The first light shows took place in Lyon on 8th December 1852 for religious reasons. Here’s the real story of the most popular event in Lyon.
Lyon Festival of Light 2019
What is the Fête des Lumières?
Lyon’s « Festival of Light » is just as the name suggests: a celebration of light. Each year during the Fête, the city radically changes into an urban artscape of different visual art installation, transforming Lyon’s city streets, ancient buildings, and grand public squares into surreal and fantastic dreamlike landscapes.
The origin of the fête stretches back to the 1630s, but the first time that it was a true celebration of light was in the 1850s. On 8th, December 1852, Lyonnais Catholics were preparing a celebration in honor of the installation of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the bell tower of Fourvière.
A grand event with fireworks and other festivities. Unfortunately, a storm blew in that evening, bad enough that the festival heads canceled the event altogether. Not deterred, the Lyonnais lit candles in their window, lighting up the streets as night fell, and despite the storm, took to the city that night to behold the lovely sight of Lyon by candlelight. Thus, the Fête des Lumières came to be.
When is the Lyon Lights Festival 2019?
Fête des Lumières will take place between Thursday the 5th & Sunday 8th of December, from 19h to 23h (Thursday and Sunday) & 20h to midnight (Friday and Saturday) respectfully. As soon as nightfalls each, you can be sure that the festival will commence, weather permitting, with the only odd time being the Rivière de Lumières (River of Lights), which is only Sunday starting at 19h.
Where is the Fête des Lumières 2019 taking place?
Le Fête des Lumières of course will be throughout Lyon, with the 36 visual and light based installations being in the cities Presqu’île (Bellecour 2e Arr to La Croix-Rousse 1er Arr) and Vieux lyon (Old Lyon 5e). There will be other installations outside of the centre-ville, at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (until January 5th) and most namely at Le Parc de la Tête d’Or (6e Arr).