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03 August 2011

With the Gallo Romans in Lyon

We spent a very enjoyable day at Lyon – exploring the Gallo Roman area and museum. Lyon was settled by the Romans about 43BC, where they built many beautiful villas, arenas for gladiatorial fighting, debating, and for the circus. Under the Romans it was called Lugdunum. Roman veterans from the 5th Legion settled at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône.
There are many traces of the Romans still around Lyon, and many great examples of these traces are contained in the Gallo-Roman museum at Fourvière.

What a position high up overlooking the river and island between the two rivers. Gauls from a Celtic tribe were settled along the river banks and there was a great deal of trading between merchants. The river was used as a highway, and boat Captains were important. Apparently Caesar Augustus appointed his son in law, Agrippa, with the creation of the road network around the town.

There are wonderful mosaics preserved in the museum depicting scenes from the day to day life of the Romans. Originally they would have been on the floors of their houses. The huge open air amphi-theatres or forums, could seat 30,000 spectators, and in another one,10,000.

After an exhausting and thrilling morning in the museum, we walked down steep stone stairs to the old town and had a delicious lunch, before returning home.

Early in the week we had a visit from Richard and Beth Payne who are travelling around France in a very luxurious motor home. It was quite tricky getting it into our courtyard. A very pleasant visit indeed, including a lunch at Berzé la Ville looking over the vineyards.

Alain will come for his English lesson soon and we are expecting more visitors tomorrow, should be fun.

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