History tells us that in 1643, Lyon had made a vow to build a statue of the Virgin Mary if it spared the city from the scourge of the plague.
A vow was made... and the promise kept. Centuries later, the city commemorates it with 4 days of illuminated parties at night, with a strong root in the religious and secular traditions of the former capital of the Gauls.
Poetic, magical, dreamlike ... this is how you could describe the city around 8th December.
Since 1852, at nightfall, Lyon celebrates the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. According to custom, the first Lyonnais used to decorate their windows with multicoloured glasses embellished with a candle.
It has not changed since: at 7pm, the city comes alight in unison. Passers-by are amazed at front facades lit-up in spectacular and surreal ways. Go out with family and experience the atmosphere of Christmas.
Fourvière Hill becomes one with its neighbour the Croix Rousse. A horizon of lights then descends on the city, under the benevolent auspices of the Virgin statue, which sits proudly atop the Fourvière basilica. The party can then start at the foot of two hills.
Suddenly, Lyon turns into an open-air theater. If candles on the windows weren't enough of a spectacle, there are also light shows from artists around the world.
The walls of the monuments become bright paintings and works of evanescent art. Like a painter in front of his canvas, the multimedia artists show off the architecture of Lyon monuments with laser technology. The sculptures dance and walls come alive: the shows tell a musical and truly flamboyant story.
There are dozens of "light" spectacles that are offered free to the public for 4 nights as you make your way through the streets of Lyon.
On the Place des Terreaux, the Bartholdi fountain comes alive, like a water ballet. The facade of St John's Cathedral combines with modern technology: 3D shows merge with centuries of history at the same time. Both of rivers in Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône, contribute in their own way: acting as giant mirrors, the monuments and bridges flicker to the rhythm of the waves.
The Fête des Lumières in Lyon, is a truly magical way to spend the night, and to start the end of year holidays the most beautiful way possible.