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Vienne

We're aiming to have lunch in Vienne, a town on the Rhône, that was once the Roman provincial capital and retains some impressive Roman leftovers.

We find a pretty town of steep narrow streets leading down to the river.  One narrow lane tests my driving skills.  Breath in!

 

La Tour 
Vienne on the Rhône
Vienne on the Rhône

 

Interestingly, the eldest son of Herod the Great was exiled here.  Herod Archelaus - not his brother the one who ruled Judea after him, Herod Antipas, who ordered John the Baptist’s head doffed and who along with Pilot may have played a role in the crucifixion of Jesus.  

Comparing this countryside with our recent trip to Jerusalem one is reminded of the Monty Python skit concerning the ultimate torture of the Spanish Inquisition: – ‘Not the comfy chair!’

Later in history this town was at the heart of numerous religious schisms and conflicts. 

The oldest sections of the impressive Gothic Cathedral date back to the eleventh century but Vienne was a strategic town on Rhône that was the border between the Holy Roman Empire and France and was embroiled in the Crusades.

 

 

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Vienne Cathedral

 

 

The Council of Vienne was convened there in October 1311 when Pope Clement V abolished the order of the Knights Templar and may have given rise to the Masons. 

The Cathedral fell into Protestant hands during the French Wars of Religion resulting in damage to objectionable decorations, deemed to be in contravention of the Biblical Jewish/Protestant/Islamic second commandment:  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath... etc.  The Roman Catholic second commandment is, obviously, different.

Later still, during the French Revolution, all religion was banished for a period.  Over the centuries great fun has been had by one and all massacring those of the opposite opinion.

In the twenty-first century in this quiet, peaceful and beautiful place as we enjoy our freedom of thought and action on this ideal day it’s hard to imagine anyone holding any religious views with such certainty as to justify such murderous pursuits, yet we know that just across the Mediterranean this is, indeed, still going on in defence of a similarly imaginary reality.

After some pleasant hours exploring the Roman ruins and

 

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Roman Ruins Vienne

 

 

having lunch, and wandering the ancient streets, we regained our car parked high above, near the ancient cemetery, and continued on our way to Mirmande. 

 

 

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