Approach To Lyons – Lyons – Mosaic Pavement

We began our journey into Italy in the beginning of June 1817, and left Paris on our way to Fontainebleau. It was a beautiful morning. The air had been rendered peculiarly mellow and refreshing by a severe storm the preceding evening; and a bright sunshine cheered us on our way, shedding its pleasing influence on the mind, and dispelling that undefined dejection of spirit, which with such powerful influence affects us at the outset of a long journey. Even in the brilliant hour of youthful hope, and gay anticipation, such a moment is not unclouded by some mixture of pain; the mind insensibly revolves the days that are past, and looks forward with a feeling of anxiety to those which are yet to come; but the spirit soon finds relief in the pleasing images, and the new stores of knowledge presented in travelling.

The road from Paris by Fontainebleau to Lyons has been so often described, that I shall state only the general features of the country to be such, as to render the epithet of ” fair and fertile France” well applied. The North and South of France are very different in appearance. The first, comparatively speaking, is vast and bleak; but, even at a short distance beyond Paris towards the South, the country becomes more pleasing and attractive. Trees of a larger growth, fine spreading oak, tall larches, pleasant valleys, and silvery rivers, vary the face of nature, and present a cheerful and luxuriant scene.

We reached the village of Macon, which is seated on the right bank of the river Saone, and, like Chalons, has its beauty confined to one view, early in the evening. The line of houses which forms the street; the quay, and the bridge, are handsome, as also the public walk which you traverse on leaving the town. Throughout France, in every little city, however inconsiderable, there is a shaded and well-sheltered public walk. This seems as indispensable as a cafe. These two lounging places are never empty, though they do not now perhaps present altogether the aspect they were wont to have. Formerly the French gaily danced away care, and laughed at poverty; but now, having become individually politicians, they are much more thoughtful and grave. The banks of the Saone, as the river widens after leaving Macon, become rich and beautiful, displaying an extended region of wood and meadow; while the eye, carried up the country, rests on the fresh green and varied forms of the sunny hills. On these hills grow the most precious wines of France, while the country is beautiful, rich, and fertile in every kind of produce; and still as we proceeded, new and pleasing views presented them-selves. On the opposite bank we beheld towns, castles, and convents rising in the distance; sometimes, seated on the summit of a gentle elevation, lay spread out the cheerful village, with its spires shining through the stately trees; sometimes, with picturesque effect, the white dwellings of the farmer shewed themselves on the rising bank, overhanging the broad clear stream below. The country, where we were travelling, expanded wide in low and somewhat marshy ground, but, enriched with fine green wood, always open, and presenting extensive stretches of champaign country.

At length we approached Mont d’Or. The river, running flat and still, opens wide as a lake, and seems to lie at the foot of this beautiful sloping hill. In this district I observed a peculiarity in the manner of building, from which its general appearance derives much beauty. Each gentleman’s seat, or farm-house, has a low running line of front, from some one point of which, in an irregular form, rises a higher building, bearing somewhat the aspect of a tower, and giving an antique cast to the dwelling; its lower parts are capt with that flat projecting roof, which everywhere strongly characterizes the architecture of southern countries. Through all this tract of rich and fertile plains, the horizon is bounded by the distant mountains of Switzerland; Savoy just opening to the eye like a long blue undulating line; and occasion-ally the summit of Mont-Blanc may be discerned, mingling its towering height with the clouds. As you ascend Mont d’Or, every step of your progress is marked by new and striking objects; and from its summit the prospect is most superb. To the west is seen all the wild and hilly country of Auvergne; to the south, the great chain of mountains, blue and splendid; and to the north, the fine valley of the Saone, and the high grounds around Autun. This valley, in which the view of the river is lost in its beautiful bend round the foot of Mont d’Or, extends for fifty miles; but still you see nothing of Lyons, to which you are approaching. At length, after a period of enjoyment and delight in surveying the surrounding scenery, we turned towards the valley below, and proceeded to descend a precipitous hill. But yet no token of this great capital appears; no smoke, no spires, no suburbs of clustering houses; but splendid-built villas of white stone in the best style of architecture, with cultivated fields, orchards, and gardens, adorn and enrich the slopes and hills. Another sweep of the river brings you upon the deep and rocky channel on which Lyons is seated, but still you see only a succession of villas of every varied and elegant form nor do you discover the city until you are actually on the level of the Saone. Few, I believe, conceive rightly the aspect of this singular place, once the centre of the Roman dominions in the north, now the most celebrated for manufactures, and lately distinguished by revolutionary scenes which disgraced human nature.

