Every December for the past seventeen years, Lyon becomes a kingdom of lights. Wherever your gaze may wander, a plethora of lighted installations will surely grab your attention.
The Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières) is one of the oldest light festivals in the world, dating back to December 8th 1852 when the people of Lyon celebrated the Virgin Mary on the Fourvière Hill by lighting candles on their balconies in her honor and marching through the city streets with their candles. The entire city was illuminated in a white glow, subsequently becoming well known for its illuminations.
Today’s modern interpretation of this centuries-old tradition brings together every year in December artists from diverse backgrounds: architects, filmmakers, visual artists and graphic artists create a magical experience where the city is enveloped in light installations through all nine districts. For four nights, you can see the city in a unique and enchanting way. The light installations are absolutely mesmerizing and will make you look at the world with pure unadulterated joy and amazement.
This year’s theme is centered around nature and the environment so expect to see floral installations including giant peonies all through the peninsula, an imaginary travel to the center of the earth theme on the Place des Terreaux and a plant-covered island at the Place de la Comédie.
If you do plan a trip to Lyon to experience this stupendous event, book your stay right away. Last year’s Festival attracted over 3 million people and hotels fill up very fast.
In the meantime, as we await the commencement of this year’s celebration, let’s look at some of the spectacular installations from last year’s Fête des Lumières.
Festival of Lights
5-8 December 2015
All photos courtesy of Only Lyon