The Saône: Lyon, Musée Miniature et Cinéma

Inside a miniature theater at Musée Miniature et Cinéma in Lyon

One of the more unique things to see in Lyon is the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. The museum in Lyon’s old quarter holds collections devoted to the art of miniatures and to special effect techniques used in films prior to the digital age. Both portions of the museum are interesting. But of the two the exhibits of elaborate miniatures is the most distinctive and memorable; they are said to be unique in France.

A hospital for very small patients

A cafeteria that serves only small meals.

In 2005 miniaturist Dan Ohlmann opened the doors of the museum. For the price of admission visitors can see more than 100 surprisingly realistic miniscule scenes. From the furniture to the lighting, the small rooms are amazingly accurate and intricately crafted. It’s a living museum; artists on the staff and from abroad create new scenes in the workshop. It is said that it’s never the same museum twice, all the more reason to return for a visit.

By the naked eye the miniatures appear as small dollhouse-scaled rooms. It’s hard to discern the level of detail. But as intended these small worlds come to life before a camera. Indeed, this is a place where viewing the photos afterwards is an important part of a visitor’s experience. Just remember to crank down the aperture on your lens, if you can; managing the depth of field in these small scenes is a challenge. Bring your macro lens if you have one.

A small loft in the city

Impressive details

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Musée Miniature et Cinéma is located at Maison des Avocats, once home to Lyon’s lawyers, at 60 rue Saint Jean in Vieux Lyon. The closest Metro stop is the Vieux Lyon Station. From the port de plaisance at La Confluence, it is very convenient to take Le Vaperetto, the water ferry that shuttles riders up and down the Saône. For 2€ passengers get transportation and a good view of Lyon.

A museum within the museum

Le Vaperetto departs Lyon’s port de plaisance

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