A gleaming retro-Byzantine confection of Roman columns and religious iconography, the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière is visible, by design, from almost anywhere in Lyon. Today it is the symbol of the city and Lyon's most visited attraction, well worth the climb just to enter the outrageous interior.
Completed in 1896 as a challenge to secular forces then gaining power in France (like Sacré-Coeur Montmartre), the basilica's gleaming marble, gold gilt, fantastic stained glass, and borderline hallucinogenic ceiling are meant to impress. And they do.
In addition to the basilica and an adjacent chapel dedicated to a particularly miraculous Virgin Mary, both free to the public, this site also offers an observatory, museum, and fantastic views.
To get to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, take the Metro D line to Vieux Lyon, where you can begin your pilgrimage on foot (the sanctuary's resplendent confection facade is visible above Old Lyon). Or, take the Funicular Fourvière, which leaves from the metro station.
Mass is offered in English on the first Sunday of the month, at 9:30 a.m.