Located in Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d’Or, roughly 12km from Lyon, the Demeure du Chaos (Abode of Chaos) is a contemporary art museum. Featuring thousands of works from a broad spectrum of artists, including the museum’s owner Thierry Ehrmann. 

The Abode is essentially a 17th century post house and former Protestant church that has been transformed into a replica war zone (or more accurately, post-war zone). It contrasts dramatically with the rest of the picturesque and peaceful village. The house is an extremely controversial piece of art in itself, and has provoked a great deal of media interest since it first opened in 1999. Local residents and the authorities have regularly made complaints about the Abode since its inception, but it remains a much talked-about part of Lyon’s artistic scene. 

Of the museum the Guardian newspaper has written; “The Abode of Chaos is a challenging environment which asks fundamental questions about the nature of change and chaos in our world, a world of flux and a constant cycle of upheaval and regeneration. We need places like this”.

Legal challenges

Ever controversial, the Demeure du Chaos has been the subject of several (if not regular) legal challenges. Most notably in 2009, the Court of Cassation, which is France’s highest court, declared that Mr Ehrmann had to revert his home to its previous state. Grenoble’s Court of Appeals issued a fine of €750 per day for Ehrmann’s continued non-compliance in 2013. In 2014, the Court of Cassation intervened in the case once more by reversing the decision of the lower court. It ruled that it should have been ensured that Erhmann was assisted by legal counsel, or by his wife, at the 2013 hearing owing to his manic-depressive condition. In 2016 the law on freedom of creation, architecture and patrimony was passed, leading Mr Ehrmann to announce on his blog that he was celebrating an “absolute victory”.

Thierry Erhmann

Variously described as a Luciferian punk, freemason, artist, unruly eccentric and entrepreneur, the Abode of Chaos is owned by Thierry Erhmann. He lives on-site from where he also runs his websites Groupe Serveur and Art Price. Erhmann has famously claimed that his goal is to “‘de-legendise’ the world”. His belief is that if people open their eyes, they can witness that the world is in constant renewal and deconstruction, nothing remains static. His desire is to pull apart, knock down, build on top, trample on, again and again.

Address: 17 Rue de la République, 69270 Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d’Or

Transport: Bus 43 stops at St Romain (Couzon-au-Mont-d’Or). The Abode of Chaos is just over 10 minutes walk from the bus stop. 

Opening hours:

The Abode of Chaos is open on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

April to September: 2:30pm – 6:30pm

October to March: 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Last entry 45 minutes before closure.

Closed the 1st of January and the 25th of December. 

Prices: Free

Accessibility: Staff at the Abode of Chaos are happy to assist visitors with reduced mobility. The visit is partially accessible to wheelchair users.

Prams, pushchairs and children are welcome.

Animals under the supervision and responsibility of their owners are welcome.