France is always a pleasure to visit, whether it's the peak of summer or the middle of winter. In fact, the snow-capped mountains and a festive atmosphere make it a wonderful place to visit. Here are two unique festivals you can enjoy here during December.
Festival of Lights
Lyon, December 5 – 8
This free festival is fun for the whole family. It's in the gorgeous French destination of Lyon, which is located in the east of the country. Each of the festival's four nights features a different theme and colour, which lights up the city's quaint streets, river and parks.
Sound and video further enhance the beautiful illumination of these landmarks. Why does this festival take place? In 1852, a statue of the Virgin Mary was supposed to be inaugurated on Fouviere Hill. However, bad weather impeded the ceremony, so locals headed outside with candles and lanterns to mark the event. This became a tradition that's now celebrated on a city-wide scale. Locals still take to their window sills and facades with candles and other decorations to mark this event.
Habits de Lumieres
Epernay, December 12 – 14
The city of Epernay is located in the Champagne province of France and each December celebrates the region's gastronomic culture. That means there's plenty of food, wine and genuine Champagne flowing. The event centres around the city's 'Avenue de Champagne' and which features picturesque heritage buildings and homes that date back to the 19th century. The street is also home to the world's biggest Champagne brands, such as Moet and Chandon, Mercier, Boizel, Perrier-Jouet and more.
It all began in 2000, when the region wanted to celebrate the milestone of the new millennium with festivities, lighting, food and other pleasures of life. Now, around 30,000 visitors are expected to attend each year to see the fireworks and sample the Champagne Bars that are set up in the big brands' front yards.
In addition to this, head to the Avenue de Champagne markets for demonstrations and tastings, while on Sunday, you can marvel at the Vintage Car Parade taking place at the Esplanade Charles-De-Gaulle. This will feature more than 350 stunning vintage vehicles.
France is the place to be this December, so don't miss out on these two fantastic and unique events.