Only Lyon - Tourism and Conventions

Gilbert Coudène, peintre muraliste, Directeur de Cité Création
Mur peint à Lyon

The fresco murals, a book about Lyon with huge pictures

Gilbert Coudène, Director of Cité Création

Gilbert Coudène, mural artist and Director of Cité Création

Along with Berlin, Lyon is the European capital of mural paintings, and is one of the top five cities in the world in terms of the amount of murals. 

Why is Lyon so famous for its murals?

Along with Berlin, Lyon is the European capital of mural paintings, and is one of the top five cities in the world in terms of the amount of murals. Around a hundred frescoes decorate the walls of Lyon, throughout the entire city, including the most working class neighbourhoods. In Lyon, you can admire frescoes painted on the walls of council flats, which is something you won’t see everywhere! Lyon has been presenting its mural paintings for 30 years, and has managed to successfully develop this art while at the same time respecting the principal objective: telling the story of the city, its neighbourhoods and its people.

 

Which are the most emblematic walls in Lyon?

They are all emblematic since they all perfectly represent the life of their neighbourhood: the sporting themed Gerland fresco, the books on the bookshelf, the walls representing the career of Tony Garnier in the Etats-Unis neighbourhood, the frescoes of La Sarra in a working class district... If you really want to understand the Lyonnais identity, I recommend that you go and see the Fresque des Lyonnais, which depicts all the famous people from Lyon, from antiquity with the Emperor Claudius through modern times with figures including Paul Bocuse, Abbé Pierre and Bertrand Tavernier. The wall depicting the Canuts is also a must-see, since it was the first. It tells the story of the Croix-Rousse over 1,200 m², and the story is still in the making, since we update the characters in the mural every ten years. The little girl painted 30 years ago is now 26 years old, and she is depicted with her own children!

Why do you advise tourists to visit the murals?

To admire the frescoes is to open a guide book to the city of Lyon, a book with enormous pictures. When people visit the murals, they learn a great deal about the identity of Lyon, its symbols and its values. It’s also an excellent way to visit and understand a particular neighbourhood, and the people of Lyon have a great deal of pride and affection for their walls. Lastly, the frescoes provide a pleasant moment of tranquillity in the city; people stop for a few moments and meet up at the foot of the walls.

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