Art Exhibitions You Can’t Miss during Lyon’s Festival of Lights

Five museums and exhibitions to discover in Lyon in December


Passionate museum-goers are likely to enjoy their stay in Lyon during the Festival of Lights as many of them propose temporary exhibitions and guided tours. Here are five art exhibits to attend during the 4-day event.


By Kevin Bonnaud


Light and Paintings Exhibit at Lyon’s Fine Arts Museum

Lyon’s Festival of lights allows tourists and locals to see the city’s monuments in a brand-new way including the façades of the Fine Arts museum where some of the nights’ shows are projected.

Artists have not waited the 21st century to use the light in their works.

Lyon Fine arts musuem garden

Lyon’s musée des Beaux-Arts (c)

The museum proposes a special programming during the festival with a daily guided tour which focuses on the role light has played in the history of painting.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the one-hour English guided tour of the museum’s collections and masterpieces on December 9 (Saturday) at 2.30pm.

“Light and Paintings” Exhibit – December 7-10 – 3pm (1 hour).
Opening Hours: 10am-6pm
(opens at 10.30am on December 8, closes at 5pm throughout the Festival of Lights).



The Invention of Cinema, A local Heritage at Lyon Confluences Museum

There is one thing that makes locals so proud of their city apart from food.

Few visitors know it, but modern cinema would probably not be what it is today without
Auguste and Louis Lumière.

The brothers invented the cinematograph in Lyon in the 19th century.

The Confluences Museum’s ongoing temporary exhibit is a tribute to the Lumière family and their living industrial and cultural heritage.

A one-hour guided tour of the exhibit is scheduled on December 7 (12.30pm).

“Lumière! Le cinéma inventé” (The Invention of cinema) temporary Exhibition
Opening Hours : December 7 ( 11am to 10pm), December 8 (11am-7pm), December 8-9 (10am-7pm).



The origins of the Lyon Festival of Lights at The Gadagne Museums

Lyon’s Festival of Lights features a series of eye-catching light and sound shows, but many enthrallers spectators don’t know much about the history behind the celebration (including some French nationals) and what it means for the city and its people.

Musee Gadagne in the old town of Lyon

Guignol puppet at Musée Gadagne (c) G. Aymard

Curious visitors can go to the Lyon History museum in the old district for a 1-hour family-oriented guided tour to learn about the origins of the Festival of Lights locals usually referred to as the December 8 festival.

If you have never considered yourself as a history buff, you would rather go to the (nearby) puppet museum to discover the fascinating world of puppets and puppeteers.

The interactive 90-minutes visit makes kids over 6-year-old so happy as they see and play with diverse puppets including Guignol, the main character of a famous local puppet show bearing its name.

Young visitors are advised to bring dolls and teddies…

“Les Lumières de Lyon”, guided tour about Lyon’s Festival of Lights (1 hour)
December 7-8: 5pm / December 9-10: 11.15am, 2pm,3pm,4pm,5pm.

“Un Monde en Scène” – interactive guided tour about puppet arts (1hour)

December 9 – 11.30am


“Aqua” Exhibit at the Gallo-roman Museum

The Rhone Valley is full of vestiges from the Roman era and Lyon is no exception from Roman Theatres on Fourviere Hill to the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls in Croix-Rousse slopes.

Romans have been also known for the construction of water infrastructures to develop cities. Four large aqueducts were built in Lyon, the capital of Gaul provinces.

View on the Roman amphitheatre of Lyon

Lyon Gallo roman museum (c) Laurence Daniäre

The Gallo Roman museum ongoing temporary exhibition highlights the importance of water in the Roman civilization and its multiple uses through archeological objects, models, reconstitutions.

Visitors also see photos of a local aqueduct showing the importance of Roman architecture in today’s landscape.

On December 7, the museum proposes a free guided tour of Saint-Laurent de Choulans archaeological site near the entrance of Fourviere tunnel.

The Gallo-Roman site discovered in 1947 includes the remains of a Roman basilica (one of the first churches built in Lyon) and a Christian necropolis.

Aqua Exhibit – Gallo Roman Museum – 17, Rue Cléberg Lyon 5 (Fourviere Hill)
Archaeological Tour (Saint-Laurent de Choulans basilica) – December 7 – 3pm – 41, Quai Fulchiron – Lyon 5. Reservations: (+33)07 72 38 81 91


Street Art Exhibition in Fourviere Art Museum

If you plan to go to Fourviere to visit the majestic basilica or admire the panoramic views of Lyon (like most tourists do), add a stop to the nearby Fourviere religious art museum.

“Watching you” a street art exhibition at the Fourvière religious art museum (c) Birdy Kids

The former chapel is the home of a temporary street art exhibition featuring 18 internationally renowned graffiti artists whose works are inspired by Lyon and Fourviere.

This unconventional art event echoes what the Fourviere Foundation would like the museum to become in the future: a space where cultures meet.

Street Art Exhibit – Free – Fourviere Museum
7-8 Place de Fourvière, Lyon 5 (on the right of the basilica).
Opening Hours: December 7: Noon-6pm – December 8-9 : 10am-7pm – December 10: 2pm-5.30pm.