The Flower Tree Sculpture in Lyon

Published on: May 8, 2014 | Last Updated on August 6, 2022
Flower Tree Sculpture on the Rhone, public art that welcomes visitors

Visitors arriving at Lyon, France by boat are welcomed to the city by a whimsical, eye-catching, larger-than-life Flower Tree sculpture that sits close to the bank of the Rhone.

Pedestrians can easily sight the Flower Tree, too, while walking on the eastern side of Place Bellecour, the city’s immense central square.

The bouquet of 85 flowers is 6-meters (almost 20-foot) tall and is actually positioned on a smaller square, called Place Antonin Poncet, beside fountains that offer a cool mist in the summer.

In winter or when clouds cover the city, the sculpture offers an expected burst of color.

Fountains near the Flower Tree Sculpture

Fountains near the Flower Tree Sculpture

Created by Korean pop artist Choi Jeong Hwa, the Flower Tree was first created for the Lyon Biennial Contemporary Art Festival (held in years ending with odd numbers) in 2003 but has been sitting at its present location since 2007 when residents of the city decided to make it a permanent fixture.

The artist, who lives and works in Seoul, uses everyday materials to create public art that seeks to engage participation. The Lyon sculpture is made of stainless steel with a durable polyester resin coating.

A “big sister” (25-meter) Flower Tree sculpture by the same artist is also on display in Shanghai.

Another view

Another view

A website for visual artists notes:

Choi Jeong Hwa’s installations invite the audience to experience these objects and materials in a new way. Viewers can touch, walk through and around the installations, creating movement through mobile, hanging pieces.

Choi Jeong Hwa challenges the status and reverence of artworks in galleries and museums by creating artworks from non traditional materials as installations, away from these formal institutions, that can be touched and experienced by an audience.

Now, a decade after its creation, you still can’t help but look at the Flower Tree and smile. In a city known for the ways in which it both preserves and reinterprets the classics, Lyon seems to be a perfect home for this spectacular piece of public art.

A symbol of Lyon

The Flower Tree: A symbol of Lyon


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  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    May 8, 2014 at 6:44 am

    My kind of art!! Beautiful!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      It’s easy to fall in love with a piece of public art that shows up in an unexpected place, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 7:17 am


  • Reply
    May 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    The flower sculpture certainly provides a colorful and happy welcome to visitors to Lyon.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    It’s such a happy feeling and colorful, what a nice way to greet tourists!

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    May 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve never heard of this before. It sort of reminds me of Chihuly, but of course it is quite different–I think it’s the colors and the subject of flowers.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    May 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Don’t you just love, Europe! They come up with the most amazing art. I remember something similar to this in Spain that inspired me.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    This is such a wonderful idea — flowers that “bloom” all year round. A day brightener for sure.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 13, 2014 at 2:52 am

      We ran into a string of cloudy days and the flowers always offer local color!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    May 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    The flower sculpture is impressive. Beautiful, especially with the fountains nearby.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I love coming across treasures such as this when we travel. Good find!

  • Reply
    Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it
    May 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I’m so glad you found this amazing work of art. What an explosion of color and I’m sure it brings smiles to visitors even on a cloudy day.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I absolutely love flowers and this sculpture is awesome! Now I have another reason to visit another area of France besides just Paris!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 14, 2014 at 1:23 am

      It’s only a little two hours from Paris on the high-speed train. Well worth a visit!

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    May 13, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    A quirky but colorful piece of public art for sure!

  • Reply
    Lisa Richardson
    May 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    That does make me smile!

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    May 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

    My favorite kind of art: the kind I can look at, appreciate and actually know what it is. Your post makes me want to return to Lyon, a place we spent far too little time, too long ago.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    What a fun sculpture installation. Lyon is a wonderful city, which such charming and welcoming people. It is also one of the great gastronomic centres of France, so is definitely worth a visit. It makes a convenient last stop on a trip through a France as the TGV can drop you directly at Charles de Gaulle for the trip home.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

      That’s exactly what we did. We took the high speed train directly from Lyon to Charles de Gaulle when we were ready to return home!

  • Reply
    Willem de S
    May 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    The tree is nice, but the surroundings are even nicer. Actually, the core/s of Lyon is/are full of nice surprises. I arrived to this place via the metro/subway and it was one of those smaller mind blowing experiences since the place where I arrived from was a quite usual looking business district.

    It’s easy to arrive to Lyon via air, water or land. It’s quite easy to make day trips in the area as well, if perhaps a bit expensive. The place was very child and senior friendly.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I fell in love with the city as you did, Willem. More surprises to come here, too:-)
      Thanks for stopping by More Time To Travel.
      Best, Irene

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I just love the flower tree! What a beautiful piece of art!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Hope you get to see it in person set against the blue sky~

  • Reply
    Anda @ Travel Notes & Beyond
    June 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Beautiful art, I love it!

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