For several weeks, the capital of Gaul has been immersed in the universe “mythical” of ancient Egypt with several exhibitions and events related to the history of the pharaohs. Deciphering a (very) old Lyon passion.
Since September 2022, the city of Lyon has immersed its residents in the world of ancient Egypt. On September 29, the Tutankhamun exhibition Discovery of the Forgotten Pharaoh opened its doors to La Sucrière, in “respond to this fascination of ancient Egypt among the French”, supports Cédric Moulart, exhibition designer.
In progress, at the Museum of Fine Arts, exhibition In search of the forgotten hieroglyphs gives you the opportunity to come and find out “Egyptian antiquities of rare quality”, announces Geneviève Galliano, chief curator of the department at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon. Finally, in a completely different style, a journey “in virtual reality” at La Confluence shopping center lets you find out from November 3rd Keops pyramid.
Bicentennial of the decipherment of hieroglyphs
The emulsion of events in the capital of Gaul is no coincidence, says Geneviève Galliano. “In 2022, we celebrate the bicentenary of the first hieroglyphs deciphered by Jean-François Champollion.” At that time, the 32-year-old researcher from Isère had made it possible to understand the writing of one of the greatest civilizations of antiquity.
In general, this period of history has a “mythical connotation that intrigues people”, says Emmanuel Guerriero, co-founder of the Cheops pyramid virtual reality tour. For Cédric Moulart, there is “A true fascination of ancient Egypt”.
There is something for everyone
Today in Lyon, the three events in Egypt “are completely different and also complementary at the same time”, says the director of the Tutankhamun exhibition. “With the possibility of doing virtual reality at the Confluence mall, like going to exhibits about a pharaoh or discovering hieroglyphs. People have a choice.”
The grandeur and beauty of objects “visitor intrigue”. “With all three events, there is the possibility of discovering Egypt in different ways,” notes Geneviève Galliano. The curiosity about the Nile country is “between generations” AND “With the variety of events, it is possible to discover the country’s history in different forms.”
Alongside the events that will be held in Lyon for several months, Geneviève Galliano explains that Lyon has a special connection with ancient Egypt. It is possible to follow a courseof Egyptology in the city, one of the few in France”. Offered at the Université Lumière-Lyon 2, the DUESE (DU Specialized Studies in Egyptology) degree aims to provide solid linguistic and historical foundations on ancient Egypt in four years.
Of course, the people of Lyon are not the only ones rushing to the exhibitions this autumn, as Cédric Moulart points out. “People come from the region and even from far away, they travel for miles.” L‘The Tutankhamun exhibition has already welcomed more than 40,000 visitors to La Sucrière since it opened at the end of September. With a planned closing for April, the exhibition designer does not rule out an extension.
France’s history with Egypt begins with Napoleon. Eager to expand his territory, the new emperor had set out for Egypt. Despite the defeat against the English, the emperor did not leave this land empty-handed, “Napoleon had received scholars who had scoured the country and brought back many artifacts.” points out Geneviève Galliano.
After this Bonapartist incursion, Egypt fascinates more and more. On September 27, 1822, after hard work, Jean-François Champollion removed the veil of the hieroglyphic writing of the pharaohs. “The young man from Isère Champollion becomes at this moment the father of Egyptology”. At that time, François Artaud, the first director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, met with the Egyptologist. Fascinated by the character, he will exhibit the discoveries of Isérois in his museum. Since then, the close ties between Lyon and the pharaohs have continued.