The ancient city of this name, founded forty-two years before the Christian era, lay high on the face of the hills, as is attested in the present day by relics of every kind. In the year 145, it was in one night burnt to the ground; but shortly afterwards rebuilt by a grant from the Emperor Nero. On that side of the hill where the city stood, near the site of the Forum built by Trajan, are found masses of melted metal, marbles, and other remains, which attest the calamity so pathetically described by Seneca. On the bronze tablets found here are inscribed portions of the harangue of Claudius before he became Emperor, imploring the Senate to grant to Lyons, his native city, the title of a Roman colony. Germanicus, Caracalla, and Marcus Aurelius, were born here. The father of St Ambrose was Prefect in this city; and the architect of the Tuilleries, Philip de 1’Orme, as also the architect of the admired church of St Genevieve in Paris, was a native of this place.

The entrance into Lyons gives no impression of the importance of the city, or any intimation of its real grandeur. You descend at once to the level of a road resembling a quarry, and formed by the passage of a river, the depth of which is apparently increased by the shadow of the rocks rising perpendicularly on either side. The road continues through a street of houses six or seven stories high, built against the rock. The continued height, the uniformity, and the architecture of this line, are imposing at a distance, and produce feelings which the beggarly and desolate appearance of the dwellings destroys on a nearer approach.

Proceeding along this gloomy range of buildings, the river lying deep in the channel below, you enter by a gate at which your passport is required; and there, is the first view of the many bridges of Lyons, and of the opposite side of the Saone. Here the channel of the river gradually expands, and a new light falls on its surface. A widened space presents to the eye a large town and finer buildings, but still bearing a uniformly gloomy aspect, till you arrive at the Prison and Courts of Justice. These are under one roof, and just beyond them, the magnificent Cathedral of St John, an ancient and dignified edifice, terminates the grand view. A splendid new bridge crosses the river, leading to a square, styled La Place de Belle Cour, being the most considerable in the city. As you cross Pont St Vincent, approaching from the north, you see, opposite to the cathedral, and lying low on the side of the Saone, 1’Eglise d’Ainey, interesting as the site of part of the old city. This church was raised on the ruins of an ancient temple, dedicated to Augustus by the people of Gaul. Stones, bearing Roman inscriptions, are in the front of the building, the most conspicuous part of which, is a tall shapeless tower of the oldest Gothic order, with ranges of little columns one above the other. Within the church are two granite columns of enormous size, nine feet in circumference, and originally twenty-six in height, but now cut across in the middle, one half set up to support the sanctuary, the other still lying on the ground. They are supposed to have stood in front of the original Temple, which had been of vast extent.

From the bridge you look back towards another great stone bridge, behind which rises a superb facade of antique houses, the whole presenting a coup-d’oeil still more imposing than the view of the old bridge of Paris, closed by the towers of Notre Dame.

This portion of the city is undistinguished by one fine mansion, and consists merely of streets of lofty buildings, which look well at a distance, but, on nearer inspection, are found to be only wretched neglected dwellings, the abodes of artificers, and of the poorest mechanics. I have traversed all the meaner parts of Lyons, looked into their crooked alleys and stair-cases;—examined what might be called hiding-places for revolutionary hordes;—and sought my way through dark courts, whose narrow stair-cases could emit hundreds of desperadoes, and have actually found these vomitories ready to pour them forth. On entering a silk or gold-wire-drawing manufactory, I have found naked walls, patched windows, and wide empty rooms, containing for furniture nothing but the spinning-looms, an earthen pitcher, some broken plates, and crooked spoons, with a few loaves of bad bread. The inmates of these wretched places, were commonly an old woman, and a crowd of half-idle lads, lamenting the fall of Buonaparte and the close of the military system, which, while lessening the number of competitors for bread, had increased the demand for silk, fringe, gold, and all the gaudy apparel suited to military splendour.

