Let There Be Light


This weekend we accidentally fell into the light when medical appointments required us us to be in Lyon during the annual Fête des Lumières, a time when the city is flooded with light art, and the literally millions of visitors who come, all in search of enlightenment.


Lyon is always a beautiful city, but all aglow it’s truly marvelous.  We began the afternoon at the marché de Noël, the Christmas market, about which more anon.  In keeping with the theme of the festival there were  lights for sale, lights that made me long for a dark home to call my own and a corner in need of brightening.


The festival is Lyon’s signature event, and everyone participates, with votive candles lining balconies and windowsills and people walking everywhere, drinking the hot spiced wine of winter called simply vin chaud. Even our hotel got into the spirit, setting out votives along the sidewalk and lighting  these ethereal trees to greet us at the door.


Walking a couple of kilometers down the Rhône from the hotel to the center of town, we passed this ghostly installation, people made of light perched in trees and wading at the edge of the river.


All along the walkway were moving light paintings with accompanying music,


and the bridges were ablaze.


Pretty much any available surface that could be light-decorated was at its best and brightest.


In the Place des Terreaux the City Hall became the canvas for an incredible laser sound and light show that took it from the baroque


through the gladiatorial


to the psychedelic, in a display of technical virtuosity that left the crowd oohing, aahing, and wowing.


We finally toddled off to bed when our feet gave out and our nosetips paled, despite the best efforts of the hundreds of street vendors of vin chaud,  while hardier Lyonnais swung up into the chilly sky for what was probably the best view in the house.

I’m not sure that we reached true enlightenment, but we were certainly well-lit, and those light people shone in my dreams all night long.


Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France

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12 Comments on “Let There Be Light”

  1. Lucy Says:

    Dinner was so nice, thank you so much! We really enjoyed seeing you and walking with you. L

  2. Eden Says:

    That looks so beautiful! I hope the news from the doctors will be bright and shining as well!

  3. Wendy Miller Says:

    Oh that looks and sounds amazing! I’d love to see that one day!

  4. Jeanne Says:

    Now, THOSE are Christmas lights! Best to you both this holiday season…

  5. I am longing to go to Lyon to cook and your pictures make me want to go there even more. Abra, I truly hope you and Shel get good news from this round of doctors. Love, ~Sharon

  6. nicole Says:

    What incredible pictures! Lyon is even more lovely than I imagined – thank you so much for the peek at the Fete!

  7. What a gift to be able to enjoy this by accident. Thanks for sharing it with us. Best wishes for good news for Shel and you.

  8. Arne Says:

    Dang it! Yet another reason to return to Lyon. Thanks for this Abra. Your eye on the world is, as always, a welcome diversion.

  9. Abra Bennett Says:

    I’m sorry to say that there’s no good news yet, but as soon as there is, you all will be among the first to know!

  10. That looks amazing!! We had a Festa della Luce in Montone this year for the first time, nothing like Lyon, but still fun. How very cool….. I wish NYC would do something like that, it would help cheer everyone one up a little bit.

  11. This year it’s the 8,9,10 and 11 December! Enjoy it!

  12. Catnip Cat : Says:

    our christmas lights this 2010 would be made up from light emitting diodes which does not generates so much heat*,’

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