Vis pour voyager et voyager pir vivre
Live to travel and travel to live
A city with its existence noted since early Antiquity (8th century BC), which served as the capital of Allobroges and Gallic tribes, became a Roman Colony under Julius Cesar, situated at the confluence of Rhone & Gere, surrounded closely by Massif Central Mountain range and with Pilat mountain range at distance cannot be anything less than ‘grand’!
Welcome to Grand Vienne which is located 35km south of Lyon where a grand treat of historical wonders awaits.
The first to meet and greet us is a very young, about 160+ years old Vienne railway station which was first built in 1855. A ton and sixty plus and young? Am I kidding? For sure not. As we explore the city, 160+years old will stand out as one of the young!
At the exit of the first platform, there is a grand mural listing the names of the soldiers from Vienne city who laid their lives fighting for France in the 1st World War. The sheer size of the mural and its noble cause makes you stop in your path and bow your head in reverence. This city never lets you forget its heroes*. And there is an obelisk right at the centre of the square opposite Gare de Vienne to commemorate the sone of the soil, the martyrs from Vienne, from various wars.
A casual stroll around the city offers views of narrow lanes dotted on both sides by the buildings with gothic or belle epoque facades giving a hint of their ripe age. Wandering through alleys, one can reach several historic sites in no time.
Temple d’Auguste et de Livie (Temple of Augustus & Livie)
Standing tall with pride at Place du Palais Charles de Gaulle is the Temple of Augustus and Livia from the 1st century BC. Augustus was a great Roman Emperor and Livie was his 3rd wife. Like every other religious centre across the globe, this temple was built by Romans as a political and religious place to integrate locals.
What could be the secret of its longevity, one is bound to wonder. As it was converted into a church as early as the 5th century and later restored in the 19th century, it remains preserved to date.
Cut to the present, the open terraces of the restaurants overflowing with people relishing meals or enjoying a drink give the temple lively company. One can observe its grand stature from the railing around it.
Maison du Pilori
At the end of the middle ages (5th – 15th century), there stood a house (Maison du Pilori) with hospice to its south, the wheat market on its west, and next to Pillori square. The criminals convicted and sentenced by the law of the land were brought and punished here. Around the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th, the building gave way to a road to be built, thus exposing its half-timbered frame. It has a spiral staircase tower with windows all around that provide a view of the surrounding rooftops. As of today, weathering centuries, it stands silently in the same place.
Saturdays in Vienne are special as the city plays host to France’s 2nd largest Market in the city centre. It’s a gourmet’s paradise with stalls laid side by side and lining up to 5km. Hundreds of local producers, street vendors, and other hawkers vie for loosening the strings of your purse.
Let’s call it a day today and meet tomorrow again to discover some more gems from the ‘Grand’ city of Vienne.
Click here to enjoy glimpses of the day’s exploration.
Click here for posts so far in the “Exploring l’Hexagone” series