Built between 1892 and 1894, this mini version of the Eiffel Tower is clearly visible from much of the center of Lyon. It stands proudly on the promontory which houses the city’s cathedral, the Basilica de Notre Dame.
At roughly 281 feet tall, its perch atop the hill makes it the highest point in the city. Interestingly, this Eiffel Tower lookalike is more than just a city high point. It also has a bit of a political background.
The metallic tower was actually constructed with financial assistance from the very republican (and secular) local council that wanted a secular monument to balance against the religious symbolism of the Basilica, which was built 10 years earlier by public subscription.
The tower was also once a bustling public attraction. Elevators could whisk 22 people at a time to a restaurant at its top, where they could wine, dine, and drink in the views of the city. However, public access stopped in 1953. Nowadays, this architectural and historical gem is slightly marred by the hordes of television antenna adorning its exterior.
Know Before You Go
The best way to get a close-up view is to take the funicular from St. Jean or from St. Just, changing at St. Jean.