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

Caroline T. (19 months ago)
Nice for a quick visit if the cathedral and some restaurants close by. The place is very crowded and beware of pick pockets!! The locals tend to bring their own drinks and chill out (group of friends) by the hill while enjoying the view.
Kassandra Brandvold (20 months ago)
Beautiful, spectacular basilica. Free entry to see some of the most magnificent mosaics. You can also get a birds eye view of Lyon and the rivers below. A must see in Lyon!
Pippa Alldritt (20 months ago)
The walk up to The Basilica might be a good workout for some...but if it hasn’t killed you, then the reward of a view over Lyon is to die for. Do this on a good day and then take your time whilst you pour over the interiors of this gorgeous church.
Arthur Sneeden (21 months ago)
This is always worth the hike up, or you can take the tram up! 2 choices on direct to the Cathedral, or take the other route with 2 stops both are worthy of both stops. Best be known, it's a tall climb up, but very worthy of both routes down from the top.
Gemma Jordan Vlog (21 months ago)
This place blew my mind! I wasn't sure I was expecting it to be quite this beautiful! The exterior and the interior are stunning! There were signs telling us to not speak too loud which was nice because it added to the ambience the place was so peaceful! We weren't obliged to pay but you are advised to leave a donation at the end of the visit! Very beautiful if you are in Lyon I 100% recommend you visit here!
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