May 10, 2014 – Vienne

We are still having massive internet problems.The system has not connected more than a few seconds at a time since around 8 AM. I guess that I will have to get up at 4 AM again to see if I can get this posted.

Anyway started the day with a fabulous breakfast which I am not going to describe now since tomorrow when we have it again I will bring my camera.

Today’s activities are to do the Vienne walking tour and have dinner at La Pyramide’s fancy restaurant. We start by walking to the tourist information office and past the pyramid whence the hotel and restaurant gets its name.

The Roman pyramid just outside our hotel
The Roman pyramid just outside our hotel

The pyramid was built during the reign of Augustus and was the centerpiece of a stadium. Apparently the Romans were having an Egyptian decor period and designed this little pyramid after the ones in Egypt. And now here it is stands in the middle of a side street almost 2000 years later.

Picking up our brochure for the walking tour we head through downtown Vienne which is bustling with a massive market day. There are clothes and books and vegetables and you name it being sold on the streets of Vienne. It’s very busy with a multi-ethnic crowd. We struggle our way through to the historical sites.

Market day in Vienne
Market day in Vienne

There are a lot of Roman ruins in Vienne which was an important Roman outpost being at the confluence of the Rhone and Gere Rivers. In Vienne you can see Roman ruins next to medieval half timbered houses next to Renaissance buildings and then modern buildings. We view the Roman Gardens of Cybele, the giant outdoor theatre, and the temple of Augustus and Livia on our walk today. All have been damaged to some extent as more modern Viennois sought building materials from the temples and theater or pulled down antiquities in the name of religion.
Half timbered house with Roman ruins in the background
Half timbered house with Roman ruins in the background

Gardens of Cybele
Gardens of Cybele

John expounds in the Roman theater
John expounds in the Roman theater

The Temple of Augustus and Livia
The Temple of Augustus and Livia

John and I have been walking and climbing for about two hours so it is time for a little refreshment at a sidewalk cafe.
The pause that refreshes
A break that refreshes

Then it’s back on the walking trail to look at some old churches. We take a closer look at the Cathedral of St. Maurice. John likes to call these Frankenchurches because they start out as Romanesque and then someone decides to put a new Gothic front on and whitewash the frescoes and this is followed by some Renaissance elements etc. The Gothic front of St. Maurice is pretty ugly but there are some interesting details inside – a carved zodiac, a 13th century carving of the dinner at Emmaus.

Cathedral of Saint Maurice
Cathedral of Saint Maurice

Carving of the dinner at Emmaus (very detailed feet)
Carving of the dinner at Emmaus (very detailed feet)

We’ve come to the end of the walking tour but still have a long walk back to the hotel. Vienne itself has gone from bustling market day in the morning to a ghost town this afternoon. I wonder what they are all doing. Reaching our hotel it is time for relaxing before dinner tonight. We are skipping lunch to prepare for the sumptuous meal. Since I have been up since 4 AM, I promptly nap for quite a while.

The dinner at HenriRoux La Pyramide does not disappoint. Since it is 5:30 AM and John is still asleep, I don’t have access to his brain for all that we ate. But I do have pretty pictures –


P.S. John is now awake and fills in the details

Dinner takes over two hours and even though the portions are very small, we are very full and look forward to a long night’s sleep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.