Blanca Valbuena

Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France

  • La instalación de las Fiesta de las Luces en la plaza de la Bolsa
  • Plaza de la República en la noche en diciembre
  • Una sartén con castañas asadas
  • Las velas votivas al lado de una pila bautismal
  • Las velas votivas en Lyon, France
  • Place Saint-Nizier's watering cans for the Festival of Lights 2013
  • Parade of glowing puppets in Lyon's Festival of Lights
  • Un títere manejado por un hombre en el Festival de las luces en Lyon
  • Damien Fontaine's Prince of Lights in Lyon France
  • Parc de La Tete D'Or Festival of Lights Lyon

If you’re looking for a “must-do” travel excursion, why not the Festival of Lightsen Lyon, France. If you've been reading this blog, you will have figured out that I'm somewhat of a Francophile...and that I have a special place in my heart for Lyon. There are various reasons for that, mainly its people, la comida, andits history. But it is also the core of the city that makes it so great. In NYC there was an uproar when Bloomberg campaigned to overturn the term limits and was elected to a third term in office. Lyon's mayor, Gérard Collomb, has been around since 2001 (that's 12 years), and it seems that the people of Lyon love him. I heard nothing but good things about this mayor, and the city reflects his leadership. Lyon is clean, functional, welcoming, and affluent. It has also been making a huge push towards tourism, which has apparently paid off because the city was booming during the Festival of Lights this past December. Before I move on, I will let you know that the city gets crowded during the festival...very crowded. This is usually a negative for me. However, the people of Lyon keep the city clean, tourists are safe, y el aire de la ciudad es de una juerga controlado. The Festival of Lights would NEVER work in the US. Here, we'd end up with robberies, drunken fights, and most likely people would end up in hospitals. In Lyon, people rejoice, drink vin chaud, have a great time and all manage to do so without screwing things up. We could learn a few things from them. La Fête des Lumières en Lyon está a la par con el Carnaval de Río o la Oktoberfest en Munich, just more orderly. An early holiday visit to Lyon will allow you to experience this truly breathtaking, and spiritually rooted, event. Two of the unique features of this festival that are unusual for European festivals are that the events take place at night, and that the festival itself takes place in the winter. This means you better have some pretty good Under Armour, comfortable shoes, and a really good coat.

Fête Des Lumières

What started as a one-day feast has now expanded over four days. The tradition dates back to 1653 and is intended to express gratitude toward Mary the Mother of Jesus for sparing the city from a great plague. The event peaks with a solemn procession to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere (known as "The Soul of Lyon") on December 8 which in the Roman Catholic tradition celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Traditionally, during these four days, homes would place candles in all the exterior-facing windows. Nowadays, homes go all out to bedeck their homes in lights, businesses get creative with their displays, and the city's most famous buildings are bedecked in light shows accompanied by music and fireworks. I have never seen anything like it. Over the four nights, the festival provides a different theme and color scheme to create a unique experience. Over four million tourists come to Lyon to see this stunning effect. The festival has now expanded to include other activities all centering on light. From its humble beginnings, the event has become an elaborate production that has designers from all over the world lending their talent to the event. The vibrant lighting has been enhanced by video, music, and sound effects that add to the experience.


How to Work It


Lyon is kinda like NYC. I mean if you're trying to get around. You've got an island surrounded by two cities (Manhattan & Lyon's 1st, 2nd & 4th Arrondissements). What would be Queens/Brooklyn is over on the 3rd, 6th, 7th & 8th Arrondissements. Jersey would be the 5th & 9th. This makes it pretty easy for those familiar with NYC to move around town. Although Lyon is France's 3rd largest city, it's normally pretty calm. The population booms during the festival. Expect the city to be crowded and plan your light show itinerary accordingly. Bring cash so you can enjoy goodies like vin chaud (mulled wine), roasted chestnuts, and plenty of delicious street foods. Also, make sure to wear warm clothes. The festival takes place in December, so you can expect the city to be cold. I've added some basic tips to make your life easier at the fete to the bottom of the post, so make sure to check those out.


The Sites


The festival covers every part of the city; Parc de la Tête d'Or, el Hôtel de Ville de Lyon, to landmarks in the old city. You’ll find that the most innovative and original lighting effects and sculptures are displayed prominently.  You can get a map of the city at your hotel and take a different walking route each night. These were the sites for 2013:

Parc de la Tête d'Or: (6th Arrondissement) - Chinese Corner -  El tema de este año fue la "Chinese Corner", executed by Studio 3003. It was spectacular. The trees were bedecked in Chinese lanterns and you could go to the lake and set a candle to float on the water on a lily pad as you made a wish.

Quai du Rhône : (6th Arrondissement) - Nid-Lum - Lighted nests hung from trees by Erik Barray traído una sensación de calor a la zona, cerca del Parc de la Tête d'Or y Pont Churchill. No era un sueño similar, calidad surrealista a ellos.

