Many rivers flow through Europe, some of which have become synonymous with the cities they belong, like River Thames in London, Seine in Paris and Danube in Budapest, Vienna and across many other borders. Lyon is a city where 2 rivers, the Saône and Rhône, converge, making one of the city’s unique features.
Lyon is the third largest city in France after Paris and Marseille. My stay there was enjoyable and relaxing. Thanks to the beautiful weather, I got to enjoy a laidback afternoon just hanging around the city centre and the old town.
The city centre is located between the Saône and Rhône on a peninsula. There are many monuments and heritage. Its city hall (the upper left construction) is one of the oldest buildings in the city, and has been classified as a French historic monument since the 18th century. The Église Saint-Bonaventure (the bottom right church) is another distinctive medieval church well preserved.
Having seen the heart of Lyon, roaming along the Saône would lead to the Vieux Lyon (the old town), a famed Renaissance neighbourhood. The lanes and constructions were of a classic gothic style. There were many pleasant shops and restaurants worth checking out. From the old town we could walk up a long staircase to the Fourvière hill to see the landmark of Lyon, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. If you don’t want to climb the hill, you can take the metro. But the fantastic view along the climb was really worth it! As for the beauty of the basilica, that’s another story.
里昂是法國繼巴黎和馬賽後第三大城市，我的里昂之旅亦十分愉悅。因為陽光明媚，只在里昂的市中心和里昂老城（Vieux Lyon）閒逛已足夠賞心悅目。里昂的市中心位於索恩河和隆河匯流的半島上，此處有許多歷史建築和遺蹟，里昂市政廳（左上圖建築）便是里昂其中一座最古老的建築，於十八世紀起已被評為法國歷史古蹟。除了宏偉的市政廳外，此處的聖文德堂（Église Saint-Bonaventure）（右下圖教堂）是難得保存良好的中世紀教堂，值得一看。
逛完里昂的市中心，沿着索恩河岸走便會到達里昂老城，里昂最歷史悠久的地區，亦是歐洲知名文藝復興街區。街道和建築瀰漫着典型的哥德式風格，並有許多商店和餐廳值得一逛。從里昂老城有一條長石階可爬上富維耶山（Fourvière hill），知名的里昂地標富維耶聖母聖殿（Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière）就位於山上。如果不想爬山，也可乘搭地鐵，不過上山沿路景緻極佳，搭地鐵可能就要錯過了。幾經辛苦到了山頂，聖殿美得震撼人心，但關於它的美又是另一個故事了。
Speaking of Greece, people usually think about the blue and white backdrop of the breathtaking Santorini. But Crete is in fact the largest and most populous Greek island and in my opinion, a perfect getaway. My first stop on this island was its capital city, Heraklion.
Heraklion is a nostalgic city, full of historical heritage and old buildings. From museums, palaces, ruins, Lions Fountain to the distinctive yellow building style, it tells of the ancient history and culture of the Minoan civilisation, the very first advanced Bronze Age Civilisation in Europe. The civilisation dated back to around 2700 BC when Heraklion was the port of the centre of the civilisation, the Palace of Knossos. There are fascinating legends about the palace, one of which says King Minos, in Greek mythology the first king in Crete and son of Zeus, lived in the palace. The Minoan civilisation was named after him. It’s amazing how the Greek history is intertwined with mysterious legends.
Today the ruins of the palace remain on Kephala Hill. Through the frescos and remains we can learn more about one of the oldest and mysterious cultures on earth. A relaxing day like this in the old town marked the beginning of my trip in Crete.
The reasons why I chose Heraklion as a home base to explore Crete in Greece:
- There was a direct flight from Paris to Heraklion, and the hotel I stayed was only 15-minute drive away from the Heraklion Airport.
- The Heraklion Port is the main hub to take ferries to different islands near Crete including Santorini.
- Heraklion is located in the middle of the north coast of Crete, making it convenient to go either East or West to different destinations.
Read more or book: Hotels in Heraklion