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

Karl T. (6 months ago)
Spectacular Basilica with its painted ceilings, domes and walls. It is really worth the visit. It has also a crypt where you can pray, learn about, and admire statues of the Virgin Mary from around the world. The Basilica is situated on the top of a hill that offers a impressive panoramic view of Lyon. It is a landmark not to miss.
Fabian Stoller (10 months ago)
The Fourviére is one if Lyon's great landmarjs. It can been seen from nearly the whole town. It us not mearly beautiful from the far but also a beautiful cultural heritage from close. Its inside is filled with huge wall paintings displaying the connection of the city to Saint Mary. The Plaza of the cathedral has a great view over the city that itself would be worth a visit. When In lyon this is obviulously a must go place!
Caroline Van Heghe (11 months ago)
Very lovely cathedral. If you want to do some sports you can go on foot, if not you can take the "funicular" which stops just in front of the cathedral. A place to visite, no doubt.
Keith Barnes (11 months ago)
Amazing Basilica. Not to be missed. Fantastic views from the esplanade. Nice cafe to left side (as you look at the main doors).
Peter Rosa (12 months ago)
Very interesting with huge amounts of details. Nice walk up the hill if you're on the fit side of things. Cool place around.
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