French City Lights Up for Annual Festival
The city of Lyon in southern France is ushering in the holidays with the yearly Festival of Lights, a magical display of decorative Christmas lights that glow across the city.
Lyon’s historic monuments each feature a unique light display designed by local light artists.
The Celestin Theatre in the town center plays on the relationship between light and sound, where people can speak into a megaphone and manipulate the light show on the building with their voice.
Seventy light sculptures and shows are displayed this year, for a celebration that dates back to 1852.
The tradition started when the inauguration of the Virgin statue on Fourviere Hill was postponed due to heavy rain. But by the evening of December 8, the sky had cleared and the residents of Lyon lit candles and placed them on their windowsills as an expression of gratitude.
It's a tradition that is still alive today, although accompanied by much more modern lights and technology.
The main technological innovation to the Festival of Lights is the LEDs, or light emitting diodes. There are 20 percent more LEDs this year and one of the organizers’ objectives is to save electricity as a way to fight climate change.
[Antoine Bouchet, Director of Public Lighting]:
"We're going to have to play on two different levels. We're going to have to modify the lamps and we're certainly going to have to install more LEDs and we're also going to have to go on the functioning times and the power that is used."
The festival is expected to attract three million visitors.