Murals of Lyon (2)

In the post Murals of Lyon (1) I looked at three of the best known murals that use the tromp l’oeil technique to great effect. I mentioned in that post that there are over 150 murals in Lyon so there are many more to be discovered both in the city centre and further afield. This post explores further the murals of Lyon.

Murals of Lyon 2
Trompe-l’oeil mural in Place Endenement-Flourassent. Notice the concierge pointing the way to the real Hotel des loges

Just across the River Saone from La Biblioteque de la Cité is Place Ennemond-Fousseret. Apart from being one of the best places to buy and eat ice-cream in Lyon a large blank wall is devoted to a large trompe l’oeil mural. The subject matter is the luxury hotel Cour des Loges just up the narrow streets from the mural. It is depicted as a canvas that is being taken down from the wall to be moved. The concierge can be seen in the mural pointing the way to the real Cour des Loges in Vieux Lyon.

An artist's studio
An artist’s studio

Close to La Fresque des Lyonnais is yet another trompe l’oeil mural. This one is much smaller; taking up a narrow blank wall in a side street off Quai Saint Vincent. As you approach you are looking into an artists studio and it feels like you could walk right into it or at least peer through the window.

La Fresque Vegetale Lumiere
La Fresque Vegetale Lumiere

On Rue de l’Annonciade on the slopes of Croix Rousse where the silk weavers lived and worked is a mural that resembles pictures on a living-room wall. The tromp l’oeil technique has been used here to give the appearance that the paintings are hanging on the wall. Each picture shows an ecological theme by reproducing photographs taken by Yann Arthus Bertrand who specialises in pictures of threatened areas of the planet. The mural depicts three regions; Mali, Brazil and Argentina.

Lyon Mur 052
Pictures on a wall of earth tones and living vegetation

La Fresque Vegetale Lumiere, as it is known, shows a wall that reflects the earthy tones of the three regions and is interspersed with living walls of vegetation.

Lyon Mur 051
Each “picture” shows a threatened area of our planet. This one is of a farmer in Mali.

Between each “picture” there are also large wall lights with lampshades like those you might see in a living-room. These are real enough and not the trompe l’oeil seen in many of the other murals of Lyon and create a more intimate atmosphere.

Murals of Lyon
For the more intimate atmosphere the artist who created the mural aims to create it is best seen at night

It was recommended that I come back to view the mural at night to fully appreciate this and, having done so, I would wholeheartedly agree with that recommendation.

Murals on the end of apartment blocks in the Etats Unis district of Lyon
Murals on the end of apartment blocks in the Etats Unis district of Lyon

CitéCréation, the cooperative responsible for most of the murals of Lyon, designed the murals not only for the decoration of blank walls but to help the Lyonnais rediscover their local identity. They were also there to tell a story relevant to the quartier or district in which they were painted. Most importantly they were works of art accessible to everyone.

This philosophy is most evident in the 1920s and 30s low rent housing project in the Etas Unis district of Lyon. The buildings were originally designed by the French architect Tony Garnier but like many housing projects of the time slipped into areas of social deprivation. By the end of the 70s crime, drugs and violence were rife. The residents, in a bid to improve there lot, invited CitéCréation to paint murals on the huge blank end walls of each apartment block. The district was completely transformed and the residents once again had pride in where they lived.

The photographs below show just three of the 30 murals in the project. They show a sample of the different styles used.

Lyon Mur 040 Lyon Mur 038 Lyon Mur 041

The estate is now the outdoor museum Musée Urbain Tony Garnier and several of the murals depict his vision of an “urban utopia”. Others are by invited artists from around the world and many depict significant buildings and industries of Lyon itself.

Anyone interested in the murals of Lyon cannot leave out Musée Urbain Tony Garnier. Not only does it celebrate the work of the social architect and his ideals it also is a true representation of what the murals of Lyon and the work of CitéCréation is all about.

I have only touched on a fraction of the murals of Lyon in these two posts. On my own visit to Lyon time constraints meant I was unable to visit more than a fraction of the 150 plus murals in the city. Like the cliffhanger at the end of a TV episode it makes me want to return.

A tour to see the murals of Lyon is bookable from the Lyon Tourist Office and Convention Bureau

Declaration: I visited Lyon as guest of the Lyon Tourist Office and Convention Bureau. However, as always I maintain full editorial control over the content and my opinions, positive or negative are my own.

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