Recently, I was lucky enough to go to the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon, France. I had learned a bit abot it three years ago and it was one of the reasons that I decided to come study abroad in the winter, so that I would be able to attend. What I didn’t know is that it is the third largest festival in the world! The first two being Rio Carnival and Oktoberfest. It was estimated that last year over 4 million people came for the four day festival. And judging from how many people I saw, I would believe it!
The festival is a devotion to the Virgin Mary who in 1643 when the village was struck by the plague, supposedly saved the entire city from ruin. The original date of the festival is December the 8th and that tends to be the peak point of the festival, but now it is a four day event starting on the sixth and ending on the ninth. I really enjoyed it because what they do is cast light onto their most important buildings and create shows using the lights.
Every year ne of the major squares called the Place des Terreaux, does a different themed light show. This year was the Little Prince which is a very popular French children’s story! I have read it many times and really enjoy it so I was excited to see it in show form! It was a bit different than I expected but it was an absolutely gorgeous show! The abilities that they can do with projections and light amazes me!
I also really liked walking around the city at night because of how elaborate the shops and roads become filled with Christmas lights and candles. It is a Lyonnais tradition that every house put out candles or lights in their windows and then leaves to walk around the city. It was absolutely gorgeous but there were a lot of people and the center of Lyon has very tiny streets!
If you go to this festival make sure you book your hotel about a year in advance so as to be in the city limits. At night because of there being so many people, they shut down the city and make it impossible for cars to get in and out, so you have to take the trains to get out of the city. It was really an amazing trip and I wish that we had been there for longer. I can’t wait to go back again someday!