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Cultural digest: The best things to see and do in Europe this week

Karen with Dennis, Riot and Rosie from 'A Celebration of Dogs with Jobs', a new exhibition in London.
Karen with Dennis, Riot and Rosie from 'A Celebration of Dogs with Jobs', a new exhibition in London. Copyright RANKIN
Copyright RANKIN
By Amber Louise Bryce
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Lyon in lights, Timothée Chalamet's 'Wonka', Nicki Minaj's birthday album and dogs with jobs - here's what to enjoy in Europe this week.

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The countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun - but if, like us, you're procrastinating buying presents and want some suitable distractions we've got just the things. 

Festivals

Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières), Lyon, France

The Festival of Lights in Lyon last year.
The Festival of Lights in Lyon last year.Laurent Cipriani/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Walk through the streets of Lyon bathed in the warm glow of illuminations. The annual Festival of Lights takes place from 7 December to 10 December and sees more than 30 wondrous works of art on display around the city. It's a tradition that dates back to 1952 , when the Lyonnaise displayed candles in coloured glass on their window sills in celebration of a newly installed statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourvière Hill. 

Exhibitions and events

'Loading. Urban art in the digital age', Paris, France

A defining characteristic of many cities and its residents, street art has a long and fascinating history that this new exhibition at the Grand Palais Immersif seeks to explore. The immersive installation also looks at the ways in which technology has impacted urban artists, with heir works no longer confined to building walls and more easily taken distributed online. Open until 21 July 2024. 

A Celebration of Dogs with Jobs, London, UK

A round of ap-paws for dogs! For centuries they've been our loyal companions, providing emotional support and also helping to serve society, especially for those with disabilities or certain medical needs. Around 7,000 people in the UK rely on registered service dogs, but it's not cheap to train and provide them. To raise more funds, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has partnered with world-renowned photographer Rankin to curate a bespoke exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, open from 10 December to 18 December. From lanyard wearing therapy Huskies to police force Shiba Inus, the images on display remind us just how incredible - and cute - our four-legged friends are. 

The Gingerbread City, London, UK

Do you know what's better than eating gingerbread? Walking around an entire miniature city built from gingerbread! The deliciously festive Gingerbread City has arrived in Shepherds Bush, London at Westfield shopping centre and showcases moving train sets and cosily lit edible architecture, delicately frosted in icing and detailed with colourful candy. Just try not to eat any of it. 

Films

Wonka

Sweeter than a stocking full of chocolate coins, Wonka tells the origin story of Roald Dahl's famous chocolatier from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with a dandy-dressed Timothée Chalamet in the titular role. Directed by Paul King (Paddington), it's got musical numbers, CGI giraffes, eccentric villains and Hugh Grant as a bumbling oompa loompa, what more could you want from a feel-good festive film? 

Maestro

Out now in European cinemas and also our Film of the Week is Maestro, Bradley Cooper's biopic of American conductor Leonard Bernstein, focusing in on his relationship with Costa Rican actress Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan).

"A stylish, intimate and moving tribute to an artist and a family, as well as the confirmation that Cooper is the real deal just as much behind the camera as he is in front," writes our film critic David Mouriquand. 

European Film Awards, Berlin, Germany 

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The European Film Awards, which honour the greatest achievements in European cinema, will take place from 9 December in Berlin and livestreamed on Euronews Culture for those that can't make it. In light of this, we've shared our top five films from the Best Film nominees - add them to the top of your watch list. 

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé

In case you haven't seen it yet, Beyoncé's concert film has blown up the box office this past week, following in the foot steps of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour's huge success. Written, directed and produced by Beyoncé, Renaissance documents the superstar's world tour for her Grammy award-winning album earlier this year. 

TV

The Santa Clauses

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Based on The Santa Clause film franchise, Disney+'s spin-off TV show The Santa Clauses aired the final episode of its second series this week. 29 years since becoming father Christmas, an ageing Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) navigates his role in an ever-changing world - and battles against a mad Santa intent on reclaiming the North Pole. Silly, saccharine and not one for Scrooges.  

Music

Pink Friday 2 - Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is back with her fifth studio album, a sequel to her 2010 debut album, 'Pink Friday' and featuring two previously released singles 'Super Freaky Girl' and 'Last Time I Saw You'. Fierce vibes for Friday fun. 

Rebel Diamonds - The Killers

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It's nearly 20 years since The Killers released their debut album 'Hot Fuss' and we've been screaming "Mr. Brightside!" in karaoke bars ever since. Now the indie icons have released a greatest hits compilation of 20 tracks, including songs from each of their seven studio albums and a new track titled 'Spirit'.

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