'Le Mur des Canuts' – Lyon, France - Atlas Obscura
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Lyon, France

'Le Mur des Canuts'

Lyon's "Wall of the Silk Weavers" is one of the largest murals in Europe. 

Painted in the trompe-l’oeil style (trick the eye), “Le Mur des Canuts” is a gigantic mural depicting ordinary life in the La Croix-Rousse neighborhood of Lyon, France. Hyperrealistic in imagery and packed with intricate details, this massive mural is considered one of the largest displays of public art in Europe. 

CitéCréation, a group of mural painters, initially created the mural in 1987 to pay homage to the history of the neighborhood. La Croix-Rousse was the economic nerve center of Lyon’s silk industry during the 19th century. The word canut in French means “weaver” and refers to the silk weavers who lived and worked in La Croix-Rousse. In the late 19th century, nearly half of Lyon’s working population was employed by the industry. 

Although La Croix-Rousse is no longer the hive of silk weaving activity, the quarter still takes pride in its moniker of being “the hill that works.” It’s this indomitable spirit that led La Croix-Rousse’s silk workers to revolt against the silk merchants in 1831, protesting their harsh working conditions. 

Since its inception, the mural has been updated twice, once in 1997 and then again in 2013, keeping in tune with the transformations of the neighborhood. The mural is filled with colorful buildings, high windows rendered in pastel shades, a stone stairway, a small theater Guignol, and of course, a silk shop. The landscape of the painting also features several Croix-roussiens, the inhabitants of La Croix-Rousse. Life-like and three-dimensional in effect, this mural is an integral part of the architectural heritage of present-day Lyon.

Know Before You Go

The mural is located on Boulevard des Canuts. The nearest metro stop is Hénon on line C of the Lyon metro.

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