When facades light up: 11 cities to see December in colour

A city is beautiful at night... Especially when the end-of-year celebrations are coming up. Here is a look at the Christmas illuminations planned in 11 French cities, with a mix of fairy tale and sobriety.

In addition to the traditional Christmas illuminations, there are now artistic and scenic illuminations, which follow the façades of the most beautiful monuments in colour and in 3D. When technology, architecture and poetry meet, the show is simply amazing! This year, French cities are making massive use of LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient but just as magical!


Every year in December, Lyon competes with Paris for the title of city of light. Born from a tradition inviting the people of Lyon to light up their windows with a luminous candle since 8 December 1852, the Fête des lumières has also been an artistic performance since 1999. For four days and nights, the most talented lighting designers, video and graphic artists and visual artists of the moment come together to adorn the city with original, surprising but always luminous installations. See you from 7 to 10 December for the 2023 edition.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights (External link)

Annecy Lake

Overlooking Lake Annecy, in the Alps, the castle of Menthon-Saint-Bernard is transformed into Father Christmas' castle for the end of year festivities. The castle's facade will be illuminated by video mapping. The illumination of the Christmas tree should also bring stars to the eyes of the children. Other Christmas activities at the castle of Menthon-Saint-Bernard include Santa's workshop with the creation of Christmas ornaments, an ice rink, guided tours of the castle with readings of Christmas tales, musical entertainment, shows for young people and a Christmas craft market...

Santa's castle in Menthon-Saint-Bernard, near Annecy (External link)
From 17 November 2023 to 6 January 2024


Renowned for being one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, the Place Stanislas in Nancy, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1983, hosts the Legend of Saint Nicolas, patron saint of Lorraine, on its monumental façades every evening from 18 November to 3 January. Ten minutes of a show that should make the eyes of young and old shine.

Celebrating the Saint Nicholas' Day celebrations in Nancy (External link)
From 24 November 2023 to 7 January 2024


What will the Christmas lights look like in the centre of Angers? To find out, we must wait until 2nd December and the arrival of Father Christmas, in a horse-drawn carriage, in the Jardin du Mail, to whom the mayor will hand over the keys to the city. We will then know the clothes of light that locals and visitors will be able to admire during the end of year celebrations. The colourful projections on the façade of the
The colourful projections on the façade of Saint-Maurice Cathedral, a masterpiece of Anjou's Gothic style, are eagerly awaited.

Winter Lights in Angers, Pays de la Loire (External link)
From November 29, 2023 to January 7, 2024.


A pioneer in the field of video mapping - the capital of Brittany was one of the first cities to stage and illuminate the facades of its most beautiful monuments - Rennes is offering a new show this year, projected onto the facade of the Town Hall, which has been transformed for the occasion into a "grand café of lights" with its festive jukebox inviting spectators to hum Christmas carols.
Other Christmas illuminations are planned in the streets and squares of the city, such as in the Place du Parlement de Bretagne. A light parade is also being organised on 2nd December. To make sportsmen and women (and others) aware of energy saving, it will be possible to light up one's own Christmas tree.

Christmas in Rennes, Brittany (External link)
From December 2, 2023 to January 7, 2024


The capital of Champagne puts on its "Habits de Lumière" as every year from December 8th to 10th with, as a highlight, a sound and light show projected on the façade of the Town Hall immersing the spectators in the History of Epernay followed by a firework display. 3 days and evenings of festivities between theatrical troupes, light installations, performances but also sparkling tastings in the Champagne Houses whose shops are transformed into ephemeral bars. Bubbles to be consumed in moderation!

Dressed in Lights in Epernay, in Champagne (External link)
From 8 to 10 December 2023


The Place du Capitole and its Christmas market with 100 chalets will be the starting point for any stroll to discover the illuminations of the pink city. Then head for Place Wilson to admire the sparkling Goudouli fountain and the gigantic illuminated fir tree on the Allées Jean Jaurès, made from no less than 400 trees! The Rue d'Alsace-Lorraine, a very busy shopping street, will also benefit from a special lighting scheme. So don't forget to look up to the sky between two shopping trips.

Christmas in Toulouse (External link)
From 24 November 2023


A masterpiece of Gothic art, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Amiens, in the Hauts-de-France region, the largest cathedral in France, will be decked out in light during the festive season. Every evening, from 1 to 31 December, a 50-minute sound and light show will illuminate the façade of the building. To wait for the show, meet on 25 November in the courtyard of the town hall, the starting point of a luminous and poetic parade in the town and the kick-off of the festivities with the inauguration of the largest Christmas market in France with no less than 120 craft chalets.

Illumination of the Notre-Dame d'Amiens cathedral, from 1 to 31 December 2023
Christmas lights in Amiens, Hauts-de-France (External link)


From the Rocher de la Vierge to the Casino, via the Port-Vieux and the Town Hall, the main monuments and places that can be reached in Biarritz, in the Basque Country, will be illuminated during the festive season. From 17 December onwards, sound and light shows will be projected onto the façades of these monuments, adding to the magic of the Christmas period.

Biarritz en Lumière (External link)
from 1st December 2023 to 7 January 2024


In Bordeaux, the Christmas lights are not limited to the city centre. A few tram stops away, the Parc Bordelais, the city's green lung with a surface area of 28 hectares, is hosting the Lantern Festival this winter. Indians, cosmonauts or giant dinosaurs, more than 500 sculptures illuminated with LED lighting are on display as part of the "Odyssey of Light" exhibition. A one-hour nocturnal stroll to escape and explore the links between man and nature.

Lantern Festival in Bordeaux Park (External link)
from 28 November 2023 to 7 January 2024


From the Fabre Museum to the Arc de Triomphe, via the Opera Comédien, the Prefecture, Saint-Pierre Cathedral and the Peyrou promenade, ten or so of Montpellier's monuments and key places will be illuminated for a weekend of festivities, Coeur de Ville en lumières, to kick off the Christmas illuminations. 15 artistic sound and light projections are to be discovered. A great opportunity to highlight the historical heritage of the Ecusson district.

Coeur de Ville en lumières (External link)
16 and 18 November 2023
Christmas Lights in the City (External link) from November 26, 2023 to January 7, 2024