The best Museums in Lyon

Voici le second article invité rédigé par une blogueuse anglophone arrivée depuis peu dans la capitale des gaules et qui parcourt la ville de long en large pour en découvrir ses atouts. Dans cet article, ce sont les musées lyonnais qui sont mis à l'honneur. La ville est en effet très riche en musées et c'est une chance pour tous les touristes qui apprécient la culture et le patrimoine de trouver une telle concentration de musées de qualité. Je vous propose la liste des meilleurs musées de Lyon.

Musées des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs - Paire de bottines - France - vers 1880

Not sure if you realize on how huge and rich history Lyon has. Most people associate Lyon only with the best French Cuisine and that’s already a lot to experience. Lyon is the Capital of Gastronomy and this is true and need to be explored but did you know that the cinema has been invented here, that it has been a centre of the prosperous silk production , that it has been the Capital of Resistance, that it invented the puppet shows and has its Guignol?

The best museums in Lyon


Well, this is just few main things that you should know about Lyon and to explore it more you should visit the main museums in Lyon. There are plenty to choose from, depending on what you are interested in you can pick all or some. There are few museum which you have to visit to understand Lyon betters so make sure you plan in well. The only thing is that when visiting museum, you have to pay a fare. But if you have a look at my Top Tips to Visit Lyon On A Budget, you might be able to do some savings. You can purchase the Museum Card which gives you unlimited access to 6 museums and/or Lyon City Card for a day and have an access to over 22 museums! So now let me tempt you with some Top Lyonnais Museums to Be Visited.


Maison des Canuts : House of Canuts a small but so interesting and informative museum located in the La Croix Rousse is a place where you will find out the real story of Lyon silk-making. Make sure to book the guided tour where you will be shown the silk production process, the very expensive and impressive silk products. Enjoy their souvenir shop, there are beautiful silk scarves but not only!


Musée Gadagne : Gadagne Museum is located just in the center of Vieux Lyon. It is very big one and it tells you the detailed history of Lyon. But thats not all, there is also another very interesting museum located - The Musée International de la Marionette. Its really super! It has a display of about 2,000 worldwide puppets. You can find out more about the famous Guignol, showing my beloved The Chat noir , many other worldwide puppets. It is so worth to visit also in order to admire the impressive city’s biggest Renaissance building which is listed as a World Heritage site. If you stll have time, go and visit the Lyon Botanical Garden of the museum, it is on its roof!




Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine : Gallo-Roman Museum which is situated on Fourvière Hill is an impressive one as well. It has 5 floors, free entry on Thursdays! It will present you the statues, models of what the Roman town used to look like and some stunning mosaics. The collection covers 5 centuries of preserving the Lyonnais heritage. Go and browse across their ruins, inscriptions and objects, statues, currency, and ceramics.

Site Gallo Romain de Lyon
Site Gallo Romain de Lyon

Musée des Beaux-Arts: Fine Arts Museum of Lyon is also located in the Center Lyon, this time in the Place des Terreaux. I liked it very much! It’s huge, It is one of the biggest French museums and the must be visited Lyonnais museum. As it offers so much! It is situated in the 17th-century Benedictine abbey and has a beautiful 19th century garden. I had to visit it twice! And this is what I would recommend! Divide your sightseeing into 2 parts: The Antiquity & Sculptors Part and The Paintings Part. Well, at the end of the day, it really has 70 exhibition rooms to be explored!


Musée des Confluences: Confluences Museum - the newest (opened in Dec 2014), the most modern (just look at it!), the most expensive project (cost estimated to be about €300 million) which took years to be completed, finally is in Lyon and ready to be visited. So you have to visit, there are temporary and permanent exhibitions which tell you the story of the world, the origins of human presented through the evolutions, myths, different beliefs and religions. The museum is located on the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône, from where you can see how those 2 Lyonnais rivers join together. You can admire it from the Museums Park!



Musée des Confluences
Musée des Confluences

Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation ; You will find the Resistance Museum in the former military medical school occupied by the Gestapo. Its not an easy museum but so important to see, It reminds us that Lyon was the centre for the French Resistance during World War II and it pays respect to all who fought, died during war and the place where we learn the history of the resistance, deportation, Nazi occupation. 


Musée Lumière : Do you recall The Brothers Lumiere? These are the inventors of the cinematography! And they are Lyonnais! Interestingly, Museum of the Brothers Lumière is located in their father's amazing house - the Château Lumière. The building is stunning and the collections interesting. The Museum will tell you a story of the Lumière Brothers’ inventions and let you see the projections and interactive features on four floors, the first cameras, colour and 3D photographs, etc.


