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Traveler Cholismo: how to discover Vienne step by step

Vienne is a sigh of good life, a French city that looks sideways from the highway that connects the Eiffel Tower with the Cote d'Azur, a wonderful urban craving on the leafy banks of the Rhone. Yes, his grace is that surprise factor, that blessed madness of alleys in which suddenly appear Roman monuments, presumptuous churches and gastronomic archeology. Snack by mouth, sip by sip, step by step (pure traveling Cholismo). There is no other way to meet her.


The only concession that Vienne gave to cars is the old highway that spoils the views from the Rhone. Nothing else. And is that this city, located just over 30 kilometers south of Lyon, it is still pedestrian, street and rogue territory. Therefore, when the sun comes from the lordship, the awnings and terraces flood the streets of a historic center with a squared plan but of anarchic, medieval and playful strokes. And in this tontorron and brewery walk suddenly, the Roman vestiges appear.

The most scandalous is that of the temple of Augustus and Livia, a portentous silhouette that emerges in the heart of the old forum and is the true nerve center of the city. This is the classic Roman religious building, with those fibrous columns that neither King Kong would tear down, its neglected pediment and its pagan altar. The interior was defenestrated by the Church, who turned it into a church for centuries. The arrival of the 19th century and the anti-clerical currents allowed its initial appearance to be recovered and any other evangelizing remains removed. And he returned his gallantry, his iconic magnetism and that disproportion that makes him a giant between the little houses and roofs of the Plaza du Palaise Charles de Gaulle. On this pilgrimage, you will cross Plaza Françoise Miterrand, the eastern boundary of the old forum and reach the Cibeles Garden, an archeological park where the walls of the small auditorium, the floors of a considerably large domus and the ribs of a small great arch that served as jubilant entrance to the great Forum. And already sculpted in the mountains that protect the monumental great theater from the river, the jewel in the crown, one of those scenarios for posterity from where you enjoy a fall in love and the merry play of the sun melting the roofs before saying goodbye. Here, during the summer, everything is ... (see last point).

Plaza du Palaise Charles de Gaulle, mandatory stop © Corbis


Both Roman remains on the east bank of the Rhone is just a prelude to the great site. Just across the river appears Saint Romain-en-Gal and its Gallo-Roman museum. Or what is the same, what remains of the expansion of the city and the domain (bridge through) of the valley and river trade. All condensed in a museum that, in 1996, surprised its own and strangers for its modern lines, its lighting and its way of exhibiting the archaeological pieces. With this method he manages to remove the dust and the yellowish tuffillo that this type of museums have and makes it attractive to all types of visitors. And yet the best is outside, since the metallic buildings serve to protect the excavations and the findings in a wide meadow. Apart from the classic roads and imagination exercises projecting buildings on nothing, the highlights are the latrines and their cleaning system. Eschatological tourism? Rather curious, surprising. The nth sign that progress has helped to have intimacy in 'those' moments. Even at the expense of socializing less.

Temple d'Auguste and Livie © Corbis


Otherwise, the city is not deprived of churches. In his day he had an important role as a boundary between the Holy Roman-Germanic Empire and old France, which gave him ínfulas as a city and bell towers of all styles. Of course it is not missing a gothic cathedral lady, dedicated to saint mauritius with one of those facades that are enjoyed to the counter and that knows how to pose for the photos. Ah! And with a bulky and colorful interior by the windows. Quick the view is surprised by the tower of the Church of St. Peter, one of the oldest in France (It has parts of the 5th century) whose maximum extension occurred in the 12th century, when its Romanesque bell tower became the skyscraper of Vienne. Today it is an amazing archaeological museum very peculiar (for its continent) and full of chiaroscuro, where the remains of Roman sculptures share a showcase with Catholic relics. By last Impress, for its beauty and delicacy, the 'lighthouse' of the abbey of Saint-André-le-Bas; a piece of Tuscan Romanesque that steals all the prominence of this beautiful monastic ensemble.

La Pyramide, a gastronomic reference © Corbis


If you continue with the search for Roman vestiges you will reach the amazing Pyramid, the monument that was located in the center of the old Roman circus. It's the only thing left of him, but it's a symbol ... foodie. And is that 'La Pyramide' lent its name to the cradle of the new French cuisine, the pioneer's restaurant, from the great Fernand Point, from the teacher of teachers. It is not in vain that it is the first restaurant to achieve the three Michelin stars in 1933 and its chefs tanned great chefs like Paul Bocuse. Today it is part of a very charming Relais & Chateaux in whose entrails the gastronomy continues to shine thanks to its new boss, chef Patrick Henriux, who has maintained the level of the letter and that has translated two deserved stars. But it also highlights the new wing, a space for all budgets called PH3 where food is served at all hours of the day with a chauvinist and respectable philosophy: in case of doubt, products from the region. Result.

And the wines could not be missing © Corbis


The intense relationship between Vienne and gastronomy is not only grounded in local products, but also in wine. And it is that Vienne, administratively, is the capital of Côte-Rôtie, one of the best wine regions on the banks of the Rhone. Here the wineries take it seriously, with wines of supreme quality thanks to a domesticated and educated Sirah to be the femme-fatale from palates around the world. And with prices adjusted to the result and its fame. Therefore, large wineries like Guigal or Duclaux do not open their doors to the general public, because they don't need wine tourism, not even for branding Not by affiliation. But nevertheless, Corps de Loup has not resisted teaching his Domaine, even for the pure pleasure of showing these vineyards and showing off. The experience is very enriching. You start by walking among the terraces on the slopes of the mountain, on land supported by stones that were moved by the Romans centuries ago. Then he enters the guts of the great house, where the wine is cured and the winemaking process is reviewed. And in the end, on the lovely porch that is woven Among the old buildings, you can enjoy tasting in the countryside where only a small mural with a devastating phrase breaks the liturgy: “React with patience" It seems that simple in Côte-Rôtie.

Vienne Cathedral, a wonder © Corbis


But in the month of July the Romans, wine and gastronomy go to the background. The city is infected with Jazz and the most monumental corners vibrate with trumpet solos and vocal improvisations. All Vienne dances in the gardens and squares, where amateur and semi-professional musicians scratch the most sincere applause of the summer. Professionals are cited in scenarios strategically located in the most emblematic corners. And of course, The epicenter is the great Roman Odeon, that theater with more than 13,000 spectators where Jazz evenings are non-stop and people come with cathartic and metamorphic cravings. The trance is not guaranteed. Good music, yes.

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- All articles by Javier Zori del Amo

Video: Vienna Vacation Travel Guide. Expedia (March 2020).

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