Festival of Lights: Crowds show up as Lyon emerges from the shadows

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Lyon’s world-famous Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières) attracted crowds as it marked the start of the Christmas season under the rain on Wednesday night.

Now showcasing its second day of poetic sounds and light performances, thousands of visitors are expected to turn up on Thursday night, with strict sanitary measures put in place due to the surging COVID-19 figures in France.

When entering indoor installations, barriers and security staff lead the way – visitors are asked to show proof of vaccination and are only allowed to eat and drink in restricted areas.

But the presence of policemen and soldiers to enforce the rulesdid not seem to be a turn-off for the crowds.

“When we arrived, we were very pleased to see the security measures, there are a lot of soldiers and policemen. As for sanitary measures, it’s really good that they remind you to wear the mask,” one of the visitors told Euronews.

Despite the inclement weather, children and adults alike enjoyed magical shows of lights throughout the entire city.

“It’s an amazing festival and usually there are a lot of people and it’s beautiful in Lyon. Every year, we benefit a lot from it,” said Eva Lebrun, a resident.

This year, 27 squares form part of the backdrop for 31 poetic sound and light performances in the gastronomic city.

“We already saw the performance twice. It’s really nice because they use two buildings. This creates a very immersive experience. It’s really nice,” added visitor Gabriel Réquin.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected every day until Saturday, a positive boost for Lyon and its economy after the event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Festival of Lights is also a reminder of another pandemic. In 1643, residents of Lyon gave thanks to the Virgin Mary for delivering them from the plague.

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