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While we do our best to ensure the accuracy of our listings, some venues may be currently temporarily closed without notice. Please confirm status on the venue website before making any plans.

Best Museums in Lyon

By: Cityseeker
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Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon

Since 1803, Musée des Beaux-Arts has housed premier collections and exhibitions. Today it boasts more than 600 paintings, 300 sculptures and thousands of objets d'art, including antiquities, coins and medals. The ground floor houses the refectory and chapel (formerly the church of St Pierre), containing 19th-and 20th-century sculptures. The first floor includes Egyptian, Greek, and Roman (before 200 CE) antiquities; the second floor is dedicated to paintings from the 15th-20th Centuries. Two book and gift shops and a refreshment area are also available on-site.

Lyon, France
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Musée Miniature & Cinéma

The Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma (Museum of Miniatures and Cinematic Decorations) is an astonishing little private museum on Rue Saint-Jean. It is of international standing and children will love the numerous games and dollhouses, while adults will appreciate the reconstruction of the famous theater and restaurant on site. Model makers will gasp in admiration at the skill and patient dexterity displayed at the huge number of exhibits lining the place. In short, this museum will be enjoyed by everyone!

Lyon, France
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Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs

To enter this museum you first have to go through the Musée des Tissus (Fabric Museum). Sprawled over two stories, this museum is a treasure-house of furniture, tapestries, china and earthenware. There are rooms reconstructed a la mode the 18th century with magnificent clocks, Aubusson and Gobelins tapestries, 15th and 16th century Italian majolica, earthenware from the same era as well as a beautiful harpsichord made by Donzelague in 1716, which is still used for concerts. The museum is renowned for its eclectic collection and rather jumbled displays. For more information please see the website.

Lyon, France
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Automates Museum

With over 250 moving subjects and 20 tableaux, this museum will fascinate both the young and the old. A small, private museum created by an enthusiast who has been making dolls since 1946, he exhibits puppets of all kinds- from paper to plastic, porcelain as well as some unforgettable scenes Gargantua, circus scenes, sections of maps and well-known faces in less familiar settings. It's truly a feast for the eyes and something you must experience firsthand to really understand the artist's vision.

Lyon, France
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Musée Gallo-Romain de Lyon-Fourvière

To better understand the history of Lyon, you have to start with the Gallo-Roman Museum, on the hill of Fourvière. It shows the prehistory and the proto-history of the Lyonnaise region, as well as the birth of Lyon (43CE) up until the 7th Century. The museum is made up of areas with different themes - ceramics, glassware, tools, objects showing domestic life, belief systems relating to death, the army, religion, Roman Gaul circus games. More uniquely to Lyon, the key pieces are sarcophagi of the 3rd century, a processional chariot (700BC), which was found intact (area 1), the engraved Claudian table, which is fundamental for the understanding of the Roman state (area 4). There is also a lunar and solar calendar in the Gaelic language but using Latin characters, which allowed them to regulate religious life (area 9) and mosaics of circus games (chariot races), which are truly extraordinary (area 10). You can see that these give a good representation of what Lyonnaise's life would have been like under Roman occupation. Worth seeing in the surroundings is the Gaelic-Roman site of the large theater and the Odeon. The shop sells books, magazines, mock-ups, and copies of objets d'art. On top of this, there is a workshop to entertain and occupy children.

Lyon, France
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Maison des Canuts

Between 1831 and 1848, the canuts (Lyonnaise fabric weavers) revolted to improve their living and working conditions. In following the evolution of weaving techniques, this museum traces the history and evolution of what has become a Lyonnaise symbol. The exhibition covers the evolution of weaving technique and, of course, the technique of making Jacquard, which allowed them to produce five times more per day. The shop offers a vast selection of squares, scarves, neckerchiefs, ties, 100% natural silk articles—all made in the pure canut tradition.

Lyon, France
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Center for the History of the Resistance and Deportation

The Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation (Deportation and Resistance Historical Center) is located in what used to be the offices of the Gestapo and Klaus Barbie. While it avoids being too downbeat, the CHRD will leave no one unmoved. The themes of the exhibition are the onset of war and the beginnings of the resistance and deportation. Using an infra red audio system [trilingual], you can move through the exhibition at your own speed. The centre also organizes temporary exhibitions, such as the photographic exhibition of the World Press Foundation (war reportage and refugees of today). There is a library, studio, and conference space available on site.

Lyon, France
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Contemporary Art Museum

The Musée d'Art Contemporain (Museum of Modern Art) was housed in the Palais des Beaux-Arts for 10 years, and in 1995 was transferred to the heart of the Cité Internationale. The museum has a large exhibition space spread over three floors; showcasing paintings, sculptures, films, photos or videos by some of the most famous modern artists. Certain works of art were created directly inside the building. This museum has some colossal pieces and more installations than any other European museum. Every year the museum holds a modern music event known as "Musique en Scène" as well as the all important Biennale d'Art Contemporain (Biennial of Modern Art). The venue also houses a cafe, a book store and a documentation center for those who are interested in research. The space can also be used to host various business events. Check website for more details.

Lyon, France
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Lumière Institute

Institut Lumière, a museum and former home of famous inventors Louis and Auguste Lumière, is dedicated to all things related to the world of theater and cinema. Exhibitions include a display of the brothers' inventions, and there is a screening room for documentaries, conferences, or film showings, as well as a library. Many events, festivals, conferences and meetings are organized throughout the year and, during the summer, there are free open-air films in front of the building.

Lyon, France
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Musée des Confluences

Musee des Confluences is an attempt to understand the complex nature of the interaction or the 'confluence' between the human being and the society that surrounds him. This is explicitly announced by the host of numerous exhibits on display that charts the process of evolution and diversifies into fields like natural history, archaeology, and anthropology. Workshops are regularly arranged for children, and so are a huge number of activities. The museum also organizes various temporary exhibitions that highlight the nature of communication between man and culture and related themes.

Lyon, France
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Planétarium

The planetarium in Vaulx-En-Velin is a great place to learn about the universe and its intricacies. There are films, workshops and conference-debates with current figures in science. The venue is closed from July 28 to September 30, and when it is open, it is closed on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Always be sure to check if it will be open the day you decide to visit!

Vaulx-en-Velin, France
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