The city of Lyon has always been enshrined in light…
This idea is already ingrained on people’s mind with the very famous Festival of Lights, but it was all the more so since the “Plan lumière” was implemented by the municipality in 1989, and it shows the monuments of the city adorned with somptuous chromatic shades and warm colour gradients.
Walking around it at night or in the evening invites us to discover a brand new aspect, after eating your full in one of the many bouchons of the Old Town, or as you go about quenching your thirst in the Martinière District before holing up in the countless cocktail and beer bars of the Croix-Rousse slopes.
Night is, as you may imagine, the time when the most exalted human passions take their mightiest expression. Masks fall apart to give way to the most disturbing, crazy and unsuspected transgressions of our mind.
Lyon, within its entrails woven in secret passageways and numerous bas-reliefs sculpted in a never-ending Renaissance-style bestiary, seems to hide away secrets which have been buried for at least 2 000 years, and which unfortunately emerged back again in the Capital of the Gauls.
The church of Saint George shows us the way to the heights of Lyon where madness took quite a dramatic turn in the 19th and 20th centuries.
You may feel very narrow, and above all observed, in this dimly-lit winding slope of the Gourguillon…
The local folklore, even if we tend not to speak about it in order to reassure our rationalist apetites, re-emerges in a weird way, in front of old convent doors, at the bend of small alleys plunged into darkness.
The cobblestones lead us to the Theatre of the Celestins which englightens us with its most beautiful Renaissance-style façade, but which was soiled by an almost mystical if not lewd quest for blood.
The hill of Fourvière offers its most stunning panorama over the Saône, this lazy river which separates this medieval and Renaissance gem of the Old Town from the bourgeois and merchant-run Peninsula. The history of the mystical foundation of the city takes a lot more sense when the blue and golden halos cover the Basilica of Fourvière as well the Courthouse.
But once again, the shadows are never very far, so the sun reminds us as he sets down upon the hill, warning us about the vile night beasts waiting at the doorsteps of the city.
Vile night beasts? Lyon knows them well, since it even bore them in its womb and had them carved in the stone. About that, the Cathedral of Saint John shall speak of it better than anyone.
Still not having enough? Between sacrifices given to the old gods and apparitions of supernatural beings seeming to come from another dimension, the cobblestoned streets guide us through centuries by magic, right up to a place of ancient swamps and mists smelling of spirits of the purgatory, the Square of Terreaux.
Plunge into the darkness of Lyon by opting for a Dark Tales of Lyon visit, after a good bouchon of course!