Paris may be known as The City of Lights but Lyon continues to steal the title for at least a few days out of the year. During the 10th annual Fête des Lumières, or Festival of Lights, Lyon featured over 70 light projects from December 5-8 this year. This historical event began in 1852 to celebrate the new statue of the Virgin Mary on the hill of the Fourvière Cathedral. The citizens of Lyon spontaneously lit candles in their windows and celebrated the inauguration of the statue after it survived a ferocious storm. Citizens of Lyon pride themselves on the dazzling lights and annual events that go along with the festival, like winter markets and family activities. The extravagant lighting and shadows produced during the festival provide an artistic playground for still and motion photographers. Lyonnais photographer, Lollah, took advantage of the unique lighting in her collection of festival photographs found on Flikr. French cinematographer, David Heang, put together a great video of the festival on his blog, where you can also see photographs and read a blurb on the pros and cons of this year’s festival.
This year’s festival focused on sustainable development of urban lighting, sponsored by Recylum, a company that collects and recycles used light bulbs. While Lyon uses considerable energy to light the festival each year, by using LED projectors, they are able to “light more and consume less”. Watch interviews on the EuroNews website.
When the seasonal festival is over, Lyon doesn’t pull the plug on all the lights. Lyon is known for its year-round use of lights as an essential architectural element. According to the festival website,
The Lighting Plan and the top-level skills of local experts have made Lyon a major center of “lighting design” and urban lighting, whether temporary or long-term.
How does Paris, “The City of Lights”, compare to Lyon’s yearly and seasonal display? What other cities incorporate major urban lighting into their regular night life?