5 Unmissable Locations for Lyon’s Festival of Lights 2019

Published: 2019/11/07
The wait is almost over as La Fête des Lumières (Lyon’s Festival of Lights) slowly but surely draws near upon us here in Lyon. December 5th through the 8th. Without the most famous tradition in all of Lyon.
Courtyard during Lyon's Festival of Lights

Lighted courtyard during last years Fête © Muriel Chaulet

A special year to be sure for the festival. It marks the last celebration for the general coordinator Jean-François Zurawik after 15 years of service.

Jean-François is credited with transforming the festival into what it is today. The return of the eclectic Group F, this time to Parc de la Tete d’Or.

Along with the festivals boundaries extending outwards to encompass a majority of Lyon, the first time since 2014.

Certainly set to be a memorable festival, here are our picks for the five places to go during Lyon’s Festival of Lights

When: 5th & 8th from 19h to 23h & 6th & 7th 20h to midnight. 

1: Place des Terreaux

The emblematic location grand return from a year long hiatus, this year, the Place des Terreaux is set to be a strong homage to electricity and light, as well as the light nod towards the technician and visual artists that make the fête possible and so special.

Place des Terreaux during Lyon's Festival of Lights 2019

Place des Terreaux © Spectaculaires, les Alluemeurs d’Images.

Made possible by the artists of the Allumeurs d’images, its location between the immense buildings of the Hôtel-de-Ville and Musée des Beaux-Arts allows for near complete immersion during the light show. A must see for the festival.

2: Place Bellecour

A fine example of the sheer spectacle of Lyon’s Festival of Lights, this year Place Bellecour will transform itself into a gigantic garden of gorgeously lit flora and fauna.

Displays in Place Bellecour Lyon's Festival of Lights

Place Bellecour. ©TILT & Porté par le Vent

Artists TILT and Christophe Martine show a dazzling selection of nature themed installations, each reacting and changing with the introduction of movement or light in their respective areas, giving the whole square a dream like feel.



3: Saône River

Candle boats on the Saône during Lyon's Festival of Lights

The Saône © Poïesis.

Silently harking back to Lyon’s history with the Fête des Lumières, this year on the 8th, the Saône will see a procession of 20,000 small candle lit boats drifting down the current.

Each carrying with them a spectators note aboard, the fully recyclable crafts will float between the Saint-Vincent and Saint-Georges footbridges at 7pm on the 8th, weather permitting.


4: Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Projected onto the face of the Cathédrale Saint-Jean, this labor of love from the team of visual artists at THÉORIZ studio exhibits a blunt yet magnificent look at the future in the context of considerable ecological crisis.

Face of Saint Jean during Lyon's Festival of Lights

Face of St Jean © THÉRIZ Studio.

Starting first at creation, the light artwork takes the viewer through a journey of our past as a planet, from before the birth of humanity, all the way to the rise of industrialization and the beginning of the digital era.

5: Le Parc de la Tete d’Or

Group F’s return is sure to mark one of the the most incredible portions of the festival. Le Parc de la Tete d’Or will be the complete transformed into a full digital wonderscape of various air, water, and fire based installations, all scored to the music of American composer Scott Gibbons.

Parc de la Tête D'Or during Lyon's Festival of Lights

Parc de la Tête d’Or © GROUPE F

Primates created by the light hang from the trees, a large globe projected onto the parks lake, a ring of fire illuminating and engulfing the globe on the water. The word Spectacle doesn’t even began to cover it all.