Le Fête des Lumières magnifique à Lyon
It’ll probably surprise you to learn that the Festival of Lights in Lyon is one of the three biggest festive gatherings in the world in attendance terms.
If it doesn’t surprise you then well done you, you know more than I do.
I was, however, very surprised. Only Rio Carnival and Oktoberfest in Munich are bigger apparently.
Having been to those other two I thought it best that I have a look at number three this year.
The whole thing appears to revolve around saying thank you to Jesus’ mother Mary for sparing the area from the bubonic plague. Certainly something to be thankful for from what I learned at school about that particular horror.
Whoever it is that makes the candles in that part of the world must always have a very merry Christmas indeed as every single Lyonnais house places candles outside their windows. All of them.
I haven’t counted the houses in Lyon but I suspect there’s quite a lot. When every bulb in the city is turned off at night time it must be a truly extraordinary sight as the city glows with the light of countless tiny flames. No wonder more than four million tourists head there for the festival every year.
It’s not just candles though. When the festival started candles were all they had but light has moved on a bit and so has the entertainment.
So for four days light really gets the chance to show off as designers from all over the world use video, music and sound and incorporate rivers, parks and buildings into a series of spectacular shows.
Friends tell me The Basilica of Fourvière and the Place des Terreaux are the two focal points I should head to but it appears that the whole city becomes one giant canvas for clever light displays.
I managed to get a room at Cour des Loges although rooms in the city from December 6th to the 9th are not easy to get hold of so if you want to go, get on to it immediately! Don’t even finish reading this blog post, go now, run run run.
I’m not kidding. Stop reading right now and go find a room.
I’ll tell you more about the hotel once I’ve been but I must say it looks like a shamelessly opulent affair. There are some photos of the hotel here if you want to have a look.
I’ve packed some candles (something tells me the shops there might have run out) and a torch so that I can join in.
Before I go though I’ve been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with some American friends next week. It’ll be my first Thanksgiving so any tips you American readers can give me about what to take and what to expect would be most welcome!