Light is an essential part of Lyon’s unique identity. Even a brief stroll through the city during nighttime will reveal how light has been organically fused into Lyon’s cityscape transforming it into a significant center of urban lighting and light design.
So, it comes as no surprise that Lyon annually hosts one of the most extravagant international events of the city, the Festival of Lights / Fête des Lumières, creating one-of-a-kind settings, fascinating soundscapes and poetic dreamscapes.
Let’s Take a Trip Down Memory Lane…
The Festival of Lights was born on December 8, 1852, despite the social unrest, recurring floods and other radical changes that were happening. The citizens of Lyon put candles in colored glasses on their window sills in order to celebrate the inauguration of the Virgin Mary’s statue on the Fourvière Hill. As a result, whole neighborhoods of the city were lit up turning buildings into stages for light shows.
From then on, to honor this event, every year during the days approaching December 8 the residents of Lyon celebrate the lighting up of their city via temporary light installations expanding over 4 evenings.
Architects, graphic artists, designers, videographers, plastic artists, street-show companies metamorphosize the city into an exciting gallery of their temporary art pieces.
Just imagine how popular the festival is with around 3 million people attending it every year!
The 2022 Edition
Discover this year’s spectacular festival which will be even more inclusive and magical while focusing on the notions of recycling and sustainability, too. Everyone can equally join in the fun.
Immerse yourself in a fascinating multi-sensory experience. Visit the Tête d’Or Park that hosts 4 installations this year as well as the Lumignons du Coeur light display for charity. Or hop over to the Parc Blandan with family-friendly installations and opening hours totally suitable for young visitors. Also, special facilities will be available including an accessible route for people with reduced mobility.
6 Different Themes
Get ready for this year’s wonderful light installations inspired by 6 different themes. Many exciting installations to select from each category, so, make sure to choose wisely! We’ve also taken 1 installation from each theme for you to skim through just to get an idea of how truly unmissable the festival is.
#1 Lyon’s Got Talent
The title is 100% accurate.
“Le voyageur celeste” is all about the story of a young space explorer who discovers the bewitching charm of Lyon. Follow his poetic journey via his vivid dreams and amazing adventures by watching a 7-8-min projection on the façades of the houses on the Fourvière Hill which look like pages taken out of a graphic novel.
#2 A tribute to Mother Nature
The artworks in this category are inspired by nature and consist strong environmental and ecological statements.
“Gazouillis” is based on a community project during which plastic bottles and containers were collected in order to create a giant aviary on Place Voltaire containing 300 luminous birds made of recycled plastic.
The name says it all.
“I ♥ LIGHT” involves around 6-meter-high letters illuminated by 947 preloved lamps of every shape and size which are installed on the Place Bellecour. Maybe one of those was once yours… This stunning declaration of love is also accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack with children’s voices recorded during after-school activities in many parts of Lyon. Impressed, yet?
#4 Off the Beaten Track
Embrace the element of surprise by checking out the festival’s most unpredictable installations.
“Inside / Out” consists of 75 colored LED tubes placed on the façade of the Temple du Change as a tribute to this UNESCO world heritage site. The light literally shines from “inside out”. Observe the interesting combo of architecture and colored light and let yourself get carried away by the fantastic ambience of the building.
#5 Views from the Outside
An international aura permeates this category.
Have you ever thought that Jyväskylä in Finland, Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Lyon share things in common? Well, light festivals, for sure, but also the spirit of collaboration, co-creation and sustainability via a multidisciplinary light project: “Beacon”. We wouldn’t want to spoil the magic, so, take a stroll there to see for yourself.
#6 Larger than Life
Keep your eyes and ears open for the festival’s most extraordinary installations.
“Cymopolée”, the Greek goddess of storms, is asking you to take a look around and observe a tornado surrounding the Place de la République and think about the climate changes happening all over the world. This installation combines artistic skills with digital mastery. In the nightfall, this gigantic metal structure comes alive swaying in the winds of the soundscape via an illuminating light from within. Well, it seems that “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Opening Times: Thursday to Saturday: 8 PM—midnight | Sunday: 6 PM—10 PM
Parc Blandan & Institut Lumière: 5:30 PM—9:30 PMImportant note: the park entrance closes 30 min before the end of each evening.