Lyon, France Day 37

Today we went to the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere. It is a fairly new church (compared to some that I’ve already seen) having been built in the mid to late 1800’s, but it is by far one of the most beautiful. It has these mosaic scenes on the walls that are so spectacular that I knew my photos could never do them justice. It has high ceilings and beautiful carvings everywhere you look. A large golden statue of the Virgin Mary sits atop the basilica because the church is dedicated to her. Apparently she saved the city of Lyon from the Plague and the church was erected as a way to say thank you. Details are sketchy on exactly *how* the virgin saved Lyon, but that is their story and they’re sticking to it.
More lions!
The interior of this church was more colourful than most.
One of the mosaics. They were huge and really impressive. One of the mosaics told the story of Joan of Arc, who I have a fondness for.
Lovely, isn’t she?
This was the ceiling of the church in the lower level.
Next we went to La Maison des Canuts. It is a small museum dedicated to the silk industry of Lyon. A short history….In 1466 King Louis XI decided to set up a silk manufacturing workshop in Lyon. In 1540 Francois I, King of France granted Lyon a monopoly on silk manufacturing. By the end of Louis XIV reign in the early 1700’s, the country was poor and in war and the need for luxury fabric wasn’t there, so the industry started to slump. By the late 1700’s the number of people working in the industry was reduced by 90%, due to the French Revolution. The workers were either killed or fled the country. In 1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a mechanical loom (hence the fabric named Jacquard.) It was quite an interesting little museum, and I’m always in awe of what human beings have figured out by trial and error. I’d love to know just how the first people figured out that they could weave these minuscule threads from a worms cocoon to make the beautiful and strong fabric that we know as silk.

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2 Responses to Lyon, France Day 37

  1. Emily B. May 12, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    Now you’re speaking my language….a textile history museum! Yeah baby!

  2. Andrea June 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    It was really cool Emily! You would have loved it!

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