The Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica is a small basilica in Lyon, France. Between 1872 and 1896, it was built with private funds at a commanding site overlooking the city. The location it now occupies was previously Trajan's Roman forum, the forum vetus (old forum), hence its name, which is an inverted translation of the French Vieux-Forum.
The majestic white Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, also known as the upside-down elephant by locals, is on the top of Fourvière hill, called the 'prayer hill,' in Lyon's 5th district, where the world of Catholics meets remains of Ancient Rome.
Fourvière has become a symbol of Lyon, attracting over 2 million people every year from its prominent location looming over the city below with numerous vantage points. Fourvière basilica, designed by Pierre Bossan, draws inspiration from both Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, two non-Gothic types that were rare at the time. It's two churches stacked on top of each other.
The church, like the Sacré Coeur of Montmartre in Paris, was built with private contributions between 1872 and 1884. These were both triumphalist monuments created to honor God for the victory over the socialists in the historic Communes, as well as symbols erected to root out modern France's crimes.
The Fourvière Basilica, which has exquisite mosaics, beautiful stained glass, and a crypt of Saint Joseph, is a spectacular landmark to visit in Lyon, and the view from the esplanade is breathtaking. The Virgin Mary, Saint Thomas Chapel, the aforementioned magnificent esplanade, the monument of the archangel Saint Michael, and the lovely Rosary Garden are all part of the basilica complex.
Notre Dame de Fourvière is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is supposed to have protected Lyon from the Black Death in 1643. Lyon celebrates the Virgin every year on December 8th by lighting candles throughout the city and illuminating walls and buildings in an LED spectacle.
It's named Fête des Lumières or the Festival of Lights, and despite its religious roots, it's become a must-see international event. The gilded Virgin Mary rests atop Fourvière's bell tower, warding off other undesirables from Lyon.
8 Place de Fourviere, 69005, Lyon, France