Fête des Lumières Lyon 2014 – Update
Just back from the Festival of Lights Lyon 2014 – what a fantastic event ! I really enjoyed all the diverse displays this year. They never disappoint, and I never get tired of seeing them !
I did really well this year, and avoided a lot of the crowds that frustrated me last year while seeing most of the shows. With that in mind, here is a quick update of things to keep in mind when planning your own trip should you decide to visit for the first time:
- Allow two days for your visit (one day for the main attractions concentrated in the city center, and second day for the outlying shows and when possible the “Lumignon” candlelight parade held each December 8th which departs from the Saint Jean Cathedral climbing up to the Fourvière Basillica. The Lumingon votives also make a great souvenir to bring back home – you will also see them sprinkled on the window ledges throughout the city only on December 8th.
- Best day to attend is December 8th on the actual day of celebration that thanks Marie for saving Lyon (see my previous blog : “History of the Festival of Lights Lyon“). “Merci Marie” can be seen in bright lights Hollywood style on the hill overlooking the city of Lyon.
- Avoid Friday and Saturday evenings from 7pm to 9pm (stifling crowds)
- If you really hate crowds, start with the outlying shows and work your way in to see the main attractions late (by 11pm most of the crowds have dispersed)
- Choose the displays you wish to see beforehand (use the handy phone app)
- Do a dry run during the day (it’s easy to get lost at night in the vast crowds – use that app!)
- Eat before the event (the street food is mediocre), or reserve a restaurant well in advance.
- Enjoy the “Vin Chaud” otherwise known as Mulled Wine – a great way to warm up and vendors are everywhere. Try making your own and putting it in a thermos with these recipes: http://www.recette-vin-chaud.fr/
- The main attractions are located at : Place Bellecour, Rue Replublic, Place des Jacobins, Place des Terreaux, and along the banks of the Saone River. (If you hit these spots, you’ll see the most important shows – allow 3 to 4 hours depending on crowds).
- Book your hotel well in advance to get the best locations at the best price. If you’re on a budget, try the SLO Hostel – it’s a super clean and clean “designer” hostel with a fabulous breakfast and a perfect location. If you choose the hostel route, bring ear plugs lest you get a snoring roommate like I did.
- Dress warm, wear comfortable shoes, leave your purse and valuables at home, and remember rain is always possible so wear a rain jacket and leave the umbrellas at home (tough to use in a crowd without poking someone’s eye out).
- Public transportation is free during the festival from 4pm until midnight. However, your best bet is to book your hotel close by and walk to the shows thus avoiding the long metro lines.
My first goal is always to bring you, my virtual friends, an intimate and real look into the topic at hand. When I visit events with intense crowds such as this one, I leave my big camera at home so I can better maneuver amongst the throngs of people. So, please forgive my tiny little smart phone if the photo quality isn’t quite perfect… and enjoy nonetheless an “aperçu” (glimpse) of the Festival of Lights Lyon 2014.
Intrigued and interested in attending next year ? Just send me a quick note through my contact page to get on the waiting list.
-Girl Gone Gallic
PS – Don’t forget to bring extra batteries if you plan on taking pictures… My smartphone gave out right before I could photograph the walking giants – I was SO disappointed !
The Giants were super graceful and fun to watch. Here’s a pic off the official website :