A veritable institution in Lyon, the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) is an opportunity to (re)discover the city in a new, artistic and festive light. A taster of Christmas to come, it’s on from 5–8 December 2019.
Every December for almost 30 years, the city of Lyon has lit up with an explosion of light and colour. Streets, squares and façades of buildings come alive with art installations by lighting designers, visual artists and other video conjurors.
2018 featured an eclectic programme of some 80 creations focusing on emotions, dreams, art and technology, in particular with the work ‘Abyss’ by Nicolas Paolozzi, installed on Place Louis Pradel. This interactive light structure symbolised a creature straight out of the depths of oceanography that visitors were invited to animate from two interactive kiosks.
There was poetry on the façade of the Cathedral Saint-Jean, on which the Ocubo duo projected a contemplative fresco blending flowers and colours. It was a work about texture, shape and colour combining artistic performance and technical prowess. On Place Antonin Poncet near famous Place Bellecour, the public was invited to make a wish with modular and interactive work ‘Wish Blow’, created by Helen Eastwood and Laurent Brun. All you had to do was blow on the installation to see a cascade of bubbles of light.
The Tête d’Or park put on the show ‘Présages’ by Marie-Jeanne Gauthé and Géraud Périole, transforming it into a wonderful world of gold and glitter, where everything was about carefree beauty. A dreamlike universe, whose balance was soon threatened by a mysterious breath...
A secular tradition
The Fête des Lumières originated in 1643, when the city implored the Virgin Mary to protect her from the plague, promising to honour her with the construction of a statue at the top of the Fourvière hill. Two hundred years later, on 8 December 1852, when the statue’s inauguration was compromised by bad weather, the sky eventually – miraculously – cleared. To thank the Virgin Mary, the Lyonnais lit up their windows with thousands of candles, and the festival was born.