As I mentioned in an earlier post , that one on Église Saint-Georges, I’m really starting to become jaded when it comes to beautiful old European churches. Most of them are starting to look the same to me. Ho, hum. Here’s another one. The Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon.
The Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon is often referred as the Lyon Cathedral, although I’m not sure why. The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière is, to my mind, much more impressive and, therefore, should get top billing. Maybe it’s because Notre-Dame is located in the Fourvière district of Lyon, whereas the “Lyon Cathedral” is located in Vieux Lyon, the old part of Lyon. (“Vieux ” is French for “old,” but that’s also the official name of the district.)
In at least one regard, “Vieux Lyon” is a misnomer. The first Roman settlements in what was then called Lugdunum and now forms part of Lyon were up on the top of the hill in Fourvière, not in what’s now known as Vieux Lyon. That was settled later. However, with the exception of the excavated Gallo-Roman amphitheatres, most of that truly old Lyon, nee Lugdunum, is gone. The oldest remaining section of Lyon is Vieux Lyon, which will be the subject of my next post, hence the designation as Vieux Lyon.
Ho, hum. Another beautiful church. Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon.
Construction of the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon was started in the twelfth century and completed about 300 years later, in 1476. However, that was not the first church in that spot. The current church was built on the ruins of a sixth century church. It had been attacked, sacked and looted a few times over the years.
A prominent feature of the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon is an ornate clock resting on a plain stone pedestal. While the pedestal might be pedestrian, the rest of it is not. Above the clock is a well decorated crown, topped by what looked to me like a rooster, or at least a bird of some kind. The clock face is set in a stone base that is graced with carved figures.
The only problem with the clock is that it doesn’t work. Well, that is to say that it tells perfect time, but only twice a day. A guide told me that the plan is to restore the clock and get it working again in 2018. I think money issues were preventing them from doing it sooner.
As I said above, beautiful was, to my mind, an accurate, if not particularly helpful or riveting, word to describe the cathedral. To my eye, it had a beautiful interior space, beautiful ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows and beautiful paintings on the walls. In other words, when it comes to “old world” European churches, you know, same old, same old.