Back in 2019, when my friend heard that we were to spend a weekend in Lyon over the Toussaint holidays, she asked if we were heading to Mini World Lyon, to see the Harry Potter Lego® exhibition: « L’expo-dont-on-ne-doit-pas-prononcer-le-nom » . . . and that got me wondering if I would be able to fit in a visit to our already busy weekend in Lyon, as I had two little Harry Potter fans!
As Mini World Lyon is located on the outskirts of Lyon, in Vaulx-en-Velin, I decided to leave our visit until the end of the weekend: the surprise icing on the cake!
[ note: Mini World Lyon kindly offered tickets for the MBFF family, but all opinions in this article are our own! ]
What is there to see at Mini World Lyon?
As its name clearly states, Mini World Lyon is a mini world (!): an imaginative miniature world set across 3000 m², and the largest animated miniature world in France!
Mini World Lyon is absolutely delightful, the attention to detail is nuanced and quite incredible, and there are many humorous touches! If you look closely, you’ll find famous people, references to TV and film, cartoon characters, and also « Où est Charlie ? », hidden throughout the 70,000 inhabitants!
You’ll find 4 different permanent miniature worlds to visit here:
- mini worlds: (1) town, (2) mountains and (3) countryside – 70,000 hours of work were required to build these first 3 worlds of Mini World Lyon . . . you’ll be treated to so many wonderful, imaginative – and humourous at times – scenes, including the Tour de France, a ski resort, a city sports centre. The different worlds alternate between night and day, allowing you to see each scene in a different hue . . . And also, every hour is a light show recreated by the team behind La Fête des Lumières! Over the festive Christmas period, the mini worlds sparkle with added lights in the Village de Noël . . .
- (4) La Ville de Lyon et sa Fête des Lumières – the 4th world is dedicated to the city of Lyon, its different quarters and its now world-famous Fête des Lumières! You’ll find recreated in mini form: (1) Vieux Lyon, Fourvière & Saint-Jean: Colline de Fourvière, Cathédrale Saint-Jean, the Roman ruins; (2) Part-Dieu, Le Parc de la Tête d’Or and the Quais du Rhône, with its swimming pool; (3) La Presqu’île: the Place Bellecour and the Fresque des Lyonnais . . . in all, 1000+ buildings, 35,000 inhabitants, thousands of vehicles = 50 000 hours of work and 20 human builders!
[ ⇒ for more information about the permanent mini worlds, see here ]
Star Wars l’Expo LEGO – until 5th March 2023 – ” 4 ans après le succès de la première expo LEGO STAR WARS®, c’est une version inédite de l’exposition qui fait son retour à Mini World Lyon jusqu’au 5 mars 2023 ! Plongez dans les univers cultes de la saga Star Wars au travers d’oeuvres monumentales intégralement construites en briques LEGO®. Plus d’un million de briques assembléesont été nécessaires pour reproduire des lieux entiers des différents épisodes. Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Yoda, Dark Vador, l’Empereur, C3P0, les Ewoks, les Stormtroopers … ce sont des milliers de personnages de la sagaqui seront au rendez-vous dans cetteexposition. ”
[ OÙ EST CHARLIE ? while you are at Mini World Lyon, you can look for Charlie! If you find his hiding places and let them know in the boutique at the end of your visit, then you’ll be rewarded with a prize! ]
The story behind Mini World Lyon
I loved reading about the origins of this unique space on the website: one Sunday in 2012 Richard Richarté, today the director of Mini World Lyon, was having a little clear up of his garage . . . there he found a box of miniature model sets and he asked his daughter to help him build them. As they constructed the models together, and he witnessed her enthousiasm, an idea began to take shape; he searched on the internet and found a video of Miniatur Wunderland, the largest animated miniature park in the world, located in Hamburg. The following weekend, he departed for Germany to visit the park, and he was blown away by what he saw. He realised that there was no such park in France, and decided to set up his business, convinced that it could be a successful project. He set up the company in 2013, and surrounded himself by a skilled and dedicated team in Vaulx-en-Velin to kickstart the project.
choosing the right logo:
You can choose a guided visit, to learn more about the construction of Mini World Lyon.
We didn’t have time to visit the 3D cinema on our visit to Mini World Lyon, but it is included in the price of your ticket. Two or three films are shown in 3D, in alternance, throughout the opening hours. You are advised to only take children 7+ years, as there could be scenes that frighten very young viewers.
MBFF’s experience at Mini World Lyon
When I arranged our visit to Mini World Lyon, I truly thought that I was organising a special treat just for the boys, and that we – the parents – would be tagging along . . . I never realised how much WE, the parents, would LOVE it! In all honesty, before our visit, I hadn’t read up much about this mini world, and so I wasn’t aware of the hours of intricate detail (and humour!) put into the models. I could have honestly spent hours there (preferably on my own!).
There is a restaurant on-site at Mini World Lyon, called La Place, where you will find cantine staples: burgers, paninis, pasta, desserts . . . It is immersed into the atmosphere of the world, with colourful lights projected on the walls.
Alternatively, you have options nearby, in the shopping mall Carré de Soie: website;
🌳 Parc de la Tête d’Or – we have now visited this enormous park in Lyon twice, and both times LOVED it! This park was created in the 19th century, « pour donner de la nature à ceux qui n’en ont pas » and it truly feels like the lungs of Lyon!
There is so much to see and do there:
- 🦒 Zoo de Lyon (a FREE zoo located within the park, and with an African plaine!) and deer park;
- the NEW Forêt d’Asie greenhouses and a botanical garden;
- grass for running;
- playgrounds & a manège;
- a boating lake . . .
getting there & the various access points: see here;
website & FB pageprogramme zoo & jardins botaniques address: Parc de la Tête d’Or, 69006, LYON (6è arrondissment)
🖼 Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (MACLyon) – which puts on the Biennale de Lyon every two years;
website address: MACLyon, 81 quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon
🎪 Cirque Imagine – ” le cirque autrement ” – a permanent circus in Lyon Carré de Soie, with an école de cirque, Le Cirque de Noël and more ;
website & FB page address: Cirque Imagine, 5 avenue des Canuts, Lyon
🪐 Le Planétarium de Vaulx-en-Velin – astronomy and sciences of the universe!
website address: Le Planétarium de Vaulx-en-Velin, Place de la Nation, Vaulx-en-Velin
🛹 Skate Park Carré de Soie – there is a skate park just opposite, in the Hippodrome de Lyon!
address: 1 avenue de Bohlen, 69120 Vaulx-en-Velin
🚵♂️ WeRide – this indoor bike park has been recommended by some MBFF readers!
website & FB page address: 7 impasse Louis Saillant, Vaulx-en-Velin
🗺 getting there: see here;
website & FB page address: Mini World Lyon, Pôle du Carré de Soie, 3 avenue de Bohlen, 69120, Vaulx-en-Velin