Túnel Croix Rousse(1st Distrito) - Anamorphose -  El año pasado, Hélène Richard y Jean-Michel Quesne que forman parte de Skertzò diseñaron el espectáculo en el túnel. Éste será unpermanente instalación, así que si quieres echarle un vistazo, usted todavía puede. Si usted decide comprobar éste ahora, dése acerca 25 minutos para ver todo el espectáculo.

Rue Royale: (1st Distrito) - Let's Stroll in the Woods - 

Bergers du Rhone - Pont Morand:  (1st/6th Arrondissement) -Le Village Dans Le Ciel - These charming homes in the sky recall a magical wonderland where I imagined forest dwellers would have relocated after their homes were replaced by the city.

Rhone - Up the Walkway to the College: (1st Distrito) - Les Crayons de Coleur - These crayons floated on the Rhone as if a giant child had dropped his box of colors on the Rhone.

Pradel - Jean Moulin: (1st Distrito) - La Marguerite - Los pétalos de la margarita de Franck Pelletier cambian de color juguetonamente.

Coloque Louis Pradel(1st Distrito) - Festicolor - Instalación de Dar La Luz proyecta una luz espectáculo lúdico en la fuente Ipoustéguy y vistió su edificio modernista adyacente.

Rue de La Republique - Nord: (1st Distrito) - Lumiere Verticale - Los árboles en la rue de la République fueron adornados con colgantes "lumitubes" que añaden banal a la ciudad, ya que llevó a Serenata y el espectáculo por el Hotel De Ville.

Place de la Bourse: (1st Distrito) - Serenade - This was the first light show I ran into. Chantal Thomass is a lingerie designer who brought a bouquet of roses to life. The flowers shone in lace, pink, and flower petals that made lovers swoon.

Rue du President Henriot: (1st Distrito) - Nuages - Little child-like cloud lit up this charming street.

Place Saint-Nizier: (1st Distrito) -Les Anges Gardiens - No estoy seguro de cómo estas latas de riego deliciosos que nutrieron las flores fuera de Église Saint-Nizier están relacionados con ángeles de la guarda, but darn it they were cute.

Rue Paul Chenavard: (1st Distrito) - Suspension Chrominerale - Esta instalación era una reminiscencia de los diamantes empalado en su configuración.

Hotel de Ville: (1st Distrito) - Paraíso Perdido - Diseñador de modas Jean-Charles de Castelbajac asociado con Blachere Iluminación creó un paraíso perdido en L'Hotel de Ville cuyo patio fue invadido por la vegetación vibrante.

Place des Terreaux: (1st Distrito) - Le Prince des Lumieres -  Compositor / director Damien Fontaine ganó el Trophée des Lumières (trofeo de las luces) por su relato de la historia del Príncipe de las Luces.

Gare Saint Paul: (5th Arrondissement) - Dress Code - Helen Eastwood y Laurent Brun Helen Eastwood y Lawrence Marrón decoradas las paredes de la estación de Saint-Paul en 8 diferentes códigos de vestimenta y estampados textiles.

Quais de Saone - por Palacio de Justicia: (5th Arrondissement) - Allebrilles - Les Grandes Personnes creado estas hermosas marionetas para reflejar la tradición Lyonnaise de Gadagne. Las marionetas eran colorido, brillante y me recordó a las criaturas bioluminiscentes de las profundidades.

Quais de Saone: (5th Arrondissement) - Le Grand Orchestre de Fourviere - Vi éste posiblemente 4 times. No podía escapar de su grandiosidad. Uno observaba desde las orillas del Saona mientras la orquesta tocaba una selección de Lawrence de Arabia. La Iglesia Fourvière, Parc des Hauteurs, Palacio de Justicia, e incluso el estacionamiento al lado del río estaban bajo la dirección hábil de Jean-Luc Hervé .

Coloque y Catedral de Saint-Jean: (5th Arrondissement) - Rencontres - Aquí la luz juega fuera de la fachada de la catedral para enfatizar sus rosetas y elementos arquitectónicos.

Place des Celestins: (2nd Distrito) - Lumignons du Coeur -  Junto con les Petits Frères des Pauvres la ciudad de Lyon vende velas del corazón de € 2 en la Place des Celestins para beneficiar a los necesitados.

Place des jacobinos: (2nd Distrito) - Showcase - La fuente en la Plaza de los jacobinos estaba cubierto de un cubo transparente que se utiliza para mostrar su belleza durante todo el año en un juego de luces y la geometría. Era un caleidoscopio de clase para mostrar su existencia cotidiana y la belleza.

Rue de la Republique Sud: (2nd Distrito) - Byzance - Bizancio fue el tema creado por Hexagon Iluminación. La calle estaba adornada en brillantes arcos ojivales que enmarcaban Rue de La Republique.

Hotel-Dieux:  (2nd Distrito) - Caresses Climatiques - El hotel Dieux (El sitio del antiguo hospital) was a festival of light and texture as raindrops were actualized by strands of light reminiscent of a bead curtain.

Terrases de la Guilloterie: (7th Arrondissement) - Mikado Celeste - Fluorescent sculptures made of sticks vibrated in tune with the music in a melody of color. They sat atop water that reflected their dance.

