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By Alex Ward
PUBLISHED: 14:28 EST, 7 December 2012 | UPDATED: 16:59 EST, 7 December 2012
The majestic buildings of Lyon have become illuminated in brilliant light in one of France’s biggest cultural events, its annual Festival of Lights.
Every year in early December the spectacular light display attracts some three million visitors to the historic city.
People come to gaze at flashes of light and flares, as well as performers and creative displays at the four-day event which is on until this Sunday.
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Brilliantly bright: A historic building in Lyon lit up for the annual Festival of Lights, one of France's biggest cultural events
Spectacular display: The buildings are lit up with incredible images and colours in the four-day event which attracts some three million visitors each year
But while the festival is cutting-edge in outlook, its origins lie far in the past.
It has been ingrained in the calendar since 1852 and even then, came into being as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, part of a promise made when an outbreak of plague in the city subsided in 1643.
The unique Lyonnaise tradition sees every house put candles along the outside of all windows, creating a spectacular light throughout the streets.
This year each night has a different theme, colour scheme and vibe and has been created by designers from all over the world.
Music, sound and video accompany the vibrant displays that incorporate buildings, rivers and parks.
Changing facades: The displays, projected onto buildings in the French city, change creating beautiful displays of creative, unique lighting changing the entire look of the building as put in lights
Cutting-edge entertainment: People watch on in awe as flares go off around this statue at the festival which is one until this Sunday
Sets the mood: Illuminated hearts line this street in the festival which has been ingrained in the calendar since 1852 as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, part of a promise made when an outbreak of plague in the city subsided in 1643
International influence: Designers from all over the world have taken part in the festival to create various displays around the city
Bright lights, big city: The buildings seem to move as this lighting animation moves across the facade in Lyon, France
Themed festivities: This year each night of the four-day event has a different theme, colour scheme and vibe
A city in colour: Colourful outdoor lights and flags have become a fixture during the Festival of Lights, brightening the nights for visitors and residents alike as the temperature drops
Lining the streets: The unique Lyonnaise tradition sees every house put candles along the outside of all windows, creating a spectacular light throughout the streets