Saturday, 28 January 2017

Perrache P.S. Première Partie

Cours de Verdun, Of Course.
This piece of road has its origins in plans of the 18th Century. Various schemes were proposed to extend what is now called the "Old Town" of Lyon further south along the peninsula between the Saône and the Rhône. A spectacular water feature was proposed ...
... as above in 1769, modified by 1770 to include more extensive formal gardens.
Things did not quite go to plan, so by 1821 it looked like this.
Notice, however, the broad avenue edged in grey linking to two rivers. But in 1885 the rail link that became the main line of the P L M was started, creating a station on the site of what might have been the half-moon lake.
Note the curved access roads to the station forecourt which was built on a viaduct, the broad avenue and the (square) Place de la République with its similarly named statue.
The square was later named Place Carnot, a name it still bears today.

Le nom de Place Carnot lui a officiellement été attribué (par délibération du conseil municipal du 18 février 1889) en honneur du général Lazare Carnot. Son petit-fils, le président Sadi Carnot, est venu à Lyon la même année pour inaugurer sur cette place la statue de la République, une allégorie de la Révolution.

Yes, Place de la Republique became Place Carnot. Likewise, pre 1916, Cours de Verdun had been called Cours Bertin, Cours du Midi and Cours de Napoléon.

But, until the early 1970s, this broad open space was a pleasant environment for residents and tourists alike with its wide promenade between two avenues of trees ans the road itself separate and on its north side.
It even attracted the artistic eye of  Louis Carrand (1821-1899).
Monsieur Carrand and some of his chums are often regarded as forerunners of the Impressionist movement.

Bang in the middle of the avenue was the public transport interchange ...
... which went through several rejigs. Both these shots were taken from the station concourse looking towards the statue.
Trolleybuses replaced trams at the same interchange as pictured here in 1965.
The station is over there, on the right, out of shot.

But an unstoppable force was approaching Cours de Verdun. This monster, homage to the all-conquering motor car, hit the quiet tree-lined-avenue at the start of the 1970s. Here it isn't with the station on the left ...
... here it isn't viewed from above ...
... and here it is, obliterating all of the greenness.
The autoroute (motorway) A6/A7 destroys the verdant and peaceful Cours de Verdun!

There is a weird irony is all this, because in December 2016 an edict was issued to downgrade this route through the centre of Lyon. Motorway traffic will be encouraged to use an improved (?) A46/A43/A48.
Alternatively there are possible schemes for the brand new motorway to the west of the city.
The great mass of roadway currently running south on the banks of the Rhône ...
... will (eventually!) be reduced in width and become a pleasant riverside promenade.
Some belated compensation for the loss of the Cours de Verdun, perhaps?

What about that ugly and complex transport interchange? That is another story.

 Next Perrache P.S. : Sunday 30th January 

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