Thursday, April 18, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 87

La Cour des Voraces, Lyon, France

A friend who lives in France recently took a trip to Lyon and sent this postcard to me.  At first glance I thought the stair complex in the photo was a modern structure because the card is not a vintage postcard but a recent one.  Along with the card my friend had included a few notes so I quickly discovered that the stairway was much older than I thought.  The picture is of the Cour des Voraces located on La Croix-Rousse hill, was built in 1840 and is a traboule.   It is the oldest concrete construction in Lyon.  Traboules are a type of passageway found in a few French cities but mostly associated with Lyon.  The earliest ones were built in the 4th century and were used originally to allow workers to go from their homes to the river to get water quickly and to move goods from their workshops to the merchants at the foot of the hill.  

Lyon is historically known for its silk industry.  It is built on hills and has very few connecting streets running perpendicular to the river so the traboules provided a way to transport goods such as clothes and other textiles through the city while giving shelter from the weather.   Conditions for the silk workers were deplorable and they revolted in 1848 and 1849.   Some of the traboules served as refuges for them at those times.  During WWII the traboules were little known to foreigners and were used by the resistance during the German occupation as places to escape from surveillance while engaged in covert activities.  Today some of them have been closed, blocked off, and/or used as storage areas while others are tourist attractions with over 40 of them open to the public. 

The black & white postcard is numbered LOM 051 and was published by editions Laurentreiz. 

The court shown on the card is classified as an historic monument. 

For more information see:

Card published by LOM 051

As always, thank you to my French friend for thinking of me and for sharing this postcard. 

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