Much the finer portion of the city is that which lies beyond the Bridge. Here the great square opens; one side of it, adorned with trees, is low-built and ancient, and bears an antique cloistered aspect. The other is modern, and much after the Parisian style;-very high, but with little ornament, and of simple architecture:—here are situated the Governor’s residence, the Post-Office, and other official houses;—also two hotels for strangers, which we found, as we had been led to expect, very ex-pensive. The fourth side of the square is occupied by cafes, a few booksellers’ shops, scantily provided, and dress shops. Music-books, or jewellery, are not much in vogue in this Manchester of France.

The square next in size is la Place des Taureaux, where the Hotel de Ville is situated. This edifice is built after a design of Mausard. It is magnificent, but has some architectural faults. It is too high for its width, and ‘the courts are too long. The entrance is by a superb flight of low steps into the first court; and the view from that into the second, (also supported by arches,) having a flight of stairs terminated by a fine iron gate, which opens into the other side of the square, is very splendid. The different levels, courts, stairs, and vast halls, render it a noble building.

From the bridge which crosses the Rhone, the scene is very fine: and on the opposite bank all looks green and beautiful. The quay at this end of the bridge, be-gins with a noble embankment, in close steps from point to point, leading far down into the stream. The river is here occupied by mills constructed for the purposes of manufacture, on boats anchored in its rolling waters. This front of the city forms a great line of uniform buildings, comprising several public edifices. The first is just at the end of the bridge, the great Hotel Dieu, one of the most magnificent hospitals in Europe.

This building was founded above 1200 years ago, to-wards the middle of the sixth century, by Childebert, son of Clovis, and his wife, Queen of the Ostrogoths. The body of the building, which is of vast extent, is in the form of a Greek cross. The grand Infirmary is nearly 500 feet in length. In the centre of the cross a high al-tar is raised, commanding a view to the extremity of the most distant wards. In all the parts and offices of this institution—in its chemical hall, laboratory, apothecary’s shop, baths, washing-houses, and refectories—in its correct division of wards for fresh wounds—in the attention and skill displayed by its surgeons and physicians—it excels everything I have ever seen. There are two large and lofty apartments, styled chambers of the convalescent, the patients of which are received at meals in the refectory. This is an admirable arrangement. An order of nuns, 150 in number, perform the duty of nurses; they watch over and tend the sick, administer the medicines, and prepare the diet. Ten surgeons and the physicians attend the hospital, accompanied by their pupils.* The space and arrangements are sufficient to receive 3000 patients; their number now exceeds 1000.

Next to the Hotel Dieu, stands the Academy of Science, or Public Library; then the Banking-houses; and lastly, the Ball-rooms, surrounded by public gardens. The quay does not resemble that of commercial towns—here are no vessels, no lading and unlading, no bustle or confusion, no stairs. Lyons is a manufacturing, not a trading, city. The quay is merely a splendid stone embankment; the houses, a superb row or street—the river is a grand, wide, navigable, yet rural-looking stream; the opposite side low and beautifully green, studded with pretty villas—the mills anchored on this side are large and numerous, and give additional effect to the scene.

In 1760 the population of Lyons amounted to 160,000, and now there are no more than 100,000. The decrease is considerable, but the appearance of desolation is much greater than might be expected, considering that the number of inhabitants is still so respectable. Behind the splendid row of houses, which I have just described, betwixt the Quay du Rhone and the line of the Saone, lies the crowded part of the city; and here disorder and filth meet the eye in every quarter. Gloomy streets, crooked courts, ruins of monasteries, smoked walls, and patched windows, give the idea of inconceivable poverty and wretchedness. In all but its distant aspect, Lyons is a miserable. place its population, its trade, its riches, are all evidently fast declining—no chariots, no fine horses, no signs of luxury, no bustle or busy motion of carts or waggons is visible; but on every side are tokens of desolation and decay. To the thousands of sallow beings sitting at the loom, weaving silk, or drawing gold wire, nothing seemed to give animation but the suspense and agitation, awakened by the sounds of revolt.

