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Deceiving the Eye: Lyon’s Fresque des Lyonnais

“Walls are the skin of the residents.” -CitéCréation

Despite the fact that there are over 150 fantastic works of art painted all over the walls of the city of Lyon, we only managed to see a grand total of THREE (I think). And completely by accident at that. I can only thank the travel gods above that we stumbled upon La Fresque des Lyonnais – one of the most famous of Lyon’s murals at all.

This is what happens when you don’t do any research about a city before visiting. Or if all your energy is focused on eating.

Which it was. *blush

This city is full of good food and murals (apparently)

This city is full of good food and murals (apparently)

Painted by the artist collective, CitéCréation, La Fresque des Lyonnais is more than 800 square metres and covers the entire wall of a building. Found at the corner of 2 rue de la Martinière and 49 quai Saint Vincent, it depicts 31 famous people from Lyon and the surrounding area, including Antoine de Saint Exupéry (Le Pétit Prince), the Lumière brothers (pioneers of cinema), and Paul Bocuse (the father of gastronomy).

The Fresque was created using the trompe l’eoil painting technique, which was also the method by which I became a wall-climbing ninja, rode a dolphin, and got shot out of a cannon, in Seoul. And it certainly lives up to its French translation for “deceiving the eye.”

For once I was standing in front of the mural, the figures were so lifelike, it was hard to tell the tourists from the paintings!

Tourist or painting? You decide which is which.

Tourist or painting? You decide which is which.

I wish we’d seen a lot more of Lyon’s murals, instead of wasting our time trying to enter and find our way through the city’s network of traboules or secret passageways (which are supposed to be open to the public, but in practice, are not).

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As for the other 2 works of art we happened upon? They included this remarkable lion advertising a furniture store on another misguided self-tour through the canut (or silkweavers) district (are you sensing a theme here yet?), and the exterior of a hotel.

Enter the store at your own risk.

Enter the store at your own risk.

When we saw these chairs on the outside of this hotel in Lyon, we assumed they were ACTUAL chairs glued to the hotel. But now that I know the city is covered in trompe l’eoil art, I’m not so sure. Perhaps they’re actually paintings! Because sticking chairs to the outside of a hotel is pretty weird, and a potential hazard, isn’t it?

Art or reality?

Art or reality?

No matter how much I look at it though, I still can’t decide. What do you think? Real chairs or trompe d’eoil painting?

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think it’s the painting? Haha this would be a cool city to visit 😊

    November 27, 2016
    • Haha I’m pretty sure it is now too. I wish we’d known about all the murals before we visited…it would’ve been a much better use of our time than trying to get into all those traboules.

      November 28, 2016
  2. They look like real chairs. Omg, they aren’t real! When I was looking at your panorama photo, I thought those murals were the real deal, and if I were there I would probably try walking into them :’) What magnificent works of art and 150 works all over is a lot – you’d probably need a few week to maybe cover them all at a leisurely pace. And take photos.

    Haha, I won’t be surprised if anyone actually thought those illustrations were real lol 🙂

    November 27, 2016
    • They do, right? I swear Agri and I stood looking at that building for a good 5 minutes talking about how weird it was to stick chairs to the outside of a building. Haha jokes on us. So realistic!! I’m just so glad we stumbled upon this one at least. It would’ve been a real shame to miss it.

      November 29, 2016
  3. I’m currently living in Lyon and love stumbling upon the fresques! The Mur des Canuts up in the Croix-Rousse is a particularly good one, as is the Bibliothèque de la Cité. I love how they’re scattered across the city; yet to take a trip down to the “États-Unis” neighbourhood to see all the fresques there though!

    November 27, 2016
    • Oooh lucky you! Living in Lyon. 🙂 I’m so grateful that we managed to stumble upon the one we did, cuz we just had no idea there were so many. I’ve since seen pics of the 2 you mentioned, and they also look amazing.

      November 29, 2016
  4. La Fresque des Lyonnais is truly amazing, as is the lion. The chairs are painted otherwise they’d have shadows 🙂

    November 28, 2016
    • Lol…yes that makes sense doesn’t it? I swear that we literally stood in front of that building for 5 minutes staring at the chairs “stuck” to it wondering who came up with such a weird design idea. Hahahahaha 😉

      November 29, 2016
  5. I’ve seen many of these in California, but those are off the chart.
    I’m gonna go for art, otherwise it might be a safety issue?

    December 3, 2016
    • Yeah, def art…as another commenter pointed out, no shadows. Lol…totally did not notice that myself. I think that artist collective CiteCreation is responsible for quite a lot of amazing murals all over the world. Really wish I would’ve seen more of them!!

      December 4, 2016
  6. Great blog post with some really beautiful photos. Love it!

    January 8, 2017

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