Quiet on set!

With more than 40 cinemas spread across Lyon, as well as 20+ film festivals, the 7th art has always held a special place in the culture of both the city itself and the surrounding area.

Last updated date : 21/02/2023

As both an actor in and spectator in its own story, Lyon often acts as the backdrop for numerous series or TV films, and is internationally-renowned in the world of cinema. A tale of two brothers - Louis & Auguste Lumière.

History-making siblings

Louis & Auguste Lumière, two brothers / one name that gave the world the gift of cinema. Together, they combined cutting-edge moving picture breakthroughs, including Edison’s work, to create a first film shot with the cinematograph in spring 1895:“Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory”.

"Hangar du 1er film" - L’Institut Lumière

In Rue du Premier film, you can visit the shed, the last remains of the factory where instant photographic plates were manufactured, and the Villa Lumière, which is home to the Museum.  The villa, which is perfectly conserved, presents the many discoveries of the two engineering brothers, plus the ten films shot in 1895, publicly screened the same year at the Grand Café in Paris. It also offers a detailed account of the life of the Lumière family and is a fine example of Art Nouveau architecture.

With this heritage, Lyon is a major cinema city. This is not only due to its glorious cinematographical past, but also because cinema, like gastronomy or architecture, is part of the city’s DNA. The cinema of yesterday and today are now combined in Lyon. 

Do you want to leave a mark on Lyon’s cinematographical history? The workers leaving the Lumière factory is re-enacted on the 19 March every year. To appear as an extra, sign up on the Institut Lumière site.

Lumière Festival

This is the spirit that saw the creation of the Lumière Festival in 2009. Though its main mission is to reintroduce the public to major cinema classics, the festival has a global outreach and invites the biggest stars of the 7th art. Prestigious special guests (Clint Eastwood, Gérard Depardieu, Martin Scorsese, Ken Loach, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar, Catherine Deneuve, Wong Kar Wai, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola) give this festival an international touch, making it an unmissable date on the French cultural calendar.

Lyon celebrates cinema

To gauge cinema’s impact on our city, you just have to count the number of film festivals held here. More than twenty are organised every year, covering every imaginable audience, from fantastical film fun for kids, such as Toiles de Mômes  to engaged events like Les Ecrans du Doc and Festival On vous ment.  There are those to transport you, like Ciné O’clock or Quais du Départ, eccentric events like Hallucinations Collectives, and even “unusual” ones like Les Inattendus. In brief, there’s something for everyone and a bit of everything. 

Much-anticipated by cinephiles and music lovers, the cine-concerts are the result of a collaboration between the Institut Lumière and the Auditorium de Lyon-ONL. As Isabelle, our editor, says: “The music lights up the images, and the images amplify the music”.

To go further

Without them, maybe Lyon and the region wouldn’t be so well-known. They work every day to grow the global influence of the cinema and image industry.

  • Pôle Pixel , Villeurbanne: this business park houses a number of firms working in the image, audio and creative industries. More than 500 professionals call it their home: producers, technical and audio-visual service providers, video game developers, etc. It’s a hive of activity! Looking for a contact in the industry? You’re in the right place!
  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cinéma  and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Studios: Since the 1990s, the AuRA region has developed an ambitious and innovative cinema and audio-visual policy with the French government (CNC).  Its aim? Supporting production, encouraging image-related education, and contributing to the conservation and promotion of our cinematographical heritage. You can find out more about these noble missions on their site. Their news is suitable for all audiences so feel free to sign up to their newsletter to keep up to date with the latest productions!

Whether you’re a fanatical film-lover or an occasional cinemagoer, cinema in Lyon offers its own special twist. Keep your eyes open and get inspired by the 7th art: there’s plenty more to explore!


Virginie comes from Corsica. "We can't all be born in Lyon…" as they say. But our lovely city is now under her skin (although her beloved island remains firmly anchored in her heart).

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