The bridges form a considerable feature in the city—Lyons has eight bridges, six crossing the Saone, and two over the Rhone. The first is Pont St Vincent, a wooden bridge of three arches, built over the narrowest part of the Saone where its course was changed, and where the barracks are situated. The second, the Pont de Pierre, had been so named when it was the only stone bridge in the city; it has nine arches, and is nearly two hundred years older than the first bridge over the Rhone, being erected by Humbert, Archbishop of Lyons, in the eleventh century. It is built of large coarse stones, having a most venerable aspect, and exhibiting on its surface the true green rust of antiquity. At this spot there are numerous boats, and a greater life and action than in any other portion of the city. Here, also, there is a Nautical Academy, or school for swimming, arranged according to the French manner. I attended several practical lessons, which presented the drollest sight imaginable. The boats of the school are chained to the middle arch of the bridge, under which a tumultuous stream flows with a current too rapid to be stemmed by human strength. Into this, eight or ten men, the commonest fellows in Lyons, were thrown, with ropes about their bodies, and splashed and sprawled along a line of five yards, guided by the masters of the academy. The bridge is crowded at all hours with spectators to witness this scene. Many of the stones of this bridge, which had been taken from the hill above where the ancient city stood, bear Roman inscriptions.

The third bridge, Le Pont de l’Archevesque, which leads from the cathedral to the square, is modern and beautiful. It lies flat and even, with noble arches. The fourth, called Pont Volant, is a paltry wooden bridge. The fifth is Pont Maraud, which crosses the Rhone. It is built solidly of wood, is of great length and singular beauty, with every mechanical contrivance for exposing little surface to the currents of this rapid river, and flanked at each end with two stone towers. This noble bridge terminates with the view of splendid ball-rooms, and other elegant buildings; partly masked by fine trees; and leads to public gardens styled Promenade du Petit Bois, but more commonly Le Breton. Near these gar-dens, and hard by the river side, there is a green meadow, a place rendered memorable by circumstances of deep and touching interest. On this spot were massacred some of the wretched victims of the Revolution. The people of Lyons, with a just sensibility, have named it ” the Field of Sorrow,” Champ de la douleur.” A body of the citizens were carried forth to this place, conducted by the gendarmerie. In crossing the bridge they were counted over, and being found to exceed the allotted number by two persons, the commanding officer, Vallot, was informed of the circumstance, and was asked, whether the two should be saved?’ and in such a case which two? He replied, What matters it? who cares for two more or less? if they go to-day, they do not go to-morrow.’ They proceeded, therefore, and two hundred and ten men, accompanied by these two ill-fated beings, whom accident had involved in the massacre, were conducted to death. Their hands were tied behind them, and they were bound to a cable, passed from tree to tree, along a range of tall willows; the soldiers were drawn up in an opposite line, with two pieces of artillery. At the appointed signal, their limbs flew in every direction. Those whose arms were shot away fell from the cable, and rose and fled, pursued by the cavalry, who cut them down. Those who were wounded, but yet not re-leased from the cable, cried out to their butchers to finish their work; and they did so without delay with the bayonet and sabre. Their number was such as to render the work of butchery long and fatiguing; many were left breathing and palpitating in the agonies of death, and next morning many, still alive, were buried with the dead, by those who came out to pillage, and who threw lime upon them still quick and alive.” Such is the narrative of a Frenchman. Alas ! the French have many, very many such massacres to relate; blood which ages of peace and penitence will not wash away. We saw the spot where the trees had stood. They are now cut down, and re-placed by monumental stones, to the memory of those who perished.

The sixth bridge below this, and on the opposite side of the great square, is called Pont Guillotiere, as conducting to a suburb of that name. It is a magnificent stone bridge of twenty arches, and two hundred and sixty toises in length. It is coarsely causewayed, and rises very high a little beyond its centre, where it forms an obtuse angle, and is so constructed as to resist the pressure of the stream. It was in this part of the Rhone, that the fishermen found the shield on which the representation of Scipio Africanus was embossed; and here also it was that a memorable and tragical scene took place, resembling that which happened at the marriage of the late King, when Dauphin. On the 21st October, 1711, the whole people of Lyons passed over this superb bridge, on their way to a village, to celebrate le jour de Fete de St Denis de Bron. The soldiers on guard, anxious to meet the inhabitants on their return, in their eagerness for the moment of release, sounded the retreat before the appointed hour. The crowd forced its way onwards; two carriages on the bridge, one passing, and another returning, became entangled. The difficulties were only aggravated by the endeavours of the alarmed mob to separate them; and night coming on, added terror to the scene. In vain did the magistrates endeavour to appease the tumult, and restore order. Terror increased with every moment, and no less than 238 people perished.’ This awful catastrophe arose solely from the carelessness of one unfortunate wretch, Belair, the serjeant of the guards, who expiated, in a dreadful manner, his involuntary offence. He was carried to the place of public execution, and broken alive upon the wheel.

