5 Local Tips for Enjoying the Lyon’s Fête des Lumières

Published: 2019/11/10
The Fête des Lumières is an amazing four-day festival in December that shows off our beautiful city. Lyon’s grand public monuments are lit up, the center of town is closed to traffic, artists set up huge public installations, and it’s all meant to be viewed at night. 


While it’s an incredible time of year for us,  it’s also when the city is at its busiest. Last year there were almost 2 million visitors to the city during the Festival of Lights, so it’s essential to be organized if you want to make the most out of this time.

Lyon Festival of Lights

Cathedrale Saint-Jean, 2017 © Muriel Chaulet


Tip 1: Book everything in advance

Hotels, restaurants, activities, anything you want to do that needs booking, book it yesterday. Yes, Lyon has a huge concentration of restaurants, but they are also mostly very small. 

Do not expect to be able to just walk into restaurants and get a table, it’s hard enough to walk in on a normal weekend evening in Lyon, much less during the busiest time of the year.

Do your research, and book your restaurants in advance! If you do want to leave room for walk-in places, think Falafel and kebabs. Nothing wrong with that!

Tip 2: Make the most out of your daytime hours

While many of the art installations will be available to look at during the day, everything is really designed to be seen in the dark, so you’ve got plenty of daylight hours to kill. 

Lyon is full of amazing touristic experiences. Visit museums, take a guided walking tour, enjoy a day-time wine tasting, wander our beautiful markets. The Christmas market at Place Carnot is good fun and will get you ready for the season! 

Lyon Fete des Lumières

Place Bellecour, 2017


Tip 3: Plan to get around without cars

The Fête works a lot like a parade route, except you’re the one moving. The center of town is closed to traffic, so don’t expect to be able to move around via uber or taxis.

Familiarize yourself with public transportation, you can use our local TCL app or CityMapper to make the most of the metro and buses. Walking is also good!


Tip 4: Visit the Festival in Pieces

If you’ll be around for more than one night, try to hit different areas on different nights. It’s really big, there’s a lot of ground to cover, and you will be moving pretty slowly because of the volume of people.

Here’s our list for the 5 Unmissable Locations for Lyon’s Festival of Lights 2019. While you can do some of these on the same evening, it’s probably a good idea to plan one excursion over to Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is a bit out of the way of everything else.


Tip 5: Bring comfortable waterproof shoes and a raincoat

You will be walking a lot, and it might get wet. So far in my experience, every year it rains during the Fête! It’s winter, so we can’t really complain. It is entirely possible that it will rain again this year.

Lyon Festival of Lights 2018 Guide

Place des Terreaux, 2017.

A raincoat with a hood is better than an umbrella, there really isn’t a lot of space for umbrellas when you’re packed up against everybody else. Luckily there are plenty of places to stop in and grab a glass of wine, mulled wine or a beer along the way!

Hope you enjoyed these tips to make the most out of your Fête des Lumières experience!

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