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Festival of Lights Paris 2019 – 2020 at Jardin des Plantes

2021 France Travel Update

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The Paris Festival of Lights at Jardin des Plantes

The Paris Festival of Lights is today a must festival of winter in Paris. After the success of the first edition, named Espèces en Voie d’ Illumination (370,000 visitors in two months), the Jardin des Plantes will once again brighten up the festive year-end with extraordinary giant light sculptures.


What is the Festival of Lights, Paris?

The Festival of Lights (Festival des Lumières in French) is a night exhibition that takes place in Jardin des Plantes and Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. This Jardin des Plantes Paris illumination show is an enchanting experience, for kids and adults, with monumental light structures set in the alleys and pitches of this beautiful garden.

Light Festival Paris - Polar Bear

First edition of the Light Festival, Paris Jardin des Plantes

New Paris Light Festival 2019 – 2020: Océan en Voie d’Illumination

The second edition of Festival of Lights Paris 2019 –  2020 is named Océan en Voie d’Illumination (Illuminated Ocean). This exhibition goes along with the Océans exhibition that visitors can already see in the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution.

Océan en Voie d’Illumination aims at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the endangered species of the oceans and the oceans and the environment in general. Follow us in this a magical moonlit stroll to discover the wonders of the oceans and its inhabitants!


Paris Light Show 2019 – Central Alley

The entrance to this exhibition is at Place Valhubert. On the park’s Esplanade Lamarck we can see the first giant lanterns. Some of these giant structures change color and others can even move parts of their body!

Paris Light Festival 2019

Paris Light Festival 2019

Paris Light Festival 2019

Paris Light Festival 2019


Great for your visit to the Jardin des Plantes Illumination

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The light sculptures are grouped in three different water worlds: the splendor of the warm seas, the mysterious universe of the abyss, and the frozen seas of the poles.


Light Festival Paris 2019 – Diving into the Warm Seas

The tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans offer us rich and complex environments. Although sunlight only penetrates the upper layers of the oceans, a variety of forms and ways of life have developed in these oceans. Today the overexploitation of marine resources is a known problem and we must find solutions to preserve this richness.

Paris Festival of Lights 2019

Paris Light Show 2019
Festival des Lumieres Paris - red fish

One of the exhibition’s highlights is the crossing through the giant belly’s shark. This is a popular spot for selfies and always a bit crowded!

Paris Festival of Lights 2019
Giant Shark

Inside the giant shark


This unique and poetic Paris Light Festival is paced with living performances on the theme of the fauna and the flora and workshops for kids aiming at raising awareness about the essential importance of protecting the environment.

After the giant shark, there’s a clearing with wooden stalls and some tables. Snacks like pretzels, crêpes, tarts or onion soup and tea, coffee or vin chaud are available for visitors for a quick warming-up.

Paris Festival of Lights 2019

Paris Festival of Lights 2019

Paris Festival of Lights 2019


Festival of Lights Paris 2019 – The Mysterious Abyss

The term “abyss” means “bottomless”. The abyssal zone is beyond 3,000 meters deep and constitutes almost two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.

The fauna of the abyss is composed of representatives of almost all groups of marine animals but the adaptation to the abyssal life is not easy, giving the origin of unique and sometimes extravagant forms!

Paris Festival of Lights 2019

Paris Festival of Lights 2019

This fish has so long teeth that it is impossible for him to close his mouth! Here it is represented as a giant lantern but he usually measures 18 cms.


Paris Light Festival 2019 – Ascent to the Cold Waters 

The Arctic Ocean, around the North Pole and the Antarctic Ocean, around the South Pole, are inhabited by small species suspended in the aquatic environment. They form the plankton, which is the first link in the marine food chains.

Today, under the effect of global warming, the ice sheets of the poles are melting more rapidly and marine biodiversity is already suffering from these upheavals.

Paris Light Show 2019

Paris Light Show 2019

If you visited the Festival of Lights at Jardin des Plantes last year, you will find some recycled lanterns but recycling is good! However, all the scenographies are new and accompanied by sound, music and other special effects.

Le Festival des Lumières is a fantastic addition in the 5th district of Paris and one of the best things to do in Paris at night during the winter holidays with family or friends. The festival of lights at Jardin des Plantes is open during Christmas in Paris but it closes on New Year’s Eve in Paris.  We loved our second visit to this amazing light show and we are sure that this year the festival will also be a success!


Jardin des Plantes Paris Illumination Show 2019 – Basic Info

Light Festival Jardin des Plantes Paris

» Location: Jardin des Plantes in Paris 5. Closest Métro Stations: Gare d’Austerlitz, lines 5 and 10

» Opening time: every day from November 18, 2019, to January 19, 2020. Closed on December 24, 2019, and December 31, 2019.

» Opening hours: from 6 pm to 11 pm

» To avoid last year’s chaos (or “bordel” like we like to say in Paris), this year only online bookings are possible. During the booking process, you will be asked to choose a date and a time slot. Tickets are valid only for that date and time slot and there are not exchangeable or refundable.

» Ticket price: 15€ adults; 11€ kids from 3 to 12 years; free for kids under 3 years. There is a discounted price if you book the 9.30 pm slot.


Paris Light Show 2019 – Our Best Tips 

» Buy your Festival of Lights Paris tickets online here. Unlike last year, tickets are now for a specific date and time slot.

» Avoid if possible the weekends and Christmas holidays. This festival is a big success since the very first day and everybody wants to visit it!

» We are unsure of which time slot is best for your visit. Overexcited kids are running everywhere from 6 pm to 8 pm while later, from 8 or 9 pm, the temperature is colder. This year (2019) we went on Wednesday at 6 pm. It was the beginning of the festival so we only waited in line for half an hour to enter at 6 pm sharp. However, at 7 pm we did the tour in the opposite sense and there were almost no crowds! The visit from 7 pm to 8 pm was definitely more pleasant (but it was very cold)

» The Jardin des Plantes Illumination covers most of the surface of the park so you will spend visiting all the lanterns at least 1 hour- 1 hour and a half. Wear extra-warm clothes!

» Check our Winter in Paris Packing List for women here and the Winter Paris Packing List for Men here

» We also recommend bringing a thermos flask with hot tea or similar to keep your body warm, Paris in winter very cold at night!

» If you are traveling on a budget and 15 € is too much for your wallet, you can still see some of the giant lanterns during the day and for free. It is not as beautiful as during the night but better this than nothing, we guess.


About the Jardin des Plantes in Paris

The Jardin des Plantes de Paris is a park and botanical garden located in the 5th district of Paris which opened to the public 400 years ago. In addition to the typical green spaces of a garden, there is also a menagerie, greenhouses, and scientific exhibition buildings, called galleries. The Jardin des Plantes is great for kids and adults to learn about flowers and plants or just for a stroll.

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