Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviére

Lyon, France

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière was built with private funds between 1872 and 1884 in a dominant position overlooking the city of Lyon. The basilica, which offers guided tours and contains a Museum of Sacred Art, receives 2 million visitors annually. At certain times, members of the public may access the basilica's north tower for a spectacular 180-degree view of Lyon and its suburbs. On a clear day, Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, can be seen in the distance.

The site it occupies was once the Roman forum of Trajan. Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to whom is attributed the salvation of the city of Lyon from the bubonic plague, the Black Death, that swept Europe in 1643.

The design of the basilica, by Pierre Bossan, draws from both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, two non-Gothic models that were unusual choices at the time. It has four main towers, and a belltower topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. It features fine mosaics, superb stained glass, and a crypt of Saint Joseph. Fourvière actually contains two churches, one on top of the other. The upper sanctuary is very ornate, while the lower is a much simpler design. Work on the triumphant basilica was begun in 1872 and finished in 1884. Finishing touches in the interior were not completed until as late as 1964.

Fourvière has always been a popular place of pilgrimage. There has been a shrine at Fourvière dedicated to Our Lady since 1170. The chapel and parts of the building have been rebuilt at different times over the centuries, the most recent major works being in 1852 when the former steeple was replaced by a tower surmounted by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary sculpted by Joseph-Hugues Fabisch (1812-1886).



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Place de Fourviére, Lyon, France
See all sites in Lyon


Founded: 1872-1884
Category: Religious sites in France


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

AW M (6 months ago)
Located in top of the hill. Definitely worth a visit. Also there is a treasury downstairs that should not be missed. From Lyon old Town, take the F2 funicular to the church. After the church you can walk down 5 minutes to the Roman ruins
Andrea Nori (6 months ago)
I think it is the most beautiful place of worship in Lyon and I think it is difficult to say otherwise. It is definitely a place that amazes externally and internally indeed and it can be seen from literally every corner of the city center of Lyon! It can be reached by funicular and from the hill you can enjoy a splendid view! Admission is free and it is possible to take photos.
panagiotis dimitrakopoulos (6 months ago)
Our Lady of Fourvière is an imposing church on the top of the hill with panoramic views of almost the entire city of Lyon. Inside, the rich decoration gives a grandeur to the temple that fixes you. I believe it is the most important attraction of the city without this meaning that this beautiful city does not have many hidden beauties for the traveler. Also for the climb to the hill I highly recommend the picturesque wagon with the cog railway.
Pongpisut Thakhampaeng (7 months ago)
The church is located up the hill of Lyon city, the view is spectacular. You can see almost all the building in Lyon. Also the church and art are beautiful both in and out. It is not crowded by the time I visited. It is easy to get here by train. Recommended to come as it must be the bucket-list for Lyon city!
Tomas Remotigue (9 months ago)
Beautiful inside and out. The funicular was closed so we hiked up and despite the heat it was a nice journey. Wish we'd researched the guided tour - after getting inside there was more I would have liked to see, including the view from the top. Even so, the plaza provided a great view of Lyon. Unfortunately we arrived late in the day and we couldn't get a table at any of the restaurants nearby, so we ended up walking back down to the old town for dinner. I'd suggest planning ahead or taking a taxi.
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