I love fireworks and Christmas lights! So when a friend said let’s go to Lyon for the Festival of Lights on Dec 8, 9, 10, I jumped. But. It’s not really Christmas. There are nicely lighted streets. And a light show on the cathedral like we saw at Chartres, and Orleans. But most of the rest are art installations. Beautiful! But not Christmas. And that makes sense because the festival roots are a thanks to Mary for saving the town from a plague. The residents put lights/candles in the windows. This was normally in September but I think about 20-30 years ago, someone had the bright idea to move it to December… darker… timing for Christmas didn’t hurt. One restaurant said that in 2013 they served over 3,500 dinners in one evening! Yup. Good for tourism.
The crowds are huge! But they have crowd control down well. And after the attacks of Nov 13 and Nice, they have cordoned off the entire downtown! You get shuffled to the check point – just like cattle going on the cattle cars… And there were police cars parked at all major intersections – no way was a truck going to drive in like in Nice. The only time I was a bit unsettled was when we were directed around tiny streets to end up in front of the Cathedral for the light show. I looked around and thought this would be a great place to be trampled if the crowd freaked. I quickly put that thought out of my mind, watched, enjoyed and got out as soon as I could.
My first time in Lyons, I was introduced to the Bouchon…. The typical Lyonnais café/restaurant. And had the most interesting and tasty food – honey cheese! And pistachio sausage with potato sauce. Something called pimatele or near that – again cheese and potatoes and sausage. Miam Miam.
However, nothing rivals London as Queen of Christmas Lights! I went over for a day and evening just for the lights. I recall as a child enjoying the lights in Regent Street – they were huge chandeliers. This year – angles with wings! And lights everywhere I turned on all the small posh streets. Loved it!