Every year in Lyon a weekend is dedicated to the Fête des Lumières. This year, for four nights, a variety of different artists lit up buildings, monuments, streets, squares, and parks all over the city. Over 50 different light exhibits / shows were set up around the city to create a magical atmosphere.
So what is the story behind the festival? In 1852 the city of Lyon was to inaugurate a statue of the Virgin Mary upon the hill that overlooks the city, to show gratitude for saving the city from the Plague. For this special event, all of the inhabitants of Lyon lit candles in their windows to celebrate the significance of the day. Since 1852, the tradition has continued and has grown to become an internationally known event.
Over 2 million people cram themselves in the city that normally houses around 0.5 Million people to enjoy the weekend among friends and family. For those who really can’t handle crowds, it’s definitely not an event for your ‘To do list’. Most people who live in Lyon, who have already been to the festival, choose to skip the crowds and stay in for the weekend. Honestly, I don’t entirely blame them. However, as I have never had the opportunity myself to see the festival, I went and enjoyed both Friday and Saturday night in town. The animations were amazing, and the entire event was more than I could have expected. I could hardly believe that I had waited 6 years to see it.
Each sector of the city had different light shows set up. Place Belcour was set up to be one giant garden, while Place des Terreaux was transformed into a giant cinema. My personal favorite was the light show that was projected on the Cathédrale Saint Jean. Below some photos.
If you ever plan to visit Lyon for the Fête des Lumières, you either need to 1) Have an apartment in Lyon, 2) Have friends that will put you on their couch or, 3) Reserve way way way in advance. I’m sure people are already starting to think about next year.