Lyon: city of cinema

It was in Lyon at the end of the 18th century that the Lumière brothers invented the cinematograph, a device allowing the public projection of film, which created cinema as we know it today. France.fr traces the history of this artistic heritage.

Back to basics at the Lumière Museum

The museum has taken up home in Villa Lumière, the family home of Antoine and his sons Auguste and Louis. Under the glass roofs and ornate ceilings of this luxurious Art-Deco-style home, visitors explore the two brothers’ inventions: the Lumière cinematograph, Edison’s kinetoscope and even the Demerÿ chronophotographer, all on display to chart the history of cinema. There’s also a reconstituted Hangar on site, location for the Lumière brothers’ first film, Sortie d’Usine. Every March 19, the Lumière Institute invites the public to get in front of the camera and use their imagination to remake this first film, with costumes and staging.

Institut Lumière (External link)

Behind the scenes at the Miniature Museum and Cinema

Here, we unlock the secrets of cinema’s special effects that came long before the all-digital era. Through 12 exhibition halls and some 200 represented films, we discover the history of special effects, masks and prostheses, sets and other models used by film crews to give life to monsters or create sensational stunts. Notable among the restored and exhibited objects are the motorised model of the queen of the Alien saga, the gorilla from Planet of the Apes, the triceratops of Jurassic Park, the masks of Batman and Catwoman and even the one worn by Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire.

Miniature Museum and Cinema (External link)

Making history at the Théâtre Comédie Odéon

This monument in the history of cinema in Lyon was the city’s first permanent cinema. Opened in 1908 under the name of Pathé Grôlée, it offers an evening-long programme. Operated by different companies, the cinema closed its doors in 2009 before reopening in 2012 as Théâtre Comédie Odéon, a performance hall dedicated to live theatre. It retains its red velvet seats and curtains from its cinematographic past, as well as its original balcony.

Théâtre Comédie Odéon (External link)

On the walls

In Lyon, the history of the city is told through the streets with painted walls and frescoes which decorate the façades of buildings, often creating clever trompe-l’oeil effects. The cinema is no exception and is displayed on the walls of rue Charlie Chaplin in Villeurbanne, on the other side of the Tête d’Or park. The famous actor, with his recognisable silhouette with hat and cane, is represented there 23 times dancing on film.

In Lyon’s 1st arrondissement at the corner of rue de la Martinière and quai Saint-Vincent, the Lyonnais fresco depicts around 30 famous men and women from the city of Les Gones. On the first floor of the building façade overlooking rue de la Martinière, you can see Auguste and Louis Lumière activating their cinematograph. Behind them, the public attends the screening of a film.

Fill up on colour at CinéDuchère

This arthouse cinema, located in Lyon’s 9th arrondissement, has taken up residence in an old church with its ‘original’ architecture: a partially buried structure surmounted by a concrete spire. A partner of the Fête des Lumières, which takes place in Lyon every December, CinéDuchère is also part of the City’s Lighting Plan and is adorned with colourful lighting every evening.

CinéDuchère (External link)