Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon (must see)

You may be forgiven to think that the Basilique de Fourvière is the most important church in Lyon, considering its elevated, eye-catching position on top of the eponymous hill, some hundreds of meters above the River Saône.

The church stands on the site of a Roman forum of Trajan and an early Christian temple, and was built in 1872 by Pierre-Marie Bossan showing an unusual departure from the then fashionable Gothic style towards a mixed Romanesque-Byzantine appearance.

Funded privately by the nobles of Lyon, the temple was built in white stone with crenelated walls and four main towers. A gilded statue of Virgin Mary tops the bell tower.

In fact, there are two churches there, standing one on top of the other. It is only when you learn that the church was built and decorated to show off Catholic wealth after France’s humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, that you start to realize that everything there is a slightly over-the-top. But never you mind, just forget the past and enjoy the beauty of the present.

The interior is quite simply breathtaking, with magnificent wall frescoes, elaborate mosaics on the upper arches and the ceiling, marble statues and beautiful stained glass windows. The crypt of Saint Joseph is as beautifully decorated as the rest of the building.

Between the church and the adjoining Chapel of the Virgin is a terrace that affords great views of the city, but if you want to see Lyon in all its splendor, there is an observatory on top of the north-east tower, with only 297 steps to climb!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lyon. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière on Map

Sight Name: Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Sight Location: Lyon, France (See walking tours in Lyon)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Lyon, France

Create Your Own Walk in Lyon

Create Your Own Walk in Lyon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lyon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Lyon's beautiful religious buildings showcase the richness of the city's culture and architecture. All the churches on this tour date back centuries and capture the architectural style popular at the time when they were built. Take this self-guided tour to discover the best-known and the most beautiful religious buildings in Lyon.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Lyon's Architectural Landmarks

Lyon's Architectural Landmarks

Founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C., over the course of the past millennium Lyon played a major role in the political, cultural and economic development of Europe. The city's long history is clearly imprinted in its urban fabric, manifested in numerous buildings of various epochs and styles. To explore some of Lyon's most notable architectural landmarks, embark on this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Lyon Introduction Walking Tour

Lyon Introduction Walking Tour

The city of Lyon – capital of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region – has been around for 2,000 years, sitting at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Established in 43 BC as a settlement for Roman refugees of war, it was also the capital of the Gauls at the time of the Roman Empire; two Emperors – Claudius and Caracalla – were born here. Due to its foundation on the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Food Tour in Lyon

Food Tour in Lyon

In addition to its architectural beauty, Lyon is also known as the food capital of France. An ideal place to discover French cuisine and to fall in love with it, there is no shortage of addresses in Lyon to stock up on quality and delicious products, be it the Halles de Lyon market or the Georges Reynon charcuterie, to mention but a few. If you want to treat your taste buds to something truly...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Gastronomic Delights: 10 Places to Buy Great Food in Lyon, France

Gastronomic Delights: 10 Places to Buy Great Food in Lyon, France

The city of Lyon is famous for its contribution to the culinary arts. Here food lovers will find hundreds of specialty shops throughout the city offering some of the world's finest and award-winning products fit to delight any epicurean palate. Let your taste buds lead you on this voyage into...