The festival

Quais du Polar has become THE key event of the genre in France. Firmly established in the French and European cultural scenery, it is both recognised by the professionals and an ever-increasing audience attending the different events organised by the festival. Since 2005, authors from 51 different nationalities are invited.

A choice of novels, graphic novels, TV series, films, round-tables, meetings and conferences, suspense quests in the streets of Lyon, exhibitions, games… throughout the three-day 16th edition of the festival.

The festival is for all audiences: from bulimic crime fiction readers, amateur detectives, crime column fans and thrill-seeking moviegoers to curious passers-by, citizens well-informed in world affairs, party goers who love meeting people, and graphics and comic book enthusiasts… Whatever your age, whatever your gang, day and night, Quais du Polar is the place to be!

The festival is totally free except from film viewings and some events in our partner bars and museums.

Mediation actions 

“Polar behind the walls”: initiated in 2002 by the Rhone-Alpes Agency for Book and Documentation, Quais du Polar take back this initiative in 2012, supported by the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region. Different authors invited to the festival are going in different regional penitentiaries to reinforce the “inside/outside” relationship, to help prisoners (re)discover the noir genre literature and raise awareness about the genre.

The Readers Prize for Polar behind the walls: created in 2003 by the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes – Livre et lecture (former ARALD), Savoie-biblio and Ocre Bleu, the prize is awarded by the Rhône-Alpes region penitentiaries prisoners, making them responsible for designating “the” noir genre francophone novel of the year among a selection of 6 novels chosen by the festival partner bookshops.

Since 2012, the prize is coordinated by the Quais du Polar association, in collaboration with seconded teams from municipal and regional partner libraries, National Education Department and cultural associations. They facilitate reading groups within the penitentiaries, in collaboration with Integration and Probation Penitentiary Services for prisoners to (re)discover the noir genre literature.

Meetings in hospital environment: Quais du Polar has been introducing and developing a close collaboration with cultural services and various hospital centres for several editions, like Saint-Luc-Saint-Joseph centre or the Ferme du Vinatier.

Educational actions: In 2018/2019, 56 preschool students, 1463 primary school students, 1031 secondary school students, 776 high school students and 148 students have read the novels from the invited authors, have participated to writing contests, to meetings with authors, to the city Investigation, to noir movies screenings at the Lumière Institute and have taken part in the various educational activities offered by Quais du Polar. A training day is also offered to teachers, librarians and archivists.

Crime fiction genre

The image of detective literature or noire literature has kept developing in the last few years. It is now a definitely modern genre chosen by a lot of people, including literature amateurs and movie-goers.

A contemporary genre

Classified in the past as minor, crime fiction has become one of the favourite genres in France. Nowadays one book out of 5 published in France is a crime fiction novel, that is more than 1200 titles published, 80 specialised series and 20 million copies sold each year. An increasing and unprecedented enthusiasm which has now an impact on cinema television or drama.

A favourite literary genre

James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, David Peace, Michael Connelly… are often referred to as the greatest contemporary authors, not to mention the novels of Dan Brown, Jean-Christophe Grangé, Harlan Coben or Patricia Cornwell… which regularly appear at the top of the best-seller lists – all genres taken together.

An international genre

Far from the clichés of the private detective in his/her raincoat, the roman noir tackles present social issues and gives a thorough insight into the world of authors from different nationalities (The United-States, Europe, Latin America, Scandinavia, Russia, Asia…)

A large audience

Crime fiction does not only attract the usual novel reader, it also arouses the occasional reader’s interest. Its readership is feminine as well as masculine, with no distinction of age, each reader having his or her own favourite ‘sub-genres’ whether it be thriller, historical, spy or mystery fiction…

Lyon, city of crime

Lyon has witnessed the birth of the LUMIÈRE brothers, criminal anthropology with Alexandre LACASSAGNE and forensic science with Edmond LOCARD. Not to mention some great names of crime literature, cinema or illustration with Frédéric DARDJacques DERAYBertrand TAVERNIER or Jacques TARDI. As Renaissance European capital of printing, book and humanism, Lyon is also a city which lived memorable popular revolts and political utopias.

Over a long period Lyon has been synonymous with foggy rivers, the mysteries of esotericism and of its two-thousand year history, and of the dark vision conveyed by its leading writers such as Jean REVERZY or Louis CALAFERTE. It is now a metropolitan area on the move and a stronghold for European culture and art de vivre.

Between the Saône and the Rhône rivers, the fictional world of crime fiction is still present, a product of a constantly evolving urban, social and cultural environment. This is why, along with the greatest authors of the genre, we wanted the public to discover or re-discover crime fiction as a whole through a program providing a different perspective on the city.