The amphitheater here in Lyon is not perhaps quite as famous as the one in Rome, nor is it as complete as, say, the theaters of Nimes or Arles or any of the others. Regardless, one must admit that it’s pretty fascinating that remnants from more than 2000 years ago not only still exist in Europe today–but are still in use! Lyon’s half-ruined amphitheater located at the top of the hill of Fourvière is still used to host ‘Les Nuits a Fourvière‘ (Nights in Fourvière) every summer, where concerts and other events take place nearly every night. Though partially reconstructed, one can still walk through this ancient structure which in part, dates back to 15 BC (the second stage having been completed during the 2nd century). Ruins or not, sitting down in a 2000-year-old amphitheater is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine!
Walking in downtown Lyon, you’ll first find Place Bellecour, the largest open-air square in Europe (as in, the largest without obstructions in the middle of it). You’ll see Fourvière at the top on the hill—that impressive cathedral that sits next to the Roman amphitheater of the same name. If you wander a bit more, you might spot a strange plastic tree made out of colourful flowers the size of tires on Antonin Poncet Square that looks like it belongs to Dr. Seuss. Designed by the Korean Jeong-Hwa Choi, it was for the 7th biennial festival of Contemporary Art in Lyon called “It Happened Tomorrow” (2003—2004). “Flower Tree” became so popular that the city of Lyon decided to plant it permanently by the banks of the Rhône. Interestingly enough, it seems to have a twin in Shanghai on Gubei Road. People didn’t originally like it, but, as with most contemporary art, they grew to appreciate it over time.