Fête des Lumières: Lyon’s Greatest Celebration awaits

Originally posted on & updated on 11th January, 2024

The Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) is a magnificent spectacle that transforms the city of Lyon into a mesmerising urban landscape of illumination. Held annually, the festival celebrates the city’s history and culture through a dazzling array of light installations and performances.

At this time of the year when Lyon is illuminated with lights, people from all over the city and neighbouring towns come out to enjoy this fantastic spectacle after a meal out in a local “bouchon” (restaurant in downtown Lyon serving local specialities) . The old buildings are brought to life by the light of projectors, and the residents of Lyon participate by placing “lumignons” (small lanterns) on their windowsills and balconies on December 8th.

Festival of Lights 2023

Lyon is all set to amaze you with a stunning edition this year! The Festival of Lights offers thirty diverse works that range from grand and spectacular to intimate and participatory but always unexpected. These works are created by internationally acclaimed artists as well as young talents who are given a platform to showcase their imagination. Some installations will remain in place throughout December, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore them all.

Dating from the 17th-Century

The origins of the Fête des Lumières date back to 1643 when the city was spared from the plague. In gratitude, the inhabitants of Lyon placed candles in their windows and lit bonfires on Fourvière Hill, a prominent landmark overlooking the city. This tradition continued for centuries, and in 1852, the city officially adopted the Festival of Lights as a way to celebrate the installation of a statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourvière Hill.

A Festival of Imagination

Today, the Fête des Lumières is one of the most celebrated events outside of Paris, drawing visitors from around the world. During the festival, the streets of Lyon are transformed into a kaleidoscope of light, with buildings, landmark bridges, and monuments adorned with intricate projections and sculptures. The city becomes a canvas for artistic expression, with each light installation telling a unique story or conveying a specific emotion.

A Magical Experience

Walking through the illuminated streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières is an unforgettable experience. The city is filled with a sense of wonder and enchantment, as the vibrant colours and playful designs of the light installations create an atmosphere of magic and spectacle. The festival is not just a visual feast; it is also an auditory one, with music and soundscapes adding to the experience.

A Must-See Event for Visitors and Locals

The Fête des Lumières is a must-see event for anyone visiting Lyon during the holiday season. It is a celebration of light, creativity, and the city’s rich history, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who have witnessed the festival.

Tips for Planning your Visit to Lyon

If you are planning to attend this yearly event, here are a few tips to help you plan your visit:

  • Book your accommodation in advance, as hotels and apartments fill up quickly during the festival
  • Familiarise yourself with the maps showing the locations of all the installations and performances
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking
  • Bring a camera or smartphone to capture all the magic of the festival
  • Be prepared for large crowds, especially around the most popular light shows

The Fête des Lumières is a magical festival that will capture your heart, so if you are looking for an unforgettable way to experience the holidays, be sure to add this event to your bucket list. To learn more, visit the official website and see our blog for more articles about Lyon.

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