Les lumignons de la Fête des lumières, le 8 décembre à Lyon © Ville de Lyon

The origins of the Fête des Lumières go back to the inauguration of the gilded statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourvière. The inauguration was initially scheduled to take place on the 8th of September 1852, but was delayed until the 8th of December when the Saône broke its banks and flooded the workshop of the sculptor Joseph-Hugues Fabisch. 

When the big day arrived, heavy rains threatened the planned illuminations, but as evening came the skies cleared and the locals spontaneously placed small lanterns (known as ‘lumignons’) on their window sills – the ‘Fête des Illuminations’ was born!

This tradition has lived on and every 8th of December, the people of Lyon light up their windows and take to the streets to admire their beautifully lit city.

In 1999, the 8th of December became the ‘Fête des Lumières’ that we know and love. It now lasts for four days and attracts visitors from all over the world.