Friday, March 19, 2010

Cobbled Streets

Now, I have already posted about my new apartment. It is beautiful. And Old Lyon surpises me everyday, when I go for my stroll in the narrow, crooked streets.

A few days ago, I came across a relatively new inscription over one of the (numerous) Irish pubs on Rue Saint-Georges. It was commemorating a member of the French resistance who was captured there in 1943 and sent to her death at Ravensbruck concentration camp. Its amazing how much history happened right on my street! (well, not on my street, technically, I live on another street, but the back door to my apartment goes out on Rue St Georges)

Another day, I stopped to read about the history of the St Georges church. It's the church closest to my house, yet I've never been there, I've only visited the St Jean Cathedral, a few blocks further down. I discovered that, although St Georges was built in the mid 19th Century, in the Gothic-revival style, it was built on the old foundations of a church built in the time of Charlemagne!

Even further into the heart of Vieux Lyon, I discovered a house which was built in 1635, less than 5 minutes from my place. Another one, in the 1400's. There are houses here from before Columbus' discovery of the New World (and subsequent invasion, colonisation and destruction of native cultures - but we'll save that post for another time).

About 15 minutes from here, there is the Rue Juiverie, named so in memory of the Jews that were forcably exiled from France by Charles VI in 1394, altohugh the street had been inhabited since the 5th century. The signs about buildings that now house modern art galleries and restaurants commemorate the dates when the buildings were taken from their Jewish owners and settled by wealthy French traders, businessmen and bankers. On this streets, there used to be jousting tournaments, and Nostradamus lived here too!

I could go on and on. But this is just amazing. Like, the Rue du Boeuf was constructed in the 3rd Century...

It's just unbelievable. There are courtyards and turrets that remind me of times of dragons and princesses and knights in shining armour.

However, not all the history is all that interesting. While admiring a small little alley yesterday, I discovered it used to be an open sewer... charming.

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