The Basilique Nôtre-Dame
de Fourvière overlooks the city center
from its hilltop esplanade. The neobyzantine church was commissioned in 1872
after God reputedly answered the prayers of Lyon's bishop Ginoulhiac, who had
offered to build a church on the Fourvière hill if
the Prussians were kept from invading Lyon after Napoleon's defeat in 1870.
The basilica celebrates and
glorifies the Virgin Mary, and its richly decorated interior is an architectural
confection of mosaics, gold leaf, marble, and stained glass. The Fourvière
basilica has attracted pilgrims and tourists since its consecration in 1896, and
it remains one of the most visited churches in France.