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La ville des Lumières: Lyon Lantern Festival

Lyon by night during Lantern Festival

Fourvière lighten up
Fourvière lighten up

La ville des Lumières, that’s how we French people call the city of Lyon, which literally means ‘The city of lights’. Lots of festivals are related to this name. Have you heard of the Lantern Festival?

Every year on the 8th of December, buildings from Lyon light up: candles in front of the windows, visual animations on the facades, lights all around the city at night, and a huge crowd meandering along the street. This is what ‘La fête des Lumières’(Festival Lantern) is, one of the most beautiful festival in France.

Fontaine des Jacobins on Festival Lantern day 2017
Fontaine des Jacobins on Festival Lantern day 2017

Now, you might wonder why is there such a festival ? Why candles at the windows ? Well, let’s have a little bit of history.

In the Middle Ages the plague devastated a big part of France, and started to come into the city of lights. Fear grew in town, everyone was scared that their families would be affected by the illness. Unable to protect the citizens from this disaster, hopeless, the county magistrate prayed all night in the cathedral of Fourvière (Cathedral under the protection of the Virgin Mary).

And believe it or not, the legend says that the citizens were saved from the disease. Since that day, they thank the Virgin Mary every year by putting candles at their windows.



With each year, it evolved and has become a very famous festival. Every year it features different animations  and new amazing ornements within the city.

Now that you know all about it, you know where to go in December!

Place Bellecour giant garden during the Festival Lantern 2017
Place Bellecour giant garden during the Festival Lantern 2017


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