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[LYON] Festival of Lights : Itineraries and tips, everything you need to know (1/2)

Cancelled in 2020 because of the health crisis, the Festival of Lights is back. Indeed, from December 8 to 11, 2021, the city of Lyon will offer a magical show to the spectators of the Festival of Lights. Indeed, the approximately 2 million visitors expected will be able to contemplate more than 30 artistic creations on 27 sites. So, in this first part of the article, discover our best advices to come to Lyon, on the occasion of the Festival of Lights.

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How to come to Lyon for the Festival of Lights

It is important to note that the Festival of Lights is a federative event and an attractive one. Indeed, in 2019, Lyon welcomes almost 2 million people during the Festival of Lights. Among them, more than 100,000 foreign visitors. In the top 5 countries represented: Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. A total of 260,000 overnight stays were booked in Lyon during this period. For this 2021 edition, the Festival of Lights takes place: from 7 to 11 pm on Wednesday, December 8 and Thursday, December 9 and from 8 pm to midnight on Friday, December 10 and Saturday, December 11.

However, following the pandemic, restrictions are applied this year. Firstly, masks are mandatory on all events, for people aged 11 and over. Secondly, the health pass is necessary to enter the establishments that are part of the program. Finally, if you have decided to take advantage of this magical atmosphere, you have several means of transportation to reach Lyon. Here is an overview of these different options.

The most economical solution: The bus


Several bus companies offer to reach Lyon from many cities in France and Europe. Indeed, between BlaBlaBus, FlixBus or Eurolines, you can reach Lyon at low cost. Furthermore, the rest of your journey will be easier because the terminals are located either at the Perrache train station or at Part-Dieu. There are public transport stops. Thus, you will be able to take the metro line A or B, the tramways T2/T1/T3/T4 or the buses.

The fastest solution : By plane


Voted best European airport, Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport is located 25 km east of Lyon. A multimodal hub, it is served by some 60 international cities every day. Easily accessible, several solutions are available to you to easily reach the city center of Lyon from the airport.

  • Solution 1 : The Rhônexpress Tramway, at €13.60 for 12 to 25-year-olds and €16.30 for those over 25. Departures are every 15 minutes during rush hour from 4:25 am to midnight. Access in less than 30 minutes to Lyon Part-Dieu and in less than 40 minutes from downtown Lyon (station “Vaulx-en-Velin la Soie” then metro A to “Place Bellecour”).
  • Solution 2 : The 47 bus of the Public Transports in Lyon (TCL), for only €1.90. Since September 2, it allows you to reach the T3 tramway at the Z.i. of Meyzieu in 35 minutes. But also to reach the Part-Dieu train station in 20 minutes (station “Gare Part-Dieu Villette”).

To discover the details of these three solutions, we advise you to take a look at this article.

The best value for money: The train

Serving a majority of major French and European cities, Lyon’s two train stations (Lyon Part-Dieu and Lyon Perrache) are still very good solutions for getting to the Festival of Lights. Moreover, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the SNCF offer you an illico EVENEMENTS rate for the duration of the Fête des Lumières. From December 8 to 11, get a 50% discount on your TER Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes tickets to Lyon. This promotion is valid from all stations in the AURA region, from Mâcon and from Geneva. On your return journey, take advantage of the additional TER trains and coaches available from Lyon stations.

The last resort: The car

During the Festival of Lights, we strongly advise you to leave your car in the garage. Indeed, access to the center of Lyon can quickly become an obstacle course. Between the crowd, the blocked roads and the forbidden access to the city center, it is not easy to circulate. Nevertheless, whether you are carpooling or driving your own car, we advise you to park your vehicle on the outskirts of the city. Where can you park? In one of the 21 Transports en Commun Lyonnais (TCL) park-and-ride lots. Offering nearly 7,000 parking spaces, they are accessible with a TCL transport ticket at no extra cost, until 3am. For a complete list of park-and-ride lots, see this interactive TCL map.

Now that you are ready to come to Lyon, go and have a look at the second part of our article. Here are our best tips to survive the Festival of Lights.