Lyon’s Festival of Lights 2017 will last for 4 days from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th December.
By Frederic Crouzet and Anna Goodfellow
The 2017 edition of the Festival of Lights, which attracts several million visitors every year, takes place this year over four days, from 7 to 10 December.
This gives both locals and visitors four nights to admire the city, decorated by lighting designers and artists, from the Vieux Lyon to the slopes of the Croix Rousse.
Four walking itineraries for Lyon Festival of Lights 2017
With the cancellation of the festival in 2015 following the Paris attacks in November, the 2016 celebration took place over only 3 nights with a security perimeter, bag searches and reinforced police presence.
There will be more than 1,000 armed law enforcement personnel this year and in order to attend the festival you will have to go through one of the forty gates and likely be subject to a search.
Lyon Festival of Lights back on four nights
The festival has extended the perimeter in comparison to last year, seeing the festival back on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse and allowing new buildings to be highlighted.
Georges Képénékian, the new mayor of Lyon explains “It’s a big four-day open-air exhibition. This Festival is a marker of our city’s identity. It returns for four days after a three-day edition in 2016 so that as many people as possible can attend it”.
This tradition began in on December 8th 1852 when the Catholic population celebrated Virgin Mary by lightning candles on windowsills.
Local still illuminate their windows but Lyon’s historical areas has become renowed contemporary light artists playground since 1999.
Illuminations will take place every evening from 8:00 pm until midnight (and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Sunday). “We asked the Prefecture of Police for 6pm start but there are not enough police forces” says Jean-Yves Sécheresse, deputy mayor in charge of security.
What should we expect from the 2017 Fete des Lumiere?
The ascent of the Grande Cote à la Croix Rousse and Lyon’s former oldest hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu, which is currently under construction, will also be highlighted from 4 to 29 December.
On top of this, Jean-Moulin College will be lit by a team of Portuguese lighting designers who worked with the students.
The Bellecour Place post office and the bell tower of La Charité will be illuminated for the first time by a Dutch creative studio with a creation inspired by video games – one of the festival ‘must-sees’.
100.000 candles in the Lyon Roman Theatre
Around 100,000 prayer candles will illuminate the Gallo-Roman theatre in Fourvière for the benefit of the Laurette Fugain association (who support the fight against leukaemia).
This will also see the director of the festival, Jean-François Zurawick announce a “unique surprise” in the theatre.
This Is Lyon guides you through all the illuminations by suggesting several routes in the city and gives you all the answers to make your Fête des Lumières a success.
- Get the full program of the Festival by clicking here (PDF)
- An interactive map of the 2017 illuminations in Lyon
- Three other suggested itineraries
Cool guided tours, Christmas markets, great concerts, Ferris wheel ride…
Five museums and exhibitions to discover in Lyon’s museums in December.
Don’t miss the exceptional opening of the « Dungeon of Saint-Pothain » or the torchlight procession on December 8th in Lyon.
Our American contributor Jenna enjoyed the 2016 Fête des Lumières in Lyon despite the crowd. A story about vin chaud, mud, churros, machine guns, music and flames
It’s a feast for the eyes and runs from the 7th to the 10th of December at various locations around the centre of Lyon. The Lyon’s Fête des Lumières by a veteran spectator As a 10 year veteran spectator of this dazzling event I predict that the best days to beat the crowds will […]
Photographer and visual artist, Guillaume J. Plisson, specialist in Lightgraff, unveils his top tips to take stunning pictures during the Festival of Lights.