Located at the junction of the Gere and Rhône rivers, Vienne lies on the edge of Pilat Natural Regional Park in south-east France. It is renowned for its beautifully preserved Roman monuments from when it served as a provincial capital and hosts a famous jazz festival in its centuries-old amphitheatre.
Things to do in Vienne
One of Vienne’s most important Roman landmarks is the Temple of Augustus and Livia, which was constructed at the beginning of the 1st century AD. It features well-preserved Corinthian capitals that can be observed from the Place du Palais Charles de Gaulle, a central square where Vienne’s Roman forum once stood. The Temple of Augustus and Livia is a short walk from the Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology, where you’ll find gilded bronzes, silver treasures and an impressive collection of French faience.
Designated as a Monument Historique is the Vienne Cathedral, which was erected from 1130 and dedicated to Saint Maurice. It features an elaborately decorated facade and combines elements of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in its design. Take note of the portals depicting angels, prophets and scenes from both the Old and New Testaments.
On the eastern edge of town is the Vienne Ancient Roman Theatre, a stone-built monument that regularly hosts live performances during the summer months. Built during the 1st century AD, it provides a setting for the annual Jazz à Vienne festival, where names such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Chuck Berry have performed.
Getting around Vienne
Vienne is around 30 minutes’ drive from Lyon and 40 minutes from Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Regular trains connect to the Vienne railway station and the town is compact enough to explore on foot.