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Designated: 2023
Population: 523,000

Language: French

Contact Lyon

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Lyon, a book city


In the 16th century, Lyon was one of the main European capitals of books and humanism. It was part of a European movement in which a technological innovation became the driving force behind many cultural, linguistic, social and religious changes. In the mid-16th century, 600 people made their living from printing in Lyon. This boom coincided with the transformation of the visual space of books and helped to change the way the world was represented.Today, there are many reminders of this golden age: from the most abstract (street names) to the most tangible (volumes preserved in libraries and now digitised), from urban spaces preserved. 


All aspects of the book industry are covered in Lyon, forming a rich ecosystem: the region has 286 independent bookshops (750 jobs), 25% of which are in the Lyon metropolitan area. 600 authors live in the area, including writers, poets, children's authors and illustrators, and comic strip authors, who have joined creative workshops and professional networks.The city has one of the largest municipal libraries in France (431 jobs), of which one out of every two 10-year-olds in Lyon is a member. 

Lyon, a literary scene


The City supports a wide range of festivals, open to the world and encompassing all literary genres (science fiction, thrillers, comics, poetry, debates on ideas, press cartoons, illustration, etc.).

When it comes to contemporary writing, Lyon supports authors, illustrators, translators and artists through hospitable venues.

In this respect, Lyon aims to make the link between literature and the stage: how do we stage contemporary stories with dramaturgy, choreography, music and film?


Literature live festival

Every year in May, the Villa Gillet organises an international festival of literature, inviting writers, artists, poets and philosophers to discover literature in all its forms and in all languages: for a week, writers talk to us about worlds from the books they write. Literary conversations, readings, performances, literary DJ sets, discovery stages.

Quais du polar

Founded 20 years ago, the Quais du Polar festival has become "THE" must-attend event for the thriller genre in France. Now an established part of the French and European cultural landscape, it is recognised both by book and publishing professionals and by the general public, who turn out in ever-increasing numbers for the various events organised by the festival. Novels, comics, TV series, films, round-table discussions, meetings, urban surveys, theatre, exhibitions, games... are all on offer every year at the beginning of April.

Lyon BD festival

Created in 2005, the Lyon Comic Festival is organised every year in June by a team who are passionate about the 9th art.

Exhibitions, meetings, workshops, comic concerts and interaction between artists and publics that goes beyond simple book signings are organised, bringing together as many authors and publishing houses as possible in the city's emblematic cultural venues (City hall, theatres, museums, cinemas, cultural centres and others).

Magnifique printemps

Held every year in March, Magnifique Printemps is a festival of poetry and the French language. Born of the desire to bring together the Printemps des Poètes and the Week for the French Language and Francophonie in the region, Magnifique Printemps is an invitation to marvel at the power of words!

Mode d’emploi

Mode d'emploi, the Villa Gillet's festival of ideas, offers workshops and meetings every November to shed light on contemporary debates. Philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and journalists are invited to question and compare the place of freedom in our contemporary narratives and mobilisations, the tools and practices of ecological redirection, and the metamorphoses of intelligence and information.

Belles latinas

Since its creation in October 2002, the Belles Latinas festival has been aimed at all audiences, readers of crime novels, historical fiction, poetry and other literary genres, but above all those with a passion for literature from elsewhere. It may sometimes speak to us of other realities, but it is never totally removed from what we are concerned about here.



Villa Gillet: The Villa Gillet is a European and international centre for contemporary writing. It is a place where writers, thinkers and artists can meet and create, so that literature and the humanities can become a common language. It is a laboratory for reflection on practices related to books, writing, speech and debate.

Each year, the Villa Gillet runs two international residencies, eight cultural action residencies in primary and secondary school classes in the Greater Lyon area and a residency with an illustrator.

Discover the 2023-2024 residents


Collège Graphique: Lyon BD Organisation works to support artists in their creative endeavours, thereby affirming its commitment to defending the status of authors. 

Their programme of creative residencies is aimed primarily at the following types of artist:

- Artists who are prevented from working (precarious status; living far from urban areas; exiled; censored, etc.).

- Emerging artists (young graduates; self-taught; professional reconversions, etc.).

- Established artists (who have already been published by a publisher).

- Artists who are nationals of an EU member country


Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication: La Fabrique is the museum's system of residencies. Taking part in La Fabrique gives artists the chance to take time to reflect on their practice and career, while sharing their influences and day-to-day work with the team and the public.

The residency is dedicated to an artist working in the field of printing or, more generally graphic arts in general. The format of this residency enables the artist to work on a creative project, working independently in the museum's studio spaces, but also to come into contact with visitors in the form of meetings. Finally, an exhibition at the museum the residency, showing the culmination of the artistic project.

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