Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fête des lumières

Every year Lyon exclusively hosts the Fête des lumières aka Festival of Lights. This four day event is a tribute to the Virgin Mary for sparing the city from the plague in the 1600s; hence the 'Merci Marie' sign on the Fourvière hill. Nathan and Betsy invited me to stay the weekend with them and take in two nights of it all. Now I always knew Lyon was going to be jam packed with people (the unanimous decision was that being in these crowds felt like being born), but it wasn't until I got on my first bus from Trévoux that I realized just how many people it drew out. On a good day I'm one of four people riding the bus to the half-way point. But this past Saturday I was one of fourteen. This, I thought, must be a big deal! It was at the half-way point that I discovered that another tradition for this big charade in Lyon is public transportation strikes. That was lovely, let me tell you.

The Fête des lumières is not your average Christmas light display. While the streets are lit up for the holidays in a typical way, these four nights also include light instillations at some of Lyon's most important monuments, squares, etc. Some of these are projections onto buildings and others are glowing pieces of artwork. Voilà:

Fête des lumières from Sally Anderson on Vimeo.

It was a fun weekend and I'm glad I got to take part in it. Not only did I get to spend time with great people and try vin chaud for the first time, but... I got a dream catcher from French Canadians in a teepee at the German Christmas market. Talk about random! I've been wanting one for my car back home for a while, but this was certainly not where I was expecting to find it! But that's the way the gingerbread man crumbled!

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