Highlights of the Fête des lumières 2012 in Lyon

Posted on | December 11, 2012

‘La Fête des Lumières’ – the Festival of Lights – is an annually held event that takes place in Lyon, France.

The festival expresses gratitude towards Mary, mother of Jesus, on December 8 of each year. Every house places candles along the outsides of all the windows which has a beautiful aesthetical effect throughout the streets. The festival, which includes dozens of activities based on light lasted as usual 4 days, with the peak of activity on December 8th.

There were light displays projected onto iconic buildings and many light installations were mounted throughout the city. This was my third year at the festival and seeing the latest trends in light design from artists around the world influences my work and my knowledge tremendously.

The entire collection of installations with artists and the explanations behind the art work can be purchased on request at dk@cowsinjackets.com

Here a selection of my highlights upfront:

Fibre glass dresses ‘TROIS ROBES LUMINEUSES’ by Kim Tae-Gon.


THE DRAGON KING by Bibi and Agence Tagada.

ET SI? by Daniel Knipper.

LIGHT IN by Tilt.

BON DÉBARRAS BROCANTE LUMINEUSE by Doriane Roche et Mahé Chemelle.

ROMAN TYCA by Hexagone Illumination.




Candles on every window sill throughout the city.

Tips for your visit next year:

  1. Wear comfy shoes and walk to the festival locations rather than taking the metro. The streets are crowded.
  2. I do not advise to take children or animals to the city on Saturday. They might end up scrunched. Plus lots of youngsters end up being wasted early in the evening after drinking vin chaud over-excessively. Some of them become quite aggressive which is not healthy for people in the surrounding scrum. We nearly ran into a huge fight between club doormen and rejected ‘want-to-get-in’ visitors.
  3. Eat a big lunch and focus on visiting the sites in the evenings. Being stuck in line in overcrowded restaurants will eat up valuable time throughout your stay.
  4. If you’re keen to see most of the installations, arrive on Thursday and stay until Saturday. The streets are – especially when you carry a tripod – easier to access on Thu & Fri. The flood of people on Saturday feels scary, honestly.
  5. Book a hotel or a flat via Airbnb.com close to the main hot spots ‘downtown’. We stayed right off Place des Terreaux this time and being in the middle of the art work is priceless and your feet will thank you.
  6. I advise to do some research before you get to Lyon and not simply jump into a taxi. The taxi fare into the centre will cost you around € 65,-. Using public transport is not cheap either, but 2 people pay around €30,-, so less than half of the cab fare. The Rhône Express ticket from Gare Part Dieu to the airport costs €14,- (single fare) and the metro ticket for a single trip €1,10.