Lyon Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste Oldest astronomical clock in France.

リヨン・サンジャン大教会 Lyon
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Lyon Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste is famous for its beautiful stained-glass windows and the oldest astronomical clock in France.

Lyon The Old Town, where the Lyon Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, is a World Heritage Site and can be enjoyed in combination with its surroundings.

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Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Practical information

Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Address:Place Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon, France

Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday 08:00~19:00 Monday to Friday 08:15~19:45

Closed: 1 Jan, 1 May, 8 May, 14 July, 11 Nov.

the time required

There is a lot to see, but the church itself is not very large.

Even if you look at it slowly, you should only need about 40 minutes.

If you look at it quickly, you can look around for half an hour, and even if you look at it quite slowly, an hour is enough time to see it all.

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It is dedicated to St Jean-Baptiste, cousin of Jesus, prophet and martyr.

Construction began in 1175 and was completed in 1480.

It took almost 300 years to complete the church.

During construction, the ground was poor due to its proximity to the Saône River and frequent accidents occurred.

1245: First Council of Lyon held.

1271: reception of the remains of St Louis, who died in Tunis.

1316: Coronation of Pope John XXII.

1395: an 8 m diameter rose window was made by Jacques de Vosges.

1562: part of the church is destroyed by Calvinist troops.

1598: an astronomical clock is built by Nicolas Lippius. Bells ring at 12, 14, 15 and 16 o’clock.

1600: Marriage of Henri IV and Marie de Medicis.

1622: The bell is cast. It is said to weigh approximately 8-9 tonnes.

1805: Napoléon I and Josephine received by the emperor’s uncle, Cardinal Fesch.

1842: organ purchased by Cardinal de Bonald.

The cathedral is 79 metres long, 26 metres wide and 32 metres high (main arch).


Exterior view of Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The cathedral is very majestic when viewed from Saint-Jean Square.

The western façade is in classical Gothic style, with three portals.

Exterior view of Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The rose window is a distinctive feature.

La fontaine Saint-Jean, a Renaissance fountain.

In Place Saint-Jean, there is a Renaissance-style fountain called La fontaine Saint-Jean.

1844 Built by a Lyon architect named René Dardel (1796-1871).

The statues in the fountain were sculpted by Jean-Marie Bonnassieux (1810-1892) and decorated by Félix Bernasconi.

Sculpture in the fountain.

It is produced on the theme of “St John baptising Christ.”

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Stained glass

Interior view of Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The interior of the Great Church of Saint-Jean is rather simple.

However, as it is a historic church, there are a number of works of historical value.

If you go through them one by one, it may take you longer than you think.

Among the many works, we would like to introduce a few that we would like you to visit.

Stained glass in the back altar.

The back altar at the front is lit by stained glass, enhancing its beauty.

Stained glass called lancette.

The stained glass below, with a pointed arch at the top, is called a lancette.

This design is found in early Gothic architecture.

The lancet appears to be only five pieces in the picture, but in fact there are seven pieces in total, depicted in the following themes, starting from the left.

  • Stephen’s apostolate.
  • Christ’s childhood
  • Resurrection of Lazarus
  • Rédemption (Redemption)
  • Life of Jean-Baptiste (John)
  • Apostle Jean
  • Cyprian
The rose window at the top of the transept.

The rose window at the top of the transept.

The transept is the part of the wing nave. (This includes the part of the nave that intersects it.)

Rose window.

The rose window, said to have been completed in 1395, has eight different stained glass windows depicting the lives of Saint Jean-Baptiste and Saint Étienne.


The ceiling is structured in six sections.

The light pouring through the stained glass is gentle.

Stained glass.

Created in 1846 by Louis Gugnon and Charles Maréchal.

Enlarged stained glass.
 Work produced by Brigitte Simon.

This stained glass window was created by Brigitte Simon.

Stained glass restored by Jean-Jacques Grüber.

Stained glass restored by Jean-Jacques Grüber.

Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Rose window from the 13th century.

It depicts scenes from the Old Testament.

Stained glass depicting the life of Christ.

Stained glass depicting the life of Christ.

Beautiful stained glass.


Paintings inside the church.

There are many religious paintings on display in the church.

A variety of works, from famous painters to works of great religious value, are on display, so be sure to pay attention to these when visiting the church.

Paintings inside the church.
Paintings inside the church.
Paintings inside the church.

Lyon Astronomical clock

Lyon Astronomical clock

L’horloge astronomique

The astronomical clock, installed in 1379, is one of the oldest in Europe.

Its current size is 2.2 metres wide and 9.35 metres high.

Astronomical clocks, like ordinary clocks, show the time and date.

Characteristically, it also displays eclipses, phases of the moon, movements of the solar system and religious events.

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The Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste is a must-see attraction in Lyon, not only for the view of the building, but also for the interior.

The surrounding area is also registered as a World Heritage Site as the Historic Centre of Lyon.

If you stroll through the old town and look at the churches, you will get a sense of the history of the city.

In addition, here are some suggestions for memories of the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Commemorative coin vending machine at the exit.

I don’t know if all churches in France have them, but there is an attraction to collecting them.

There is also a coin vending machine in the cathedral on the hill, so it would be a great memory to have both.

Thank you again for reading to the end of this issue.

You can find out more about day trips from Paris to Lyon here.

Day trip from Paris to Lyon 2 hours by TGV to France's second largest city
Series of cities that can be reached by day trip from Paris. This time, we are heading to Lyon, the second largest city ...
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