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
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Founded: 1872-1884
Category: Religious sites in France

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Van For Life (5 months ago)
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon its an amazing place to visit. The craftsmanship and level of details are fantastic. It was built with private funds between 1872 and 1896 in a dominant position overlooking the city. 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 that swept Europe in 1643.
Kronos G (5 months ago)
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon its an amazing place to visit. The craftsmanship and level of details are fantastic. It was built with private funds between 1872 and 1896 in a dominant position overlooking the city. 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 that swept Europe in 1643.
Susan Barnes (9 months ago)
Money, power, wealth.... Plenty to see and learn. Excellent viewpoint overlooking both the city and the two rivers. Funicular train is the best way up the hill - takes only 2 minutes.
S L (9 months ago)
The dome is an obvious and highest icon in the city center of Lyon. Near the dome, there is a wide square. You can have a wide and great view of the whole Lyon city. Even if the building styles of the city is just like the most of French cities, you can still enjoy the scenery and the ancient Rome theater heritage and museum near the dome.
Nicolò Rubacuori (10 months ago)
A majestic masterpiece of Baroque art dominating over the picturesque city. Although the lighting on the mosaics and decorations was unnervingly absent and you cannot get too close to the altar to appreciate it. Other places of worship use mirrors, binoculars or displays to catch the details and stories of the place, so it can stay in the visitors heart forever with a meaning. Not the best I have ever seen.
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