Tunnel de la Croix Rousse, Lyon, France

CroixRousse Tunnel.jpgTunnel de la Croix Rousse – Modes Doux, Lyon, France

One of Lyon’s many little-known secrets is the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse. Tunnels and passageways have a long history in Lyon, with the most famous being the traboules of Vieux Lyon and Croix Rousse (sort of interior passages used to transport silk and other textiles without going outside). The Tunnel de Croix Rousse – passing underneath the historic neighbourhood – was originally opened to motor vehicles in 1952. It wasn’t until much later, in 2013, that the pedestrianised tunnel was opened – just in time for the renowned Fête des Lumières, an amazing lights festival held over several days in December every year. But even when it’s not the Fête des Lumières, the whole length of the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse plays host to animations, colours, and short films projected on the walls and ceiling of this long pedestrian tunnel. For a city that prides itself on films, cameras, tunnels (or passages) and imagination, the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse is the perfect combination. Traversing this tunnel is far more than for getting from point A to point B – it is a veritable work of art, bringing the viewer into the heart of the city.


Pro tip: At 1.8 kilometres long (roughly 1 mile), biking through the tunnel is perhaps the easiest way to enjoy the show – walking will take about 25 mins. You can rent a city bike from any of the hundreds of stations of the Velo’V all around the city at a very reasonable daily rate. Learn more about the tunnel hereAnimations from 16h to 20h on weekdays and from 14h to 20h on weekends. 


Christmas market in Prague, Czech Republic

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Market Square, Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas markets have been under attack lately, unfortunately quite literally. Besides the obvious sadness surrounding this, the changing dynamics of Christmas markets (i.e., the need to secure them as if they are war zones), is a sad notion. These markets are an old – in fact, very old – tradition through much of Europe. Beginning their tale in medieval times in the Germanic regions of central Europe, the first markets were held in the 14th and 15th centuries in order to officially ‘initiate’ the Christmas season (or the ‘Advent’). They are meant to be places of merriment – food, drink, music and dancing are common elements – as well as places of economy – merchants and artisans peddle their goods to Christmas shoppers – and, in a historical sense, a place of religion with Nativity scenes and theatrical productions from the Bible, though this element has fallen from popularity in modern Europe. The most famous Christmas markets are still often found in the Germanic part of Europe, such as Dresden, Vienna, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Dortmund, Cologne and of course Prague, though this tradition has spread to nearly every major and many minor cities in Europe. From Lincoln, England to Sibhiu, Romania, from Lyon, France to Tallinn, Estonia, Europe’s main squares have been dotted, lined and filled with stalls of all shapes and sizes, peddling artisanal goods such as jewellery, clothing, soaps, food, chocolate, wood carvings, paintings, perfumes