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Years late, but worth the wait? Lyon's Musée des Confluences opens its doors

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By Sarah Taylor
Years late, but worth the wait? Lyon's Musée des Confluences opens its doors

It’s late, it’s over-budget and some feared it would never come to fruition. But, this weekend (December 20) the very modern Musée des Confluences opened in the historic French city of Lyon.

Situated at the ‘confluence’ of the Saône and Rhône rivers, the museum looks like something out of a sci-fi film.

Its content is equally imaginative. Exhibits ranging from the Earth to life, science and social sciences to technology are all housed under one roof.

Although the build has not been an easy one, architect Wolf D. Prix appeared happy with the finished product.

“At this moment, all of us who’ve worked on the project are feeling quite proud. It’s beautiful”, he enthused.

Delayed by some seven years, reports suggest, and estimated to have more than doubled from its projected cost of 60 million to around 180 million euros, the museum has been plagued with problems since bids for construction were placed in 2001.

But it was worth the wait, according to one visitor.

“Inside, it’s magical”, she said. “We pass through various stages with special use of lighting, which creates a distinctive atmosphere. So, it’s magical – quite spectacular.”

Our correspondent Frédéric Ponsard believes the museum will be good for the city. He said:

“Financial and architectural contention aside, the Musée des Confluences has finally opened its doors in Lyon. It’s a strong symbol for the city – a new kind of museum for the 21st century, with a mixture of subject matter and periods in history.”