Check out all the incredible and quirky street art Lyon has become famous for
It takes no time to discover incredible street art in Lyon. You’ll find a smorgasbord of creativity, momentous murals and unique little pieces around every corner. The whole city has life and vivacity running through the streets thanks to the creative locals who have unleashed their talents on the otherwise dull walls. This photo tour will take you through just some of the most awesome pieces.
When you think of France your mind is often cast to thoughts of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, with wafts of freshly baked pastries and people sipping wine on street-side bars. Fewer people fantasise about the lesser known city of Lyon which is not as travelled but arguable better in many aspects. A bold statement I know but hear me out guys!
Full of charm and character, the whole city of Lyon has a very cool and relaxed feel to it. What is most cool about the city is the variety. You’ll find rich history and ancient traditions but also funky bars, quirky boutiques and riverside parties. You’ll also immediately notice the street art Lyon has to offer and has now become famous for.
Lyon hasn’t always been so bright and beautiful, in fact it wasn’t until the 1970’s when a collective of creative students got together and decided to bring a splash of colour to the city. They wanted to bring art to the streets of Lyon away from galleries and museums and make it accessible for all. Viola, CitéCréation was born and their love for art and colourful murals began brightening up the city. It actually evoked a huge street art movement across all of Lyon which is still going strong today.
To date there are over 150 murals in Lyon. CitéCréation painted surprisingly realistic murals that depicted typical life in Lyon and this encouraged many other local artists to unleash their talents. The variety is mesmerising, see for yourself the incredible and quirky street art Lyon has become famous for.
Lyon is home to renowned pieces of street art work which show local culture and personalities, like the graffiti above of the award winning chef Paul Bocuse. Bocuse was most notably known for his innovative approach to nouvelle cuisine and his contribution to the industry, training numerous upcoming chefs. This piece of art sits across the street from the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, an extravagant food hall serving decadent French cuisine in honour of the late Bocuse who passed away in 2018.
In contrast to famously commissioned pieces Lyon is home to many works of art by local artists which brighten up what could otherwise be mundane parts of the city. This mindset of wanting to inject a bit of originality to the streets gives Lyon so much character and charm which you can feel when spending time in the city.
Can you tell who this is? Do the eyes give it away?
Created by self taught Big Ben who says he takes his inspiration from Banksy and Blek the Rat, this piece is of the late great David Bowie. This mural was created before the singer passed away and really grabs your attention when you notice it on the street, what do you think?
This artwork created by local artist Georges de Loup is a reference to Shakespeare. Loup’s pieces all have a similar theme and can be found all over the city, we managed to spot another whilst bumbling about the Lyon. Have you ever spotted any of his work?
What would originally be a very plain and pretty boring building is now the centre piece of the street. That’s why murals like this are truly eye-catching, shining out like a beacon in the otherwise very normal surroundings.
On the flip side to the abstract graffiti in Lyon, you can also find some strikingly lifelike pieces such as this one which is actually the largest mural in Lyon. Created by CitéCréation, the Lyonaise-born collective of talented muralist’s who had dreams of a vibrant and rejuvenated Lyon.
It was commissioned by the mayor at the time, Michel Noir, who also shared the dream of a more colourful Lyon. Et Viola, the nearly 13,000-square-foot piece was born, shown above. Mur des Canuts, or Wall of the Canuts can be found in the hilly Croix-Rousse district of Lyon.
When you stand back to look at the piece in all it’s glory it’s difficult to tell where real life stops and starts.
Another famous piece created by the same artist collective is La Fresque des Lyonnais which depicts 30 of Lyon’s most famous figures. The piece includes silk weavers and the inventor of the Jacquard (a silk weaver machine) Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Roman emperor Claudius, the film making Lumière brothers along with many other notable faces from the past and present day.
Can you spot any other famous faces?
From the life-like to the funky fresh, because of the street art Lyon definitely can’t be called dull. The vibrancy and history of this great city is reflected in the artwork around every corner. You can be immersed in the sights and smells of the old town and a short walk away be greeted by the vivacity of pieces such as these that light up even the bleakest of days.
From a smorgasbord of colours to all the shades of blue, no blank wall is left untouched when the creative souls of Lyon are let loose. This piece was created by a local cafe on the side of their building overlooking a very chilled out park. They didn’t like the plain concrete so decided to give it a do-over. A good choice, don’t you think?
The piece above is found amongst the colourful great rise of the Croix Rousse is made by the imaginative bunch at La Coulure as part of a school project and is changed very regularly. This is the most recent creation but it’s exciting knowing it changes into something completely different at any time.
Whether it’s a whole building piece or simply jazzing up a plain bit of wall it’s hard to wander the streets of Lyon and not stumble upon unique and talented pieces from budding artists. From one corner to the next each design is so different but always makes you stop and soak up the amazing artwork.
One of the things we love about the street art Lyon has to offer is that it carries a deeper message. Like this piece below, we thought spread a message of how humans are destroying our precious planet with no care for the effects or the future. What message do you take from this piece?
If you’ve been following our journey you may have seen a few of these pop up as we wandered about Lyon. The lion symbol directs you to the famous traboules which can be found all over the city. These passages were used by silk traders in Lyon to transport silk around the city without the risk of it getting damaged by the elements.
In the 1620’s when the industry was at its peak traders would scurry about the city using the passages and many of them are still accessible today. Like an urban treasure hunt you follow the images to find some of passageway and can wander through the underground mazes.
By following the lions you too can discover secret alleyways and passages, but be warned not all of them are still accessible today as some have been used for building access.
We saw a load of these legs poking out all over the city (above) and thought they were so amusing. Immediately grabbed by these odd legs poking out I tried to do some research to find out a bit of background information. Sadly after hours of scrolling the internet I’ve come up empty handed, I cannot find anything about these mysterious legs which sort of adds to the mystery I think. I am still curious to know so if you have any info on these protruding legs please let us know!
Whilst wandering about the streets of Lyon the bursts of creativity around every corner are a feast for your eyes. From huge murals covering whole buildings to quirky little designs brightening up a street sign, the city is chock-a-block with colourful works of art that brighten up the city. It’s hard to believe that Lyon ever had a reputation for being dull and grey. The variety of pieces and styles for us is what we love most as it reflects the diversity of this beautiful city.
If street art is your thing, which I’m guessing it is as you’re here, then you should check out the street art Lyon tour. It’s free, easy to do and you can simply download a map to your phone and spend an afternoon bumbling about the city taking snaps and soaking up the sights.
The Incredible and Quirky Street Art Lyon has Become Famous for
You might also want to read