built in the C12th. The west wall of the church was threatening to collapse and a building, the Heritage Hall was added to the front in an attempt to shore it up. This now houses a small exhibition on the urban development and heritage of Vienne. The east end has a typical Romanesque apse and tower.

The “”: dates from the C11th and has a Romanesque inside although the outside and particularly the west front is flamboyant Gothic. Near it, and built on the north side of the cloister is the C15th Chapel of St Theodore with its elaborately carved doorway.

The Church of St Andre-le-Haut (locked) is late C17th and next to the Old Jesuit College.

There is plenty to see in Vienne and it definitely repaid the morning exploring. The Roman remains are particularly impressive.

This was Day 4 of Burgundy, the River Rhone and Provence, a river cruise with Riviera Travel.

My full account with all the pictures can be found “here.”:


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