The magic of the soirée lumineuses illuminated evenings

You don’t always have to travel hundreds of miles to get away from it all, get a change of scene and experience something timeless…

Romain and Emma, a young couple from Orleans, made the most of a beautiful summer evening to enjoy the famous Soirées Lumineuses illuminated evenings. This special event started in 2017 and only takes place three times a year, at the beginning of August. They told us about their experience.

We arrived at the end of the afternoon in the old town, which we didn’t know at all. There were people everywhere who were getting everything ready for the evening, we really liked the excitement!

We started by eating in one of the little restaurants in Saint-Aignan. We were on the terrace, it was really nice. Our holiday was actually planned a week later, but it felt like it had already started, an hour’s drive from home…

As the night fell, the streets gradually filled up. As we wandered around, we saw light displays everywhere, sometimes in unexpected places, shop windows, nooks and alleys around the collegiate church. Lots of lights were put in pottery candle jars, made by locals and professional artists.

Then we went to listen to stories and we saw performances and artistic displays. Everything is scattered all over the historic heart of Saint-Aignan… For two hours, time stood still: it was breathtaking!

We talked to the volunteers who take care of these evenings: they do workshops all year round to prepare and make objects, which they then install in the town’s streets. Some are trained, for example in storytelling. They also invite professional artists who take part in the event. They told us it was very rewarding. In addition to making tourists like us dream, it creates strong links between the locals.

We couldn’t see everything, it was so difficult to leave each event and each small feature: there were special and very different atmospheres. We’re going to talk about it with friends from Tours who have children so that we can all come back next year. It’s an experience to share!