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la fresque des lyonnais

There are over 150 fantastic Lyon murals painted all over the walls of what was once a pretty colourless city. We only managed to see a grand total of THREE, and completely by accident at that.

I can only thank the travel gods above that we stumbled upon the Fresque des Lyonnais – one of the most famous of all of Lyon’s murals.

la fresque des lyonnais in lyon france

Hard to tell who’s a painting and who’s not.

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

If I could visit again, I’d pick up a Lyon City Pass, map out all the most famous of Lyon’s murals, and jump on a segway with a local guide, instead of wasting time trying to get into the city’s traboules or secret passageways.

lyon bouchons

I spent a lot of time at bouchons in Lyon.

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Fresque des Lyonnais

Painted by the artist collective, CitéCréation, La Fresque des Lyonnais covers more than 800 square metres of wall. It’s painted on 2 sides of a windowless building located at the corner of 2 rue de la Martinière and 49 quai Saint Vincent.

fresque des lyonnais

There are 31 famous people on the Fresque des Lyonnais.

There are 31 famous people from Lyon and the surrounding area painted on the building, including Antoine de Saint Exupéry (Le Pétit Prince), the Lumière brothers (pioneers of cinema), and Paul Bocuse (the father of gastronomy).

paul bocuse | fresque des lyonnais

Paul Bocuse is one of Lyon’s most famous people

This incredible Lyon mural 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.”

The figures on the Fresque des Lyonnais are so lifelike, it’s hard to tell the tourists from the paintings!

fresque des lyonnais

The paintings are so lifelike!

Fresque des Lyonnais Map

Address: 2 Rue de la Martinière, Lyon, France.

We walked to the Fresque des Lyonnais. It’s doable, but can definitely be a bit tiring and confusing. If you’d like a little more guidance, or have mobility issues, there are multiple alternative ways to see the city of Lyon, and it’s unique murals.

Famous Lyon Murals to Find

Aside from la Fresque des Lyonnais, here are a few of the most famous Lyon murals to look out for.

lyon, france | fresque des lyonnais mural

Fresque des Lyonnais covers a huge 800m² of wall.

Le Mur du Cinéma

Address: 4 Pl. Gabriel Péri, 69007, Lyon, France

The Lyon born Lumière brothers started the era of the big screen, with the invention of the Cinématographe camera and projector in 1895. Le Mur du Cinema is a 500 m² mural that celebrates this history.

Le Mur Des Canuts | Wall of the Silk Weavers

Address: 36 Boulevard des Canuts, Lyon, France

This is one of the largest frescos in all of Europe, spanning an impressive 1,200m². This colossal piece of artwork depicts the real life of the silk workers who inhabited the historic Croix- Rousse neighbourhood.

lyon murals | mur des canuts

Mur des Canuts is absolutely massive © Davide Mauro (CC BY-SA 4.0)

La Bibliothèque de la Cité | The Cité Library

Address: Angle rue de la Platière et quai de la Pécherie – 69001 Lyon 1er

The mural on La Bibliothèque de la Cité is a 400m² bookcase, with the books of over 300 writers from Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region in it.

Other Lyon Murals

The Fresque des Lyonnais was so incredible, I really 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 (which are supposed to be open to the public, but in practice, were not).

In hindsight, I would’ve booked a customized walking tour with someone who knows their way around, to avoid all the frustration, save myself a bunch of wasted time, and actually see what I set out to see.

lyon murals

Enter the store at your own risk.

We happened upon a couple more Lyon Murals, by accident. 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.

When I 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.

Lyon murals: chairs painted on a hotel

Real chairs or painted?

Perhaps they’re actually paintings! Because sticking chairs to the outside of a hotel is pretty weird, and a potential hazard, wouldn’t you say?What do you think? Real chairs or painted?

Fresque des Lyonnais: Essential Info and FAQs

How many Lyon Murals are there? There are now over 150 murals decorating the walls of Lyon's buildings.
Who painted the murals in Lyon? The Lyon murals are painted by a group of muralists, most belonging to the artist collective, CitéCréation.
How much does it cost to see Fresque des Lyonnais? It's free to see the Fresque des Lyonnais mural, as it is to see all the murals in Lyon.
Where is the Fresque des Lyonnais? It's located at 2 Rue de la Martinière in Lyon, France.


  • January 8, 2017

    Great blog post with some really beautiful photos. Love it!

  • December 3, 2016

    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 4, 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!!

  • November 28, 2016

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

    • November 29, 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 27, 2016

    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 29, 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 27, 2016

    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 29, 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 27, 2016

    I think it’s the painting? Haha this would be a cool city to visit ?

    • November 28, 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.


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