Musée Miniatures et Cinéma : Museum of Miniatures and Cinema Sets is my favorite Lyonnais museum. Located in the heart of the Vieux Lyon, it is so easy to be found! It is situated in an impressive 16th century building of the Maison des Avocats which is aa UNESCO world heritage site. It consists of the 2 parts: the Movies Special Effects displaying about 300 elements with the latest musuem gain which is Alien Queen created by Hollywood studio ADI, and the Miniature Part with about 100 miniature scenes created by world-renowned miniaturists and lead by the miniaturist artist Dan Ohlmann, the Musée Cinéma et Miniature founder.

Musée Miniatures et Cinéma
Musée Miniatures et Cinéma

Musée d’Art Contemporain : Modern Art Museum is located in the Cité Internationale. It the permanent collection of over 1,100 works of modern art it regularly displayed interesting temporary exhibitions. And for those exhibitions it is really worth your visit. It has been founded in the 1984 and represents one of Europe's largest collections of modern art.


Musée de l’Imprimerie : Did you know that Lyon was an important center of bookmaking during the 15th to 16th centuries? Well, you can learn the detailed history of the printing, find out more about the graphic printing techniques and the cultural effect of printed books by visiting Lyonnais Museum of the Printing Press.


Musée de l’Automobile Henri Malartre : Cars Museum is located in the 15th century château on the banks of the Saôn. It is huge as it covers a space of the impressive 2500m². It is a place where you can admire about 150 cars; 40 motorbikes and 31 bicycles as well as the racing cars which are located in the Gordini Hall. The museum is big so on top of that all there is also a Public Transport Hall with trams, trains, the "Ficelle" funicular from Fourvière and display of more than 120 period posters, engines and nearly 1000 collector's old accessories. 

Rolls Royce - Musée Henri Malartre
Rolls Royce - Musée Henri Malartre

Fourvière Museum of Religious Art : Fourviere Sacred Art Museum is smaller but also interesting museum which is located just next to the Basilic on the Fourvière hill. Interestingly, it is one of the largest museums of religious art in France. There is a temporary exhibition of the Treasury of Fourvière s displayed and many temporary ones. 


Musée Africain de Lyon : African Museum has been founded in the 1863. So it is the oldest museum in France dedicated to Africa, and one of the oldest museums in Lyon. It is spread out through the 750m² space and present you with the permanent collection of about 2,126 African objects. It is an ideal place where you can you can actually discover more about the everyday life,social life, and religious life of Africans.


Le Musée Urbain Tony Garnier : Tony Garnier Urban Museum has been founded by architect Tony Garnier who has been appointed earlier to design the quartier des Etats-Unis of Lyon. and built it. He finished his project in the 1933. Now, his museum will let you discover the Cité de Tony Garnier of 1930s yourself through the set of 25 wall frescoes and the "show home" apartments from this period of time.


Ampère Museum : Museum of Electricity is located in the house of the André-Marie Ampère - the French scientist who actually was a real Lyonnais. After his death, his 11 bedroom house has been converted into the museum, a place, where you will get to know his important work, where you discover the historical documents, learn the operating models of Ampere's basic experiments in electromagnetism. You will also have a chance to explore other exhibitions and you will be explained the Volta, Oersted and Faraday in more details. 


Doctor Mérieux Museum : Museum of the Doctors of Merieux sounds interesting but is not my cup of tea. But i do realize it appeals to many. It is a museum dedicated to the Biology where you will find out how the vaccine was discovered, you will understand better the infectious diseases, their diagnosis and treatments. You will also learn the history of the Mérieux family and its scientific pioneering in the interest of public health and medicine as well as their involvement into the development of the various companies.


Petit Musée Fantastique Guignol : Small Museum of the Fantastic Guignol - yes very tiny one and located in the Old Lyon, You can find it in the souvenir shop that tiny it is! Visit this small yet interesting museum created by the puppeteer Gepetto and find out more about the Guignol and his friends. 


How did you like the selection of the best museums in Lyon which I can highly recommend? Pretty comprehensive, isn’t it? Well, not! There are still many other museums in Lyon but don’t worry. Always try to check and choose the one that are the most appealing for you. Have fun exploring Lyon, learning its history and values it has been created on. Don’t wait too long, Lyon is waiting to be discovered by you and me...and more stories to come on my shopaholicfromhome.com blog

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