* The Nouveau Voyage de France (1750) says more than 400.

The seventh bridge is named Pont Avrarche. The portal, which is the most modern part, was built in the reign of Louis XI.

The eighth and last bridge is Pont Malatiere. This is the lowest bridge. It crosses the Saone at the place of its junction with the Rhone, in a sequestered and romantic spot of ground. The banks of the river are fringed with rich wood, thickly covering the face of the hill; while the stream, gradually narrowed by the intrusion of high rocks that hang over the deep and stony current, falls with impetuosity into the basin or pool below.

A little below this point, and beyond the present bounds of the city, a Roman Emperor formed the project of banking out the Rhone, with the view of extending the quay a mile and a half, by which he recovered a portion of ground, a peninsula of considerable length; and on this spot Buonaparte designed to build a palace. The inhabitants shew, with an air of triumph, the dimensions of this intended edifice, for which preparations had been made, and the ground cleared.

I have been thus particular in my description of Lyons, as it is a city so singular in itself, as powerfully to arrest the attention of the traveller, and to deserve especial notice. The interest, however, does not arise from its pictures, antiquities, or fine buildings; but from the approaches to it—from its coup d’ceil–its navigable river —and its importance in the internal economy of France.

In the time of the Romans, the splendour and riches of Lyons must have been very great. Of the magnificent aqueduct built by Mark Antony, there are still most interesting remains. The commerce of Lyons, while a Roman city, was very extensive; it was the centre of trade to sixty cities of Gaul, who subscribed to build a temple for Augustus. In this temple the Lyceum of Caligula was instituted, with the singular rule, that who-ever had the misfortune to produce a poor composition, should be condemned to the alternative of being thrown from the highest bridge into the river, or of expunging the work with his tongue.

On the hill above the city, at a little distance from Porte St Trenee, are the remains of the aqueduct which brought water from the river Furan; a distance of seven miles. Near the village of, St Foy and Chaponot, are to be seen still standing, several arches, curiously built, according to the manner of the Romans, with rubble of stone and mortar, and layers of brick. At a short distance from this ruin stands a Convent of Ursulines, formerly the site of baths, the remains of which are still very visible. From the lower cells of this Convent there are deep subterraneous vaults, the descent into which is by a long flight of dark and ruinous steps. The early Christians, in the times of persecution, had a church in this place, under the patronage of St Trenee, supposed to have been its founder. In the second century, in the reign of the Emperor Severus, there was a dreadful massacre of Christians; and they shew a vault, walled up, which is said to contain the bones of 2000 of these martyrs. The deep gloom—the profound silence that reigned around—the humid cold, and breathless chill, that was felt in this dreary repository of the dead, combined strongly to impress the imagination; and when we arose again into the brightness of day, the sun-beams were as light and life to the renovated spirit. The more ancient edifices of Lyons create interest from the cast and character which time bestows.

L’Eglise du Sanctuaire, built in the time of the crusades, and seated on the brow of the hill, seems, as it were, to hang over the city; while its ornamented dome of circular form, its bold projection, its walls darkened by the hue of many ages, its Gothic windows, and conspicuous position, form a character noble and interesting. The interior is vast; the nave, the side chapels, and the cross, are in good taste; but the decorations present only the paltry finery of that period; marble and stone, chiselled with toil and care, into curious and slender work, resembling Mechlin lace. Among its curiosities, there is a wretched and ludicrous German invention, a clock which has innumerable moving figures, and a cock that claps his wings with powerful resonance. The endowments of this church were once splendid; the canons had the title of Comtes de Lyons, and ranked with princes.

