everything you need to know to enjoy the illuminations

When should you go there?

The Festival of Lights takes place from Thursday, December 7th to Sunday, December 10th, the “real” night, the 8th, falling on Friday. This year, the festivities are brought forward by one hour for the first three days. The illuminations will take place from 7pm to 11pm on December 7th to 9th and from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday.

As always, it’s best to focus on Thursday and Sunday nights to avoid crowds (but there will still be people!). For agoraphobics, it is possible to try it on Wednesday night, the day of the exams, to experience the facilities, without the crowds of tourists.

Please note that times differ slightly at Sergent-Blandan Park (Lyon 7It is), Place de l’Abbé-Pierre (9It is), at the Célestins theater (2It is) and at the Manufacture des Tabacs (8It is).

More information about www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/fr/page/heures-et-dates-fete-des-lumieres-2023

Lighting map. Image City of Lyon

What should you see?

For this edition, 32 works will be exhibited in the city, spread across seven neighborhoods. The majority will be concentrated, as every year, in the Presqu’île, in Vieux Lyon and in the Tête d’Or park.

But some will conquer other neighborhoods in Lyon. The illuminations will be found in the 7th arrondissement (Blandan park, as last year), the 8th (Manufacture des Tabacs etUnis) and the 9th (la Duchère). It’s a safe bet that crowds will be smaller in these areas further from the city center.

And if we haven’t seen the installations in “real life” yet, we can already place some bets. The Place des Terreaux project, in a popular location last year, is promising, based on the Lumière brothers’ films transformed by artificial intelligence. In Old Lyon, the work of Saint-Jean Cathedral, more modern than in the past, is intriguing.

Finally, we recommend the Tête d’Or park, this special setting, even if it is a little “far away”. No less than six installations are on the program and it is here that the lights of the solidarity heart will be installed (this year for the benefit of the Léon-Bérard Center) and the big pink men of Philippe Katerine’s “cuteism”, who will be there to inaugurate the edition.

Photo Norbert Grisay

Photo Norbert Grisay

How to get around?

The easiest way is often to walk when possible. A pedestrian perimeter (closed to vehicles, cars, two-wheeled motor vehicles, bicycles, scooters, etc.) will be set up every night in the city center.

If you stay away from the lights, Lyon public transport (TCL) will be your friend. Frequencies will be increased for trams and metro trains and special tickets will be offered at a price of €3.50 per night, from 4pm onwards. On December 8th, transport will be free from 4pm.

For motorcyclists and drivers, it is advisable to park in one of TCL’s 23 park-and-ride locations. The city center is in fact closed to traffic for four days, from 5pm to midnight and on some streets parking will be prohibited between 12pm and midnight. Finally, twelve car parks will be temporarily closed.

Finally, for those who want to go through the TER, SNCF offers – 50% when purchasing a ticket to Lyon.

More information about www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/fr/page/se-deplacer-dans-lyon

How is the weather? PENDENCY ?

It’s hard to know exactly what the weather will be like this year. According to early forecasts, this edition should not be as cold as last year, but like any month of December, it is better to end well. Since it might rain at the party, think about an umbrella. Finally, we advise you to wear comfortable shoes – the kilometers go by faster than you think.

And for eating?

Needless to say, the restaurants will fill up quickly over the four nights of the party. If they offer it, it is highly recommended to reserve a table in advance – some restaurants also offer special menus.

If you don’t mind being outdoors, the city of Lyon has re-established its “cafeteria” food truck offering (mainly Place Bellecour) with seven locavore offerings: raclette sandwiches, crepes and pancakes (with or without gluten), hot dogs (vegetarian or not), burgers, poutine and vegetarian options. And don’t forget the traditional mulled wine or its variations (in moderation).

“Follow-up” sessions

If you are not present during the festival (voluntarily or otherwise), you can still celebrate the lights in Lyon in December. The decorations of Rue de la République will still be visible after December 10th and the luminous birds of “Gazouillis” (Place du 8-May-1945 in the 8th district of the United States) will remain until the beginning of January. Last (and not least), the Basilica of Fourvière will take over the “Region of Lights” illuminations every weekend from December 14th.

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