Lyon’s “Fête des Lumières” Powers Up


Aerial view of Lyon during the Fete des Lumières 2013

Stemming from a Middle-Ages tradition to venerate the Virgin Mary in exchange for protection from the Plague, the modern-day festival is all colour and magic

Tonight, the switch will be thrown for the 3-day annual Fête des Lumières in France’s second city and what many regard as the gastronomic capital of the country.

Streets, squares and parks all across Lyon will be illuminated in a riot of colour and imagination. It’s an event that draws up to 200,000 visitors to the city.

The festival has been marked on or around the 8th of December since 1852. Traditionally, it’s all about placing candles with coloured filters in your windows for all to see. These coloured candle lights are locally known as lumignons.

Since 1989, the current format was launched by the (then) mayor Michel Noir, bringing in the element of the professional spectacle to the festival. It has been a huge success that has been replicated in other cities of France and attracts viewers of up to 4 million people, making it one of the most viewed tourist events in the world.

This year, the festival kicks off tonight with lights on at 18:00 until 01:00. The same hours apply to Saturday night. Sunday night will run from 17:30 to midnight, while on Monday, the hours are from 18:00 to midnight.

For more information, visit

As a taste of what to expect, check out the images in the slideshow below

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Where Exactly?

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Get Yourself There

Aer Lingus operate direct flights from Dublin to Lyon four times a week. For further details, visit

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