The Festival of Lights: A Lyonnaise Tradition

The Festival of Lights or le Fête des Lumières, in Lyon, France expresses gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus around December 8th of each year. This uniquely Lyonnaise tradition dictates that every house place candles along the outsides of all the windows to produce a spectacular effect throughout the streets. The festival includes other activities based on light and usually lasts four days, with the peak of activity occurring on the 8th.

The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon was struck by plague. On September 8, 1643 the municipal councillors (échevins) promised to pay tribute to Mary if the town was spared. Ever since, a solemn procession makes its way to the Basilica of Fourvière on 8 December (the feast of the Immaculate Conception) to light candles and give offerings in the name of Mary. In part, the event thus commemorates the day Lyon was consecrated to the Virgin Mary.



I never tire of looking at the Louvre. It is incredibly beautiful from every vantage. This photo was take in 2012 from the Pont Royal. 


Easter in Paris

If you're fortunate enough to be in Paris for Easter, plan carefully and celebrate in style. This primarily Catholic city offers everything for a traditional celebration: delicious chocolate confections, some of the most beautiful churches in Europe, and luxurious settings for brunch. Plus, Easter Monday is an official holiday in France. 

Joyeuses Pâques!


La Reine Margot

One of my favorite French films is La Reine Margot Released in 1994 and directed by Patrice Chéreau. It's based on the 1845 historical novel by Alexandre Dumas and stars Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Virna Lisi and Vincent Pérez. 

La Reine Margot is set in the late 16th century when Protestant Huguenots and Catholics were fighting over political control of France, which is ruled by the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX and his mother, Catherine de' Medici, a scheming power player. Catherine decides to make an overture of goodwill by offering up her daughter Margot (Isabelle Adjani) in marriage to Henri de Bourbon (Daniel Auteuil), a prominent Huguenot and King of Navarre. She also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, when thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot, who does not love Henri, begins a passionate affair with the soldier La Môle (Vincent Pérez), also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. 

Poisonings, murders, and intrigue ensue...


Brasserie Bofinger

Opened in 1864 and most recently renovated in 1921, Brasserie Bofinger is an absolute must for anyone looking for a pre- or post-Opera dinner. 

Not only is the food delicious, but the art and décor is a cornucopia of Belle Epoque design at its very best. Everything from the revolving door, spiral staircase, black leather bench seats, and bronze wall sconces to the ceramic vases by artisan Jérôme Massier and tulip-shaped lights by Müller Frères evoke the late 19th century style. Architect Legay, interior designer Mitgen and master glass makers Néret and Royé were in charge of the renovation. 

Bofinger is a feast for the eyes and tummy!


Eric Chauvin - Un Jour de Fleurs

A happy occasion in Paris provided the perfect excuse to send a celebratory bouquet from my favorite flower shop. Eric Chauvin's Un Jour de Fleurs is nothing short of incredible. With buckets of high-volume flowers like peonies, roses, and hydrangea, his boutique is like a secret garden. Chauvin's clients include luxury brands such as Hermes, Boucheron, and Dior, to name a few. In fact, he is responsible for the millions of flowers at the Dior Fall/Winter 2012 haute couture show.