Fête des Lumières 2010 in Lyon

Lyon Fete des Lumieres illuminated ferris wheel
A fishing statue
Giant desklamps
A building warped by light
Hovering space invaders
Reflection of trombone player in trombone

This year’s Fête des Lumières in Lyon was full of cool stuff and some disappointments too.

Held for just four days a year — and often with bitterly cold temperatures (it was about 2°C when I was there on Friday night), the streets on Lyon’s central island are closed to cars due to the huge influx of freezing pedestrians. I wrote about it here last year.

The giant Ferris wheel looked magnificent, but advertisements for new movies kept appearing when I was hoping to see something a bit less commercial.

And I wish I’d taken a photo of the ‘giant squid’ which was actually just a whole lot of cloth hanging from above that didn’t look a lot like a squid. It’s disappointing because the guide has this fantastic photo of an amazing squid, but that’s obviously just the artist’s impression before it was made. Many other illuminations suffered the same fate or weren’t working despite the darkness.

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However, the statues holding the fish was great! Pictured to the left, the four statues each had a fishing rod added, and tiny fish and ducks in bowls were dotted around (there are a few in the bottom right corner of my photo).

The fountain itself was dry, with lights and material added to simulate the flowing water. Although the photo can’t capture the flow, you can see the lights leading down from behind the statue. They impersonated water better than I imagined possible. The detail of the fishbowls impressed me further as they were a lovely touch to a great illumination.

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Up and down one of the main shopping streets were these great giant desk lamps which changed colour regularly.

They sat in the middle of round seats, but being an infrequent visitor to Lyon, I don’t remember if these seats are always here and that the creators came up with a great idea of how to fill the centres or if the seats are part of the creation.

You might also see some other lights in the street: these were illuminated cranes. They were still birds. I would have enjoyed them more if they moved just a little bit.

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This is an actual building, illuminated to appear skewed (if you look closely at the windows, you can see the illumination is weakened).

Members of the public were able to control how skewed the building looked by singing into a microphone. Different pitches caused the building to sway in different directions. This was possibly the most impressive illumination I saw due entirely to the interactivity.

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Last year’s flowers on the steps towards the Croix Rousse end of town were replaced by moving space invaders.

They started high and came down row by row, just like the game, then started all over again. They moved both horizontally and vertically through illumination of different rows and columns at different times. Very amusing.

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The place I stayed the longest didn’t involve any animation at all: it was a brass band of around twenty people who played everything from Blondie to Muse, and each member did a little spin when they played a Daft Punk medley that included ‘Around the World’.

It’s impossible to capture their spirit properly in a photo, but here’s one of the musician’s face reflecting in her own instrument.

Their clothes and movements were as quirky as their choice of songs. I don’t know who they were but they were a fantastically entertaining band to watch play. Bring on 2011.

About

I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “Fête des Lumières 2010 in Lyon
  1. Awesome photos! I love the skewed building- amazing what they can do with light. Toulouse has a rather mild x-mas, all the activity revolving around the marché de nöel. Oh well, a place to go for a nice glass of vin chaud.

  2. Emily says:

    Your photos came out much better than mine! (So much so that I am posting a link to your blog over on “Rue de France”… hope that’s OK with you!)

    Wasn’t that skewed building just amazing? I could have stood there for hours looking at it (if it weren’t for the risk of frostbite, that is…)

  3. Wendy says:

    Thanks to both of you. Samantha, Toulouse is one up on sleepy St Jean de Sixt, although we will be getting a xmas market for a whole three days!
    Emily, that’s more than okay with me – thanks for the link. The building really was inventive. It was one of the first things I saw so everything else was a bit of a let-down after that.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed the illuminations and managed to find some of the cool stuff… I gave up and went on a quest to find some good food instead! I hope you don’t mind but I’ve just linked to yours over at mine to give people a better perspective.

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  1. […] would like to read someone else’s more positive experience of the illuminations I noticed that Le Franco Phoney had some good pictures and got to visit more of the displays than I could be bothered […]

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