Two summers ago, we visited the city of Lyon, host to the famous Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières), in France. During our week-long stay in the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region, we explored several parks (including the lovely Parc de la Tête d’Or), relived history at the splendid Roman theater, and discovered the unique urban development project at La Confluence.
Our favorite trail of discovery in Lyon, the birthplace of cinema, was the trail of discovering frescoes. Walks in the city revealed beautiful murals at unexpected locations, and the beauty of these wall paintings left us eager to discover more.
Visiting Lyon? The best way to explore a city is by walking through its various neighborhoods. So, stroll around the city and find the murals: learn more about Lyon, wonder at the fascinating trompe-l’œil technique, and choose your favorite piece of art! Read on to learn about our favorite picks among the many murals in Lyon.
1. La Fresque des Lyonnais
See if you can identify these famous personalities from Lyon, and even if you are unable to do that, just admire the attention to detail and the spectacular effect that this mural achieves. We loved this one!
Antoine de St Exupéry, the Lumière brothers, Bernard Pivot and others peer out from this large work of art and welcome you to the city of Lyon.
Location: Intersection of 49 quai Saint Vincent and 2 rue de la Martinière
2. La Fresque de la Bibliothèque de la cité
An absolute delight for book-lovers. And everyone else! 🙂 Spot familiar books or authors on this wall, and pause to read out lines from “open” books.
Location: Interesection of quai de la Pêcherie and rue de la Platière
3. La Fresque de la Cour des Loges
This trompe-l’œil exhibit was hidden by trees, but we were successful in locating it after straining our eyes and looking hard in all directions.
Location: place Ennemont Fousseret
4. Le Mur du Cinéma
A fitting tribute to the birthplace of cinema. From a depiction of various movies made in Lyon to a film-making scene, this mural highlights Lyon’s association with cinema and the significant contribution of the Lumière brothers.
Location: cours Gambetta
5. La Fresque Lumière
This rendition of a futuristic city is characterized by lighting effects. Observe it during the day or, for a unique experience, head there after dusk, and you will be witness to the bright touch produced by the smart usage of fiber optics.
A marvelous combination of two major aspects that Lyon is known for – light and murals!
Location: avenue Jean Jaurès
6. La Fresque de Shanghai
Ancient and new symbols of China jostle for space in this representation of an ideal Chinese city. The towering lion and eye-catching shade of red instantly drew our attention to the mural as we walked along the boulevard des États-Unis.
Location: rue Villon, boulevard des États-Unis
7. La Fresque Tour de Babel
Part of the series “Les Cites Idéales”, this work of art presents the myth of the Tower of Babel. Sit near the little fountain nearby, and take a break to ponder about the myth or to just cool your heels.
Location: place Mendès France
8. Le Mur de Résistance
This wall is a tribute to the French Resistance movement, in which Lyon played a key role.
Locating the Mur de Résistance turned out to be a challenge – we walked in the area for quite some time before we were able to find it.
Location: rue Jean-Pierre Lévy