Millions Drawn to Lyon’s Fête des Lumières

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Fête des Lumières, or the Festival of Lights, takes place in Lyon, France, every year around December 8th for four days. The Festival of Lights is the most popular event in Lyon, drawing crowds of several million into the city’s illuminated streets each year. It includes over 80 lighting scenes all across the city of Lyon including the Place de la République, Place Bellecour, Place des Terreaux, Marches de la Guillotière, & the Place de la Bourse. The celebration unveils the architectural treasures of the city in a beautiful and unique way.

Fête des Lumières’ origins date back to 1643 when the inhabitants of Lyon were struck by the plague and spared. During the outbreak, the city council promised to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary should she save them, so every year on December 8th candles were lit and offerings were given in her name. The tradition of families placing burning candles on windowsills is still observed today, in addition to the extravagant and professionally run light performances.