Rue Auguste Comte: (2nd Distrito) - Labo des Aspho - I saw these as they were being put up. They looked like ghosts or spirits coming out of the walls.

Place Bellecour: (2nd Distrito) - Pierrot Le Fou - Este fue mi segundo favorito después de la pieza en Fourvière Hill Lawrence de Arabia. Coloca Noria de Bellecour contó una historia surrealista de un niño pequeño. Hubo fuegos artificiales, bailarines de fuego y mucho más para obtener su bombeo del corazón.

Lugar Gailleton: (2nd Distrito) - L'abime - Como su nombre lo sugiere este abismo estaba lleno de misterio.

Hotel de la Región: (2nd Distrito) - Grid - Como su nombre lo indica tan acertadamente, este espectáculo fue todo acerca de la geometría, light, and grids. 

Voutes de Perrache: (2nd Distrito) - Voiture 21/Cote Fenetres - Artista Milosh Luczynski te puso en un viaje mágico tren donde te gustaría ir de escenas pastorales de calles de la ciudad.

Polo de Loisir: (2nd Distrito) - Water Light Graffiti - Éste estaba hecho de un montón de LEDs que se iluminan cuando tocaron el agua.  Se rogó para ser jugado con y tocado. Me encantaría tener una pared como esto en casa.

Mur des Lyonnais: (1st Distrito)  Dessine Moi Des Lumieres - Este fue otro ganador del premio para el 2013 Fiesta. El edificio que sirvió como el lienzo de luz cobró vida con la gente en su rutina diaria, tocando instrumentos y coquetamente bailando con la música viva que llenaba las calles.

Darse Nautique: (2nd Distrito) - Flammes - Sponsored by Toshiba and executed by "La Machine" was made up of sculptures lit by fire on the river.

Place Sathonay: (1st Distrito) - Experimentations Etudiantes - This was one of 15 student projects submitted for the Fete des Lumieres. The contest was open to all higher education students whose aim was to direct the light in the streets of Lyon.

Amphiteatre des 3 Gaules: (1st Distrito) - 40 Hexaedres - Cute, pequeño y divertido. Éste se compone de 4 líneas de diez cubos que bailaban alrededor como si estuviera en una sala de baile futurista.

Montée de la Grande Côte: (1st Distrito) - Un Printemps en Hiver - Las luces de esta instalación estaban destinados a poner un toque de la primavera al invernal Lyon. En lugar de flores, árboles estaban vestidos con luces.

Esplanade de Gros Caillou: (1st Distrito) - Metamorfosearse 2 - Con reminiscencias de los juguetes de un niño, esta zona estaba iluminada por cubos y esferas decoradas con formas de colores brillantes.

Lugar Colbert: (1st Distrito) - Luminon - Tengo que admitir que éste era un poco espeluznante. Me recordó a los callos, o algún tipo de órgano interno, o era de papel de origami?

Pasaje Thiaffait: (st Distrito) - Street Score/Partition de Rue - Éste no era tan impresionante como el resto, parecía ser sólo artefactos de iluminación en el Pasaje.


Consejos para su Visita Durante La Fête des Lumières


Reserve Hospedaje Temprana: Es importante planificar su viaje con antelación. Hoteles, particularmente los hoteles económicos, llenará madrugar. Usted también tiene que darse cuenta de que a pesar de los acontecimientos suceden en la noche, que tienden a poner fin a "principios" por el clima. Yo no soy un fan de los hoteles, so I usually stay in an Airbnb apartment. Stephane is an amazing host and his flat is gorgeous. You will love it.

Bring Warm Clothing: Lyon is located in northern France, near the Alps and get quite cold in early December. There are also two rivers which make the city colder. Make sure to layer up and bring hats, scarves, and gloves. I even bring hand warmers, it's cold out there and if you're freezing you won't be able to enjoy yourself.

Wear Comfortable Shoes:  You'll be walking the city, so skip the heels and get yourself some nice walking shoes, but skip the sneakers - only American tourists wear these & you'll definitely stick out.

Book Restaurants Early: And I mean at least a month in advance. Most restaurants will be packed if you wait until the last minute and it would be a shame if you miss out on the amazing restaurants in Lyon. It is, after all, the culinary capital of France. 

Bring Cash: There's plenty of delicious street food and stuff to buy, so make sure to have cash on you.

What to Eat: As mentioned above, you will not go hungry here. I suggest you try roasted chestnuts (they kinda taste like bacon - makes sense since good pork is fed chestnuts), sausage sandwiches, shawarmas, and vin chaud. Also, muchos restaurantes venderán placas de media docenafine de claire oysters with a glass of white wine at somewhere between 5 to 10 euros. A steal if you ask me.

Have a question about the Fête Des Lumières? Ask me in the comments.

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Blanca Valbuena

Yo soy el co-fundador de FriendsEat y Socialdraft. Tengo una obsesión enfermiza con Chardonnay de Borgoña, ASOIAF, y viajar.

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