In a garden near 1’Eglise d’Ainey, belonging to a gentleman of the medical profession, an accidental excavation discovered several chambers with mosaic pavement. One of these, which is singularly entire and beautiful, represents, not only all the forms and ceremonies, but the accidents of a chariot race. The floor of the apartment is 14 feet long and 9 wide, edged by a rich border of the leaves of the acanthus. In the centre, in an oblong form, is represented a circus, in which are delineated the coursers, the charioteers, the attendants, the goal, and the seat of the umpires who adjudge the prize, as also various incidents inevitable in games of this nature. The ground is divided into two long courses, which are square at one end, and round at the other. At the opening of these are eight wooden barriers, from which the charioteers start; and in the centre, under a high canopy, sit the judges. A wall, separated from the arena by a deep fosse, surrounds the circus; and, in an amphitheatre rising from this, are placed the spectators. In the centre, between the going out and returning of the chariots, are the Delphines et Ova, with which they corrected the courses, and here, in an elevated situation, is seated the Erector Ovorum; f on the opposite side, fronting this, a pillar is erected, where a person stands bearing a branch of palm, with which to adorn the victorious horse. The competitors are distinguished by their liveries, red, blue, green, and yellow. The horses have cropt tails, after the manner of the English, and are chiefly of a reddish or flesh colour; but some are white, and others grey. Each chariot has four horses. The charioteers, in their barriers, stand ready with the reins in their hands, restraining the impatience of the steeds; when, at a signal given, the chains drop, and one broad line of chariots rushes on-wards to the centre, to outstrip, to head, or stop the others; and in the dexterity displayed by the charioteers to impede, entangle, or overturn their opponents, arises the interest and amusement of the spectators and the escaping from these disasters, ” Metaque fervidis evitata rotis,” marked the chief skill of the charioteer. The artist, in the representation of this course, has not spared to introduce many of the accidents which must occur in such a strife; the trumpets, the crash, and the spirit of the horses, maddened into fury, depict a scene of tumult, which is executed with consummate skill; and, indeed, the whole is expressed with singular effect.

In the very opening of the course, a charioteer is represented thrown to the ground, his horses falling, his chariot shattered to pieces. The chariots and charioteers are in grand style, the horses spirited, and full of fire. The fourth chariot is represented as if the horses had bolted from the course, and, in an attempt to leap the barriers, the charioteer, though thrown from his seat, and on the ground, seems in the act of raising his horses. To get a-head and obstruct the others, or, if headed, to grapple with and overturn the chariot of an adversary, was dexterous jockeyship. The pavement, though well preserved, has yet, in some few places, been destroyed. One injured part is the head of a horse, and it is remark-able that the head, with its nostrils, ears, and neck, is etched on stone, in the finest style, and with much character, on the space which was occupied by the Mosaic; from whence I conclude, that the outline was designed by a masterly hand, while the Mosaic itself, which has nothing of the spirit of this drawing, was committed to less skilful workmen. These designs are finely engraven by Monsieur Artaud, conservator of the Museum; but the pavement of Mosaic in the garden is carefully preserved.

In an ancient royal abbey, close by the Hotel de Ville, with large and splendid courts, surrounded by colonnades, the museum of natural history is placed, where there is a small but select collection of paintings, and the colonnade below contains many singular subjects of Eastern, and European antiquities found in the Roman provinces. The exchange is daily held there, in a low-vaulted, but superb chamber, of a most antique and melancholy cast. There are many churches in Lyons, but none fine, none rich or adorned with paintings. The public library is an elegant room, 150 feet long, and of beautiful proportions. Its fine range of windows commands a vast ex-tent of prospect over the opposite coast of Dauphiny, with the two bridges of the Rhone, and the distant line of hills bounded by the snow-capt Alps.

On leaving Lyons, we passed along the Pont de la Guillotiere, and looking back from thence on this beautiful city, we beheld the finest and fairest view in France. The Rhone, with its beautiful quays, fringed with stately trees, supporting as it were, and giving relief to a line of houses seven stories high, is seen sweeping round the city, and the effect of this view is heightened by the grand facade of the Hotel Dieu, with its noble dome. The range of hills on which once stood the ancient Roman city, with its baths, aqueducts, palaces, and temples, rises behind, and the prospect terminates in the distant view of Mont d’Or.

After proceeding through suburbs like those of Paris, you look onward to the course of the river, which now hastens to join the Saone, and, as far as the eye can reach, lies a flat country, covered with foliage and low green-wood, interspersed with hamlets and country-seats. We pursued our route through rich plains, and woods, and cultivated grounds. The Rhone, united with the Saone, runs rapidly towards the ocean. Lyons is here lost sight of, and the view before you is bounded by the distant mountains of Savoy. Every foot of the road is shaded with trees, which line its edge, while, on gentle acclivities, or lying deep in the hollows of the higher grounds, is seen the hamlet, or rural village, with the spires of churches and convents, mingling and rising from among the foliage and rich verdure, in which they are embosomed. From this high and wide-spread country, still bearing all the peculiar character of France, we descended into the small market town of Tour du Pin.