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 60 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 20th 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.

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

The image of police literature, or « noir » literature, has much evolved these past years. In full swing today, crime fiction is acclaimed by all readers, including « white » literature fans and cinema enthusiasts. One book out of five published in France is a crime fiction novel. That is: 1200 published titles, 80 specialised series and 20 million copies sold per year. The crime fiction genre is gaining unprecedented enthusiasm which spreads to other disciplines as well, such as cinema, TV and theatre.

An international perspective on the world

Far from the « trench coat detective » cliché, crime fiction deals with current issues of our society and offers a major opening on    the world with authors from all nationalities (USA, Europe, Latin America, Scandinavia, Asia…).

Renowned authors

James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, David Peace or Michael Connelly… are regularly listed among the greatest contemporary authors. And novels by Dan Brown, Jean-Christophe Grangé, Harlan Coben or Patricia Cornwell… are often ranking first among best sellers.

A wide audience

Crime fiction gathers both female and male readerships, from the youngest to the oldest, and they can be fond of noir, spy, mystery, thriller, historical crime fiction. Long considered as a minor genre, crime fiction is now one of the most popular literature styles in France and throughout the world.

Lyon, city of crime

Lyon witnessed the birth of cinema with the Lumière Brothers, but also: criminal anthropology, methods of scientific investigations and forensic medicine. European capital of printing, book and Renaissance humanism, Lyon is also a city notable for popular revolts and great political utopia. Today it is a moving metropolitan area, a stronghold for culture and European way of life.

Nowadays, Quais du Polar festival revives and shares this rich cultural patrimony, a modern, federating event open to the world. The event takes place on a vast territory that includes 59 cities and over 1,3 million inhabitants and is among the most attractive places in Europe.

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.

A unique cultural experience

A festival of discoveries

In an increasing publishing production, the role of festivals such as Quais du Polar is vital to allow the most interesting authors to emerge and meet their readership. Many authors, now acknowledged, have made their first steps at Quais duPolar. The festival continues its scouting mission for tomorrow’s authors: many unknown authors are invited for their first novel waiting to be discovered by the public and critics.

A think tank

Even if literary topics remain at the heart of interactions, the festival is also an opportunity to discuss the state of the world. Historical, sociological, economical, social and psychological interrogations find their natural place alongside all artistic issues.

A festival open to all and for all

The Great City Investigation organised in Lyon by Quais du Polar continues to generate a strong interest from a wide audience: schools, locals, tourists, families… The cinema programme is also an opportunity to widen the scope of visitors. Thanks to its experience, Quais du Polar offers more and more activities and events while maintaining high quality meetings and panels, always free and open to all. The mediation work of Quais du Polar is a very important key to the vitality of the event. It allows all those who are distant from cultural practices to live moments rich in sharing (penitentiary centres, hospitals…). All these actions give meaning to the festival and highlight the commitment of crime fiction authors; they often request to take part in these actions and exchanges…

Quais du Polar, a warm welcome

Despite its growth, the festival manages to keep its very special atmosphere, both festive and friendly: in one word, its trademark. Every year, this atmosphere is praised by professionals (authors, publishers, booksellers, journalists) as well as by festival-goers.

Accessibility to the festival’s venues

Devoted to organising an event that can be enjoyed by everyone, Quais du Polar decided to create an accessibility division within its team in order to provide a tailor-made festival experience to people with disabilities. An “accessibility supervisor” was present throughout the festival to provide assistance to people with disabilities and help them navigate through the event. During the three days of the festival, Quais du Polar introduced various measures to make the festival accessible to all: 3 meetings were translated into French sign language, 2 cinema rooms and 2 conference rooms were equipped with loop amplifiers or Fidelio systems.

An environmentally friendly event

Quais du Polar is sensitive to the issue of environmentalism and has been working towards limiting its carbon footprint and waste production for years. We work exclusively with local contractors and suppliers, minimise paper consumption, and prioritise travelling by train for our French and European guests. This year, we decided to work on reducing our waste production by limiting the number of plastic bottles used by our staff, our public, and our guests. We are constantly looking for new, long-term solutions to reduce the festival’s environmental impact, and have been working on issues such as the provenance of our paper and our website’s carbon footprint. As part of this process, we were able to greatly reduce our paper waste for the 2022 edition by using reusable signage and working with greener materials, hand in hand with our local printers. Agreements have been in place for years with TER Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Regional trains) for local festivalgoers to enjoy discounts on their local travels. A partnership is in place with TCL (Lyon public transport) to communicate with local residents on how to access the festival’s various venues using public transport, considerably reducing the number of car journeys.