We rode by Pont Charu to Lyons, which being but six leagues we soon accomplished, having made eighty-five leagues from Tours in seven days. Here at the Golden Lion, rue de Flandre1 known as , I met divers of my acquaintance, who, coming from Paris, were designed for Italy. We lost no time in seeing the city, because of being ready to accompany these gentlemen in their journey. Lyons is excellently situated on the confluence of the rivers Soane and Rhone, which wash the walls of the city in a very rapid stream; each of these has its bridge; that over the Rhone consists of twenty-eight arches.

“Lyon” by Matthäus Merian. About 1650. Source: libreriaperini.com

The two high cliffs, called St. Just and St. Sebastian, are very stately; on one of them stands a strong fort, garrisoned. We visited the cathedral, St. Jean, where was one of the fairest clocks for art and busy invention I had ever seen2. The fabric of the church is gothic, as are likewise those of St. Etienne and St. Croix. From the top of one of the towers of St. Jean (for it has four) we beheld the whole city and country, with a prospect reaching to the Alps, many leagues distant. The Archbishop’s palace is fairly built.

“Lyon. Saint-Nizier” by Théodore de Jolimont. Circia 1800. Source: BnF

The church of St. Nisier is the greatest; that of the Jacobins is well built. Here are divers other fine churches and very noble buildings we had not time to visit, only that of the Charité, or great hospital for poor, infirm people, entertaining about 1,500 souls, with a school, granary, gardens, and all conveniences, maintained at a wonderful expense, worthy seeing. The place of the Belle Cour is very spacious, observable for the view it affords, so various and agreeable, of hills, rocks, vineyards, gardens, precipices, and other extravagant and incomparable advantages presenting themselves together. The Pall Mall is set with fair trees. In fine, this stately, clean, and noble city, built all of stone, abounds in persons of quality and rich merchants: those of Florence obtaining great privileges above the rest. In the Town-house3 they show two tables of brass, on which is engraven Claudius’s speech, pronounced to the Senate4, concerning the franchising of the town, with the Roman privileges. There are also other antiquities.


  1. the rue de Flandre was destroyed in the 18th century to make way for the Quai de Bondy – GS 

  2. By Nicholas Lippeus of Basle, 1508, much like that of Strasburg. –AD 

  3. Building of the Town-house or Hôtel de Ville was not started until 1645.  Perhaps an example of John Evelyn relying on travel guides whilst compiling diary entries year later. -GS 

  4. When Censor, a.d. 48. Claudius was born at Lyons. The Bronze Tables were discovered in 1528, on the heights of St. Sebastian. –AD. Also known as the The Lyons Tablet – GS