Lyon is home to a large selection of fascinating museums, exhibiting everything from the history of fabrics and puppetry, to printing and Gallo Roman city life.
Many are located in beautiful old buildings within Lyon's historical centre.
Musée des Tissus
As you would expect from a city that rightly claims the title of 'capital of silk', Lyon has an impressive museum devoted to the history of fabrics. Over 4,000 years worth of fabric and textile history are put on show in this museum, which is located within the 18th-century former residence of the Duke of Villeroy. Most notable amongst its vast collection are early Greek and Egyptian tapestries, linens and silks. The Musée des Tissus is also home to a number of silks produced in Lyon, including hangings that once graced the walls of Marie-Antoinette's rooms in Versailles and those of the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. Other highlights include a number of contemporary exhibits by the likes of Poco Rabanne and Christian Lacroix.
34 Rue de la Charité
Since 1982, the Institut Lumière has had its home in the heart of Monplaisir, that historical area of Lyon where the Lumière brothers invented the Cinématographe and where, in 1895, they shot the first film in the history of the cinema : "Sortie d'Usine".
Concurrently, a place of reminiscence and a film theater, the Institut is a genuine Living Museum of the Cinema. Films are screened, directors are invited, exhibitions are organized, young viewers are educated within these walls. Its double vocation embodies heritage conservation – films, books, photos, posters, pre-cinematographic and cinematographic equipment – and publicity-related artistic activities – film screenings, exhibitions, publication, education and training.
25 rue du Premier Film
Decorative Arts Museum
Connected to the Musée des Tissus, the museum is a showcase for some of the city's finest furniture, antiquities, tapestries, china and silver. There are also a couple of reconstructed rooms, which date back to the 18th century, being full of period details and furnishings.
34 Rue de la Charité
Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization
Perched on the top of Fourvière Hill, overlooking the city, this museum offers visitors a great opportunity to learn more about how Lyon came to be founded, together with its early history, up until the 7th century. The Musée de la Civilisation Gallo Romaine covers a vast variety of exhibits on themes ranging from Roman chariot racing to religion, and the daily lives of Lyon's people under Roman occupation. Its ancient theatres come alive during the summer months as a venue for music concerts and other events.
17 Rue Cléberg
Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation
This museum is housed above the rooms that served as the headquarters of the Gestapo and the infamous Klaus Barbie during World War Two. Through its collection of audio and written material, visitors cannot fail to be moved as they hear and read about the experiences of the French Resistance and the events that led to the deportation of many resistance members. The attraction also hosts a number of thought-provoking temporary exhibitions.
14 Avenue Berthelot
Musée Historique de Lyon
Located in one of Lyon's finest Renaissance buildings, visitors can discover the history of the city at the Musée Historique de Lyon, from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century. It's also worth taking time out to discover the small Musée de la Marionette, which is connected to the main museum. The museum of puppetry features the famous Lyonnais versions of Punch and Judy, known as Guignol and Madelon.
1 Place du Petit-Collège
Musée de l'Imprimerie et de la Banque
As well as silk, Lyon is also known for its role in the world of banking. Discover the history of banking in Lyon's former town hall, built in the 17th century. Exhibits also cover the history of printing, from the days when papyrus was used, right through to the earliest books and newspapers.
13 Rue de la Poulaillerie
Museum of Fine Arts
The former Abbey of the Ladies of Saint Pierre, in the center of Lyon, now houses the Fine Arts Museum. The completely renovated museum houses one of France's largest art collections. With 7000 sq. m of exhibit space, it offers a true retrospective of civilization and illustrates with equal splendor the art of ancient Greece and Egypt, sculpture and painting from the Middle Ages to the present.
Musée d'Art Contemporain
In 1983, the city of Lyon decided to create a specialized department in charge of forming a collection of contemporary art within the Fine Arts Museum, with its own program of exhibitions and responsible for the organization of the "Octobre des Arts" Show, replaced in 1991 by the Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art. In 1988, the title of Museum of Contemporary Art was conferred by the Museums of France administrative agency.
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