The recent upsurge of interest in contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging, of luminescent chemosensors for medical diagnostic, and lately, for optical imaging of cells has generated an impressive momentum for the coordination and supramolecular chemistry of trivalent lanthanide ions. We shortly review the synthetic methods allowing the introduction of these spherical ions with fascinating optical and magnetic properties into elaborate mono- and polymetallic edifices. We then illustrate these methods by selected examples describing the use of (i) a coronand to produce luminescent liquid crystals, (ii) derivatized calixarenes for 4f-5f element separation, (iii) podates for the production of nanoparticles with high relaxivity and for sensitizing the nearinfrared (NIR) emission, and (iv) self-assembly processes for producing functional bimetallic edifices.