Are you visiting the third-biggest French city soon, or studying there for an exchange program? And you do not want to miss out on the best events that the city has to offer? You are at the right place!
French Iceberg decided to list all the main and best events in Lyon where you should go to have some fun. Lyon is famous for its gastronomy and you will find some food-related events but not only. The city is a great place for music and art in general.
Let’s discover the best events in Lyon now!
List of the Best Events in Lyon During the Year
- Peinture Fraîche Festival
Location: Usines Fagor
This art event in Lyon is taking place from October to the beginning of November for four weeks at the Anciennes Usines Fagor in the 7th district. In 2022 more than 53,000 visitors came to enjoy the work of 55 artists.
This is the perfect event if you are a street art lover. During this international festival of street art, many different French artists and international artists are coming to show off their skills on huge walls or surfaces.
There will be many different spaces and arts with sculptures, conferences, after works with DJs, street art workshops, spray sales on the spot, augmented reality murals, 5,000m2 street art exhibition space, 7,000m2 graffiti park (Europe’s largest), and much more!
- Salon des vins des vignerons indépendants Lyon
Location: Halle Tony Garnier
This wine event is taking place at the exhibition hall of Halle Tony Garnier in the 7th district. It is an affordable event that costs 6 euros for the entrance.
Once inside, you will be able to try and drink all the different French wines produced by independent winemakers. All the different wines are organized depending on their area of origin in France. You will also find an area for Champagne too.
If you like one wine at a stand, you can buy directly from the producer at a good price. There will also be some food stands. We recommend you go for the oyster stand accompanied by a glass of white wine!
- Festival of Lights / Fête des Lumières
Location: All Lyon
This is probably the most important event in Lyon. The Festival of Lights is an old tradition happening on the 8th of December.
The origin of Lyon’s Festival of Lights dates back to September 8, 1643. At that time, the city councilors went to Fourvière Hill to ask the Virgin Mary to spare the city of Lyon from the plague epidemic. If their wish was granted, they promised to repeat their procession every year on the same date.
Several centuries later, in 1852, the religious authorities decided to install a statue at the top of Fourvière Hill. The inauguration of the statue was planned for September 8, 1852, but flooding on the river Saône forced the authorities to postpone the event three months later, on December 8. On that day, the weather was bad and the inauguration was about to get canceled. But in the end, the weather got better and the people of Lyon spontaneously placed candles in front of their windows as night fell. The Fête des Lumières was born!
Nowadays the event is taking place from the 7th to the 10th of December (more or less). It is a HUGE light celebration all around the city. Where the most important buildings are lit up through artistic animations. Be aware that the streets are going to be completely packed!
You will be able to enjoy some mulled red wine and warm chestnuts to warm you up while walking in the cold and beautiful streets of Lyon.
Location: Eurexpo Lyon
Period: January (every two years)
One of the most important food events in the world, it is held once every two years. It is a professional event more than a public event. The last edition of 2023 gathered more than 210,000 professionals.
You will find tons of conferences around food talking about the current challenges in the sector with sometimes some famous French chefs speaking. You will also find booths with cooking demonstrations everywhere.
There are two important competitions, first, The Pastry World Cup where countries are trying to conceive the most delicious desserts. Most of the time the winning trio is always France, Japan, and Italy (the last winner of the 2023 edition was Japan).
The second event is the Bocuse d’Or, one of the most prestigious gastronomic food events. It was created back in 1987 by the famous French chef, Paul Bocuse. For every edition, the theme is given three months in advance. In total, twenty-four chefs from twenty-four countries are competing for five hours and 35 minutes in front of a public and a speaker with an electric atmosphere.
- Les Nuits Sonores
One of the best festivals in France you should go to! This is a techno festival that started back in 2003. It is now a well-known festival in France for every techno fan. This is a great moment of the year to enjoy the first sunny days of the year while enjoying some good music.
This festival is not really helped by the city counselor and it has to change spots almost every year. It is organized with day tickets and night tickets taken to different places.
You will find prestigious French and international artists playing for a total of five days. We would recommend you take some days off if you want to enjoy the festival. The next 2024 edition will take place at the new spot: Les Grandes Locos.
Read also: Techno Clubs in Lyon: Our Best Picks
- Lyon Street Food Festival
Location: Les Grandes Locos
For any food lover, this is the place to go in June. Lots of restaurants, chefs, and emerging cooks are coming with a food stand to sell their best yummy street food.
The event is taking place during a total of four days where you will find more than 400 free participatory workshops. You will need to book your ticket online in advance on their website. Be aware that you will have to buy the food at every food stand.
Besides the food stands, you will have the chance to see lots of concerts & DJ sets. For example, for the edition 2023, the famous French rapper JoeyStarr performed a fun concert.
- Les Nuits de Fourvière
Location: Théâtre Gallo Romain de Lyon-Fourvière
Music festival taking place in an iconic spot in Lyon, at the Gallo-Roman theater of Fourvière. You should go there just for the spot!
The lineup is pretty eclectic going from famous French and international artists to more alternative musicians. You can enjoy some Soul/Jazz music to Metal and techno music. The festival also offers some theatrical pieces at the beginning of the evening.
At the beginning of the concert, you are given a pillow to sit on (on the rock). Do not be shy at the end of the concert, there is a tradition. The whole audience is throwing pillows at the music scene. Reactions may vary from one artist to another, some are jumping into the pillows (as Mac DeMarco or Tame Impala) or getting mad (as the Famille Chedid).
Is there an event in Lyon you would recommend to us? Do not hesitate to share your mind with us in the comments section! We hope that you will go at least to one of those events in Lyon. For more tips about traveling to France or French events, go to our section about life in France.