Situated on the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône, the Musée des Confluences is an absolute must-see in Lyon. Set in the heart of a monumental structure of metal and glass, the Musée des Confluences presents a journey through time and across continents to observe the world around us.
The permanent exhibition trail
Unmissable in Lyon, the musée des Confluences tells the story of mankind and the history of life. Unprecedented in the world of European museums, it sets up a dialogue between all the sciences to better understand the world.
Origins - Stories of the World
All of us on the planet share the same questions on the origin of the world and our place in it. Numerous narratives from Inuit, Aboriginal and Chinese cultures and the indianised civilizations of Asia deliver interpretations of the beginning of the Universe, life and humanity. Alongside this science does not cease to take an interest. The exhibition invites us to go back in time to the Big Bang along a trail that suggests two approaches to explaining the world: one illustrated by natural science and scientific and technical collections and the other illustrated by ethnographical and modern collections.
Species - the Web of life
The join between what has been called humanity and animality is a universal preoccupation. The exhibition questions the way in which human beings see the world, are integrated in it and contribute to modifying it. Living beings, human and non-human, weave into the world a network of varied links, a mesh in which everything holds together and corresponds. The trail is naturally structured by this mesh, made up of 27 kilometres of strings. This scenography, all in metaphors, thus makes tangible the asymmetric links that unite the different species of the living world.
Societies - Human theatre
A human being is a migrant who is able to come together with others, stops for a time and forms societies, cultures and civilisations. The exhibition questions these ways of functioning on the basis of three constants, namely organisation, exchange and creation. The scenography creates a novel landscape that arouses curiosity by juxtaposing and dialogue with exhibits stemming from remote cultures and periods.
Eternities - Visions of the beyond
What is the place of death in this day and age when its limits are constantly being pushed back? Unlike other living beings the human being questions himself about the afterlife. Funeral rites express in part the desire to go beyond that inconceivable end. They render acceptable the separation of the living and the dead and afford a different perspective on disappearance. Ceremony, gestures, words, by appeasing and attributing a new place to everyone, contribute to re-establishing a shattered social order.
Situated at the apex of the Lyon peninsula, the musée des Confluences enjoys an exceptional architecture. Like a sign at the south entrance to the Metropolis its audacious structure was designed by the Coop Himmelb(l)au agency. The Cloud, the heart of the museum, houses the 5,000 square metres of permanent and temporary exhibitions. From the top of its 33 metres of glass the Crystal is the monumental hall of the museum. Bathed in light its Gravity Well is the starting point for the visit. The approaches to the museum are fitted out to favour moments of escape and relaxation. Around the water basins walkways lead to the garden which is 24,400 square metres in area. This area of verdure, marked off by the rivers Rhône and Saône, grants access to the apex of the confluence. On the roof of the museum the terrace offers an exceptional panoramic view of Lyon and its surrounding area with the chain of the Alps and Mont Blanc as the culminating peak.
On level 1 of the museum the spaces devoted to temporary exhibitions extend over an area of 3,500 square metres. These are regularly renewed during the course of each cultural season.
Headdresses from around the World, Antoine de Galbert’s donation (2019|06|06 – 2020|03|15)
Surprising, and sometimes spectacular, this headwear reflects great cultural diversity through its various shapes and materials.
Mini-monsters, the invisibles (2019|26|06 – 2020|08|05)
Exhibition for young visitors (7-12 years old), to see as a family
Present on our bodies, thousands of insects and mites have shared our daily lives over the ages. They include lice, fleas, ticks and flies. They contribute to the balance of an ecosystem that we are upsetting.
Prison, beyond the walls (2019|18|10 – 2020|26|07)
What is the reality of prisons today? The exhibition invites visitors to reflect upon the current prison system inherited from the eighteenth century through the stories told by former inmates as well as representations of our collective imagination.
Museums as seen by Plonk & Replonk (2019|19|12 – 2020|01|11)
Known around the world for their use of altered images, Swiss artists Plonk & Replonk visited the museum's stores and gave free rein to their imagination.
Traces of the Living (2020|07|02 – 2020|06|12)
Bones, teeth and even horns are what remain of living beings. By studying them, we can trace our history and learn about the body structure of vertebrates.
Cultural and scientific rendezvous
A veritable live hub, the musée des Confluences proposes, all through the year, activities for all echoing the permanent and temporary exhibitions. > Link to the agenda
Maps in French, English, Italian, Spanish,German and a booklet for children (aged 7 and up) and parents are available on site.
The digital guide – downloadable from a smartphone. Available from December 2016 in French, Italian and English.
The pocket-sized museum guide provides further information on the permanent collections. On sale (in French and English) at the museum shop at a price of €15.00
T. +33 (0)4 28 38 12 12
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 11 am – 7 pm
Thursday 11 am – 10 pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10 am – 7 pm
Closed on Mondays and 1 January, 1 May and 25 December