Real institution in Lyon, the Festival of Lights is celebrated since the 19th century. On September 8th of 1852, as the city was preparing to celebrate the installation of a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Chapel on the Fourviere Hill, the ceremony had to be abandoned as the River Saone was overflowing. The festivities were put back to December 8th of the same year, but the weather did not favour the organisers – a violent storm broke out during the day, and the event had to be cancelled. But seeing the weather improving as night was falling, the population spontaneously lit their homes with candles and the whole city was illuminated.
This evening, a great celebration was born!
Since then, on December 8th, the ritual has been repeated every year – the people of Lyon decorate their windows and balconies with thousands of little lights and stroll around the streets to admire the buildings amazingly highlighted. In 1989, the festival takes a European dimension and gathers more than 3 million visitors. You can enjoy the beauty of the city turned into an outstanding urban event, mixing entertainments, music, video projections, streets shows… During 4 days, artists from around the world will pervade Lyon’s city-centre with their performances and light shows creating poetic, magical, and dreamlike designs all over squares and streets.