Festival of Lights in Lyon


From 8 to 11 December, Lyon will shine with its own light. One of the most magical festivals in France will come alive once again, as it has been doing for more than a century, to enjoy 4 wonderful days with plenty of activities and where light plays the leading role.

To make sure you can enjoy it to the max, we take you in the quickest and most comfortable and sustainable way on our AVE (high-speed) France trains, Alta Velocidad (high-speed) International travelling between Spain and France.

One of the best ways to start the Christmas holidays!

The origin

In 1643, a huge plague hit Europe and stalked the city of Lyon. Frightened citizens made a promise: erect a statue of the Virgin Mary, who would protect them from the plague. History tells us that the city was not struck by the plague and the promise was fulfilled.

To celebrate it, inhabitants decorate their windows with multi-coloured glass every 8th of December since 1852, lit with a candle. You will find the whole city illuminated during these days to celebrate a religious and profane tradition of the ancient capital of Gaul.

What can you visit?

The Festival of Lights enhances the city's exceptional architectural heritage with its most important monuments, main parks and even the two rivers that cross Lyon with resounding creations.

  • Illuminated square in Lyon

At 20:00, the whole city is illuminated by candles. We recommend watching how Fourvière hill is fully lit and combined with La Croix-Rousse.

  • Illuminated facades in Terreaux Square

Most of the activities concentrate in the city centre, Lyon's historic district and the old theatre of Fourvière.

What are the best shows?

Experience an underwater ballet show at Place des Terreaux, in which Bartholdi Fountain comes to life. The façade of Saint-Jean Cathedral plays with modern elements: 3D animations, uniting centuries of history at the same time. The two rivers of Lyon, Rhône and Saône, are also part of the magnificent festival: giant mirrors make monuments and bridges dance to the rhythm of the waves. 

Streets filled with light in Lyon

In addition to the traditional lighting with candles scattered across the city, the artistic shows are not to be missed. Façades shine and become a canvas for multimedia artists, who give laser life to monuments and sculptures. Many different stories are told, accompanied by music. A theme for each day and dozens of light animations and shows for free during the days of the Festival of Lights in the streets of Lyon, from 8 to 11 December. 

Travelling to Lyon by train

In December, France is filled with many opportunities to discover its treasures, usually surrounding by the spirit of Christmas, the perfect moment to enjoy with the whole family or friends. Simply choose your destination and we will take you there on our AVE (high-speed) France trainsAlta Velocidad (high-speed) International travelling between Spain and France.

Have you checked out our discounts? Take advantage of these offers and get the best price on your train ticket.