Fourvière

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Coordinates: 45°45′47″N 4°49′20″E / 45.76306°N 4.82222°E / 45.76306; 4.82222

The Golden Virgin, in the Basilica of Fourvière
The Tour Métallique de Fourvière, one of Lyon's most easily recognizable landmarks

Fourvière is a district of Lyon, France and also a hill immediately west of the old part of the town, rising abruptly from the river Saône and then gently sloping down to the north-west. It is the site of the original Roman settlement of Lugdunum (43 BC). Though it supports the world's two oldest and active funicular lines, it is primarily known for the Catholic Basilica of Fourvière. The inauguration of the golden statue of the Virgin Mary on the north-west tower is the origin of the famous 8 December Festival of Lights, when the citizens of Lyon display candles (lumignons) at their windows. This festival now attracts hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of Lyon every year. Fourvière contains many other religious buildings including convents, monasteries and chapels. It is known in Lyon as "the hill that prays". It is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site designated for the city of Lyon in 1998.[1]

Also on the Fourvière hill is La Tour Métallique which was privately built by the owners of the land to rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It forms the highest point in Lyon and is in fact higher than the Eiffel Tower at its summit, due to it being on a hill. It is now a television relay tower.

On the south side of Fourvière are the vast ruins of Roman Baths, partially intact ruins of a Roman Theatre (15 BC) and a 2nd Century Roman Odéon rediscovered in the 20th century and now home to a museum as well as a series of concerts and operas throughout the summer.

A double motorway tunnel passes under Fourvière, connecting the A6 autoroute (coming from Paris) and the A7 autoroute (coming from Marseille), both forming the "Autoroute du Soleil". Prior to the construction of the bypass of Lyon by the east, and with Lyon being virtually the only low passage between the Alps and the Massif Central (extinct) volcano range, the tunnel was famous for its traffic jams caused by a combination of local traffic, that of neighboring countries, as well as traffic between northern and southern France.

The hill is very fragile in places due to springs, underground streams, ancient tunnels and aqueducts, which have caused several subsidences in the past.

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