Fête des Lumières!

Do you ever feel like the darker days of Winter are ruling the world much too quickly, yet the Christmas traditions are approaching much too forcefully, and too early? Maybe you need to lighten up with a happy medium.


Festival of Lights. Fête des Lumières! Everything sounds better in French, and from the looks of it, the creations presented at the yearly event don’t look bad either, wouldn’t you agree?

Not only does the Old City of Lyon celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Festival of Lights also makes an excellent excuse for soaking up a bit of the captivating city as well.

During four nights (December 5th – 8th) Lyon attracts millions of visitors as the city presents a number of unforgettably luminous experience designs created by new talent as well as more established artists.

The Festival of Lights has been passed on from generation to generation, and has become a living heritage.

The festivals have been ingrained since 1852, but the promise to pay tribute to Virgin Mary every year on September 8th dates back to 1643 when the plague decimated the population of Lyon. Today, the event is celebrated a few months later, on December 8th. On this day, windows and balconies are lit with thousands of candles, which illuminate the streets of the city with a subtle glow.

The soft glow will have competition from the many spectacular creations this year. Just to mention a few of the most striking designs:

  1. The Jacobins Fountain has been transformed into an oversized children’s night light. Visitors will be cradled by the lullaby of a music box and can dream their sweetest dreams.
  2. The seventieth anniversary of the disappearance of Antoine deSaint- Exupéry, known for Le Petite Prince, is celebrated at Place Bellecour. The square is turned into a dreamlike storytelling adventure, taking the visitor on a journey through the existence of his life and work, incorporating everything from giant decors and music to special effects.
  3. A number of giant nostalgic pocket lights in striking colors illuminate different points of space with multiple shades.
  4. The life-like Dundus are huge flexible figures. Dundus, or DU UND DU (“you and you”) in phonetic German, is a metaphor for when we interact, we can accomplish great things; you are only one part of a whole.

There will be over 70 light installations and a variety of different artists will light up buildings, streets, squares and parks all over the city, making Lyon a fabulous December getaway to BeLeave in.


Image courtesy City of Lyon

Lyon, Terre aux lumières, Rêves de nuit, La veilleuse des Jacobins, Les Pockets M. Chaulet.

All of the above mentioned photos by M. Chaulet – Ville de Lyon


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