“The Lyonnais fresco” trompe-l’oeil wall mural LYON


Since 1995 the “Lyonnais fresco” has attracted more than a million tourists a year and become one of the most visited places in Lyon. Much admired, it offers visitors an identity card of the city.


Setting the stage of Lyon’s heritage and 2,000 years of history

With its 2,000 years of history, UNESCO World Heritage status, squares, river banks, light shows, and its singular frescos in every neighbourhood, the City of Lyon has escaped standardisation, the ordinary, and the sterilising steamroller of globalisation.
François Gaillard
Director of the Lyon Tourism Office
Contracting owner : City of Lyon.
Place : Lyon 1 / France
Contracting owner : City of Lyon.
Place : Lyon 1 / France
Contracting owner : City of Lyon.
Place : Lyon 1 / France

Curious to know more?

The point of departure

At the beginning of the 1990s, the city of Lyon decided to upgrade the rue de la Martinière, the central thoroughfare of the 1st arrondissement. How could property, shops and tourism be made more attractive in this long street in the heart of the city between the River Saone and Fourvière hill at one end and the hill of the Croix-Rousse at the other? What is more, it lies opposite the historic district of Saint-Jean, a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Action / result

The Lyonnais Fresco project came to life on a blind wall, and covers a surface area of 800 m² on what was formerly a real urban eyesore.
It depicts 30 of the famous men and women who have forged the history of Lyon, from the Roman emperor Claud, born in Lyon, to Father Pierre and Paul Bocuse, the Pope of French cuisine, all placed at the windows, doorways and balconies of this monumental trompe-l’oeil. They meet each other through the centuries. Also evoked are the techniques of Jacquard and the Lumière brothers, adventure with Claude Martin and Verrazane, the sciences with Claude Bernard, literature with Louise Labé, Maurice Scève, Saint-Exupéry and Frédéric Dard, research with Marcel Mérieux and Ampère, and humanism with Pauline Jaricot.
The work can be savoured like a good book. It attracts more than a million tourists every year, many of whom take selfies of themselves in the good company of the characters in the fresco.

The actors of the project

  • Contracting owner:  City of Lyon.
  • Project manager: CitéCréation.
  • Partners: Librairie Gilbert-Joseph, Pays Beaujolais, Seigneurie paints, Roche & Cie, Vachon, Fondation Mérieux, EDF.
  • Lighting: Ville de Lyon.

Budget et Technique

Cost of the monumental mural design project:

  • Project coordination/ Design / Production of 800 m or artistic mural painting.
  • €300 K ex. tax*.

The property in figures:

  • Building located in year area classified by the Architects of France and the UNESCO.
  • Timetable for carrying out the project: 9 months.

Technical characteristics of the painted facades:

  • Concrete support with fabric wall covering.

* Excluding scaffolding, surface preparation, team facilities, site office with access to water.