May 8, 2016, posted by Michelle – La Voie Verte (The Green Way) is a long trail that cuts a straight line through the highest point of Caluire et Cuire, a small suburb of Lyon where I live. It’s a peaceful pathway built on an old rail line where people run, bike, walk their dogs and just enjoy nature. Midway along the trail is a very well maintained collection of mini gardens that reflects the horticultural history of the area. There’s also a small vistor’s center with an interactive display and a refreshment stand inviting you to linger a bit longer.Val Foron, located in the heart of Caluire, is one of only two remaining urban vineyards in greater Lyon. It was cultivated by Christian Brothers monks over 150 years ago and produces about 2,500 bottles of a Gamay – Pinot Noir blend annually. So, in the Voie Verte garden there’s a small terraced grouping of vines honoring Caluire’s wine making history. If you’d like to see the Val Foron vineyard and some of the dedicated volunteers who tend it and make the wine CLICK HERE (then scroll down the page a bit to get to the video) to watch a short report from August 2015.
After WWI, community gardens became wildly popular as families could grow their own fruits and vegetables, including some local varieties like black turnips and cardoons. But Caluire also has a long history of growing flowers and vegetables commercially. Up until the 19th century, wagons from Caluire brought vegetables as well as peonies, fuschias and petunias to Lyon’s large open air markets daily.
Lastly, many religious institutions owned vast parcels of land in Caluire over the centuries. One type of garden found within these agricultural domains was called a “priest’s garden”. Usually laid out in the form of a cross, they grew flowers destined for chapels and churches, medicinal plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables. The mini gardens are a mini lesson in the history of Caluire!
P.S. – I couldn’t help myself from also taking a few photos of some of the houses, draped as they were in wisteria and roses, along one small part of the green way…
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