Fête des Lumières


Lyon’s Fête des Lumières (fet day loom-e-air), or Festival of Lights, is an annual event that takes place in early December. For 2012, the dates are December 6 through 9. It’s not a Christmas event at all, but the proximity to the other big day adds to the festive feeling.

Lyon2In 1643, Lyon was hit with the plague. On December 8, the citizens promised to honor Mary if the city were to be spared. In 1850, there was a contest to design a statue of the Virgin destined for the prominent Fourvière hill. Two years later, the unveiling was held on December 8, the date of the Immaculate Conception, according to the Catholic calendar, and the anniversary of the city’s dedication to Mary. To celebrate, the citizens decided to light their windows with candles. The transformed city inspired officials to light the public buildings, too.

Since then, the light displays have grown increasingly sophisticated, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world. Colorful images and short films are projected right onto the buildings in the main square. Yet another reason to visit France in winter. Here’s a link to a great video and to the official site.

51UIOhvnuAL__SL75_Photo Jigsaw puzzle of the Lyon Fête des Lumières

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to Fête des Lumières

  1. Nemorino says:

    The city of Nancy has a similar light and sound show each year at the end of June, using the facades of the city hall, the opera house, the art museum and two hotels. I have seen it the last two years, because I was in Nancy for the opera at the right times.

  2. I love the one in Nancy! I saw it in 2014 when they memorialised La Grande Guerre.

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