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AttractionsVienne France

Vienne France sits on the left bank of the Rhône River about 30 miles south of Lyon. Vienne's recorded history dates back to the third century AD when a Gaulish tribe, the Allobroges lived where Vienne now stands. After the Gallic wars Vienne became a Roman colony (this was coveted at the time as it this gave the residents of Vienne the same rights as Romans) thanks to Vienne siding with the winning Romans and strategic location. Vienne also was a residence of Roman emperors.

After the fall of Rome Vienne became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy. During this time Christianity flourished and a number of churches and monasteries on both sides of the Rhône River were built. In the 9th century Vienne became the capital of Provence until being absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire during the 11th century. This did not undermine the influence of Vienne as one of its archbishops; Gilsa de Bourgogne was elected Pope in 1119 and became Calixtus II. In 1450 Vienne became apart of France and thus was soon overtaken by Lyon in size and power.

The Roman influence on Vienne is easily spotted during a walk through the town center. There is the Roman Theater, the second biggest in France, today home to a yearly Jazz festival; a temple dedicated to the Rome cult Augustus, the ruins at Cybele Garden once a Roman neighborhood. Just across the Rhône River is one of the largest Gallo-Roman archaeological sites in France at Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Saint-Romain-en-Gal was once a neighborhood of Vienne.

Vienne also has a number of churches including a cathedral – Saint-Maurice and Saint-André-le-Bas once home to an abbey with 12th century cloisters.

The best view of Vienne and the Rhône River can be found atop Le Mont Pipet just above the Roman theater. Le Mont Pipet is one of the five hills surrounding Vienne. Another of the five hills Mount Soloman, to the north of Le Mont Pipet, is home to the ruins of the once a chateau La Bâtie.

Vienne can easily be visited in a day. My suggestion is to visit both the center of Vienne and Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Do one in the morning and the other in the afternoon to save your feet. As both require a good amount of walking. Free tourist guide of Vienne in English is available at the tourist center and Roman Theater.

Vienne Photo Album

Attractions in Vienne:
Video of Vienne
Temple of Augustus
Roman Theater
Roman Ruins in the Cybele Garden
Cathedral of St-Maurice

Related Links:
Ancient Vienne
Vienne France - Europe for Visitors

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