musÉe des confluences

Located at the very tip of Lyon’s Presqu’Île district, where, as the name suggests, the Saône and the Rhône meet, the Musée des Confluences received more than 150,000 visitors in the first few weeks of 2015, having opened just before Christmas, 2014.

If you have never visited a museum in your life before, and even if you vowed you never would; now is the time to break that vow. Go out of your way to visit Lyon for this museum alone; you will not be disappointed...amazed, sure, but not disappointed. This extravagantly modern concept in museum design is the successor of the former Musée Guimet and the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle to whose collections, with superlative understatement, ‘it has given a new configuration’.

And what a configuration! This is Brigit Bardot meets the Eiffel Tower meets the Millau Viaduct meets a team of museum-ists with a very idiosyncratic slant on design, and, possibly, exclusive access to be best wines of the Rhône valley. This is a dynamic and thought-provoking project that confronts contemporary questions, issues and challenges, or, in less articulate language, one weird, wacky world of wonderment.

The building itself is a monumental collaboration of ideas meant to create an environment that facilitates the links between things of the earth and things of the skies, of Crystal and Cloud, symbolising openness to the surrounding world.

The Cloud element is constructed from a diversity of materials and standing on three principal columns and fourteen monumental pillars that provide a load-bearing skeleton and an outer skin with a combined weight of 6,000 tonnes.

Inside, it’s all lifts and escalators and stairs and metal struts and great glass roofs. One floor is given to temporary exhibitions, although with more than 800 items on display it would take some changing; one level up and we reached the permanent displays set either side of a grand couloir. There are more than 3,000 pieces on display from stromatolites to a huge-osaurus, butterflies to brown bears, luxury cars to waffle makers; it’s all quite bewildering in the most delightful way. Even the adults gaze in wonder.

The underlying thought behind the permanent displays is to demonstrate the enormous variety of human existence, ‘...encompassing nature and the environment, the objects we have created and the techniques we have developed, but also our myths, narratives and geographical locations.’ 

There are museums and museums, but I have to say this doesn't feel like a museum, it doesn't look like a museum, and it doesn't smell like a museum. You really can spend a whole day in here – with a break for lunch, of course – and since that’s what I did, I heartily commend you to do the same.


Musée des Confluences

86 quai Perrache, CS 30180, 69285 Lyon

Tel: 04 28 38 12 00


Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm (Thursday 10pm)

Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am-7pm

Recent Articles

  1. French Food and Drink - No BS Guide for lovers of Food, Wine, Liqueurs

    Aug 28, 19 03:18 AM

    Our guide to French food and drink for those who love traditional French food along with our no BS guide to understanding French wine and liqueurs

    Read More

  2. Things To Do In Carcassonne The Ultimate Tourist Guide

    Aug 24, 19 06:26 PM

    The ultimate tourist guide to things to do in Carcassonne when you visit this wonderful town in Aude France. Discover the places to go and see in Carcassone.

    Read More

  3. Lyon Old Town Guide to Vieux Lyon

    Aug 18, 19 07:48 AM

    Your complete guide to Lyon old town otherwise known as the Vieux Lyon. Don't miss this amazing part of the city if you're visiting Lyon in France.

    Read More

  4. 18 French Villages You Must Visit Most Beautiful Villages in France

    Aug 17, 19 06:31 AM

    Our guide to the 18 most beautiful French villages you simply must visit. Loads of info, photos and facts in our ultimate villages in France tourist guide

    Read More

  5. What a Pissoir - The True Story of France's Unique Urinals

    Aug 13, 19 03:47 PM

    Is there anything more French than a pissoir? Sadly on the decline nevertheless the pissor is an endring image of the country. This is their story

    Read More