Lyons – France And The Netherlands

I take this opportunity to tell you that we are at the ancient and celebrated Lugdunum, a city situated upon the confluence of the Rhone and Saone (Arar, I should say) two people, who tho of tempers extremely unlike, think fit to join hands here, and make a little party to travel to the Mediterranean in company; the lady comes gliding along through the fruitful plains of Burgundy. . . the gentleman runs all rough and roaring down from the mountains of Switzerland to meet her; and with all her soft airs she likes him never the worse; she goes through the middle of the city in state, and he passes incog, without the walls, but waits for her a little below.

The houses here are so high, and the streets so narrow, as would be sufficient to render Lyons the dismalest place in the world, but the number of people, and the face of commerce diffused about it, are, at least, as sufficient to make it the liveliest : between these two sufficiencies, you will be in doubt what to think of it; so we shall leave the city, and proceed to its environs, which are beautiful beyond expression; it is surrounded with mountains, and those mountains all bedropped and bespeckled with houses, gardens, and plantations of the rich bourgeois, who have from thence a prospect of the city in the vale below on one hand, on the other the rich plains of the Lyonnois, with the rivers winding among them, and the Alps, with the mountains of Dauphine, to bound the view.

All yesterday morning we were busied in climbing up Mount Fourviere, where the ancient city stood perched at such a height, that nothing but the hopes of gain could certainly ever persuade their neighbors to pay them a visit. Here are the ruins of the emperors’ palaces, that resided here, that is to say, Augustus and Severus; they consist in nothing but great masses of old wall, that have only their quality to make them respected. In a vineyard of the Minims are remains of a theater; the Fathers, whom they belong to, hold them in no esteem at all, and would have showed us their sacristy and chapel instead of them. The Ursuline Nuns have in their garden some Roman baths, but we having the misfortune to be men, they did not think proper to admit us.

Hard by are eight arches of a most magnificent aqueduct, said to be erected by Antony, when his legions were quartered here. There are many other parts of it dispersed up and down the country, for it brought the water from a river many leagues off in La Forez. Here are remains too of Agrippa’s seven great roads which met at Lyons; in some places they lie twelve feet deep in the ground.