Four million visitors are expected to attend this year’s ‘Fete des Lumieres’, the annual lights festival which has got underway in the French city of Lyon.
The high tech extravanganza has displays at dozens of sites. Some have little in common with the event’s origins.
A desire to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary spawned a tradition in the 19th century of lighting candles on December 8 each year. As people took to the streets the whole city was lit up.
In memory of the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is the special guest of honour this year, featuring artistic light displays from the country.
The festival is an opportunity for designers to show off their latest creations. Organisers say new technology means the four-day event consumes only 0.1% of the city’s annual lighting energy.
For most people, it is a welcome distraction from the winter cold. For the second year running a theatre in the city centre features an interactive display: this time inviting gamblers to try their luck as the front of the building becomes a giant pinball machine.