The “Hangar du Premier film”


All year round films are programmed so that visitors can (re)discover cinema from all the different time periods and geographic origins and see and re-see cinema classics at a unique site: the location where the very first Lumière film was made!


Vueinterieur Hangar Crédit (360°): Brice Genevois


The Story of the First Film Shed

The birthplace of cinema

In 1882,  production of instantaneous photographic plates developed by Louis Lumière is the main activity of the Monplaisir factory. The production process, divided up into different workshops, combines both manual tasks, accomplished mainly by female workers and automated operations carried out using the machines designed by the Lumière brothers.  In 1890, the firm is flourishing and production of the “blue label” plates hits an all time high of 350 000 dozen for the year, to such an extent that the family company acquires the plot of land and becomes a limited liability company with a capital of 3 000 000 French francs. Under Antoine’s initiative, medical services for the workers, assistance for pregnant women and mothers and a contribution system for employee retirement are introduced. The global success of the blue labels remained steadfast for the next fifty years.

sortie sortie-usines2 sortie-usines3

Sortie des usines Lumière, le premier film de Louis Lumière  © Association Frères Lumière

The first set, the first actors

On 19 March 1895, Louis Lumière places his camera facing the shed, in front of the factory’s main gate, turns the handle and films the men and women leaving the workshops.  Sortie d’usine thus becomes the first Lumière film and the shed, the first set in the history of cinema. Several takes of the same subject were shot later on - at different moments in the year - if the shadows on each of the versions are anything to go by. The shed is hence a vital remnant in the memory of cinema.



Photo A. Franchella © Inventaire du Patrimoine

Saved in extremis

Left to go to seed when the Lumière factories were destroyed in the beginning of the 1970s, the shed was nearly demolished to make way for a building project at the beginning of the 1980s. But thanks to a group of passionate enthusiasts who wanted to protect the Lumière brothers’ heritage at all costs, one of whom was Bernard Chardère, the founder of the magazine Positif and first director of the Institut Lumière, it was saved from destruction. Classified as a historical monument by the French Ministry for Culture during Cinema’s centenary celebrations in 1995, it is now seamlessly integrated into the contemporary architecture of the Institut Lumière projection room, the first stone of which was laid the same year, in the presence of film directors from all around the world.

The Restoration

A contest was launched by the local authorities for the restoration of the First Film Shed and the construction of a projection room.

Hangar Du Premier Film Copyright

The restoration was completed between 1997 and 1998 by the chief architect of the French Historic Monuments, Didier Reppelin and the architect Pierre Colboc for the overall project, associated with Michel Cova for scenography.

Inaugurated in 1998, the total cost amounted to €2.81 Million, financed by the City of Lyon (€1.28 Million), the Ministry for Culture (€0.61 Million), the Rhone General Council (€0.46 Million) and the Rhône-Alps Region (€ 0.46 Million).



In pursuit of the dream

Today the set of the first film has been saved and is home to a movie theatre with 269 seats. Films are now screened at the site where images were first developed. The men and women in the factories have made way for the cinema spectators on the site where cinema was invented. And filmmakers now come and celebrate the place that made their passion possible: each year, during the Lumière festival, the world's most famous film directors position their camera on the same spot as Louis and stage and shoot their version of Sortie d’usine.

The Shed is open to visitors from Tuesday to Friday from 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.


hangarBig4Les 4 photos ci-dessus on été réalisées par J-L Mège


The other Lumière sites


The Lumière villa


The filmmakers wall


The garden


The Lumière villa is the last surviving evidence in Lyon of the tremendous industrial success of Antoine Lumière and his two eldest sons [...]



The rue du Premier-Film is a lot less wide and long than Hollywood Boulevard and its Walk of Fame in Los Angeles [...]




When the Villa Lumière was restored, a 7.000 square meter garden was created. A true haven of peace in the city [...]


Discover the Lumière site

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