Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Fort du Bruissin - Part 1

Hi! The C20E bus here in Lyon begins its journey downtown, which is why I've often seen them in the streets although I'd never set foot on one until this afternoon. 

This bus goes to somewhere called the Fort du Bruissin and it gets there after snaking up one of the hills that surround downtown Lyon before heading through the suburbs and out into the countryside.

I didn't read up on the fort before leaving so that everything would be completely new to me, but I suppose you, dear reader, would like to know a few things about it before I post the photos I took there.

So, the Fort de Bruissin was one of a couple of dozen forts that were built around Lyon as fortifications to defend the city. It was built in the late 1870s, although the first forts were built in the 1830s, and it was a training camp for officers in World War One. In World War Two it served as a German Army ammunition depot. But the soldiers have long since left and today it is a cultural centre and home to one of Lyon's better known jazz festivals, the Fort en Jazz.

I got on the bus down by the River SaƓne, and once on it I would be taken up this steepish hill on the other side of the river.

The road twists and turns and soon we can see the city stretching out below us. I zoomed a lot to get this photo so we're higher up than it appears. The train station is at Perrache, one of Lyon's two major transport hubs.

Ah, lots of trees at last!

And there are a lot less people too....

Here's my bus, at the end of the line. It looks like there are two buses there but there's only one in fact. It's an articulated, or 'stretch' model and the articulated section is hidden behind the trees.

I asked the driver where the fort was and he said I could either go along a road that he pointed out to me or take a short cut through the woods. I chose the latter and here's where I entered the woods, just yards from where the bus was parked.

 It was a delightful walk, up a slight incline.

 Then, the first sight of part of the fort. This used to be an exterior moat and this vantage point shows one of six corners along the outer wall of the fort, which is a six-sided hexagon.

Here's the main entrance to the fort. That bridge you see used to be a drawbridge a long time ago, but the days of battle are long since gone.

The water in the moat has been replaced by lush spring grass and small wild flowers. It would be nice to walk around the fort in the moat but I'm not sure it's open to the public.

Behind the moat lies the inner complex consisting of what used to be barracks and the fort's cultural exhibition areas.

Here are a couple of shots of arrow slits and observation windows. I wonder whether anyone ever fired an arrow in anger out of one of the many slits that are dotted about on the walls.

There is a pathway that rings the fort and all along it are cannon emplacements and ammunition storage areas. This was the fort's first major defence perimiter and men, guns and ammunition would cross one of the sturdy bridges that connected the interior complex to the outer defences.

Here we are, back at the main entrance on the inside of the fort.

 There was lots to see and read at the Fort du Bruissin, and there are also a couple of absolutely charming young ladies at reception who were very helpful indeed. They're students who are studying various aspects of the world of culture. It was a pleasure to meet them and I'm only sorry that this photo of them is blurred. Toutes mes excuses ! :)

And with that I headed back to catch the bus home, very pleased that I had taken the C20E to the end of the line and discovered a new place in the country, just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of life in the city. The bus swayed from side to side as it descended back down to Lyon, which became visible one again from high up and a few minutes from town.


(There is a very interesting exhibition currently running at the fort about the celebrated American jazz record label Blue Note Records. Blue Note recorded some of the world's best jazz musicians. I visited the exhibition and will be posting about that in Part Two in a couple of days.)



  1. I know nothing about Lyon and its region so these three posts were very interesting. The children graves reminded me of an old cemetery I visited in Napa Valley. No names either, just very small tombs. It is a good idea to venture out of places you are familiar with and visit new, 'exciting" areas.
    All is well in SoCal. Great weather, happy people around me, great choices of ethnic food…I am grateful to be here. Few days of rain per month would be nice but I cannot complain about the sunshine.

    1. Glad you liked the posts Nadege. I like seeing photos of where other people I know live so I thought I'd blog my own in my little corner of the web.

      SoCal. What a place. I have my own weird ideas about America, so lemme pitch 'em to ya.

      I much prefer the East coast, as in NYC, Chicago and Detroit etc. LA and San Francisco etc bore the hell out of me.

      That said, California, once you get out of the cities, is one of the most wonderful and inspiring places I have ever visited, in any country....

      California is why they invented the expression 'the stuff of dreams'......