Of particular interest to any visiting anthropologists is the Musée Africain de Lyon (the African Museum of Lyon). The oldest museum in France dedicated to Africa, its focus is on West Africa of the 19th and 20th centuries. 


The Musée Africain de Lyon was opened in 1861 by the Catholic “Société des Missions Africaines” under the direction of Monseigneur Marion de Brésillac. Following his death, Augustin Planque succeeded him and requested that the missionaries of the Society send to France items which reflected the everyday, social and religious life of West Africa. In 1998, the refurbishment and restoration of its building was begun. The museum was formally reopened on the 28th of January 2001.

The museum today

Since reopening, the museum has thrived. The building now boasts 750m² for the display of its permanent collection, which comprises 2,126 African objects. Notable pieces include bronze figurines from Benin (modern-day Nigeria), arms of the Touareg people, decorative trims and a set of geometrical weights (Ghana and the Ivory Coast) that were used for weighing gold dust.  An additional room is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The goal of the museum is to reflect three different aspects of life: daily life of the people, social life, and religious faith. The museum remains under the ownership and direction of the Société des Missions africaines.

Conferences, workshops and guided visits: Events are organised periodically. For dates and times check the museum’s website; https://www.musee-africain-lyon.org/

Address: 150 Cours Gambetta, 69007 Lyon

Transport: The closest metro station is Garibaldi (line D). Tramway stop Manufacture-Montluc (Tramway T4) is slightly closer. Buses C7 and C25 also stop at Manufacture-Montluc.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 2:00pm – 6:00pm.


Full tariff €8.00

Under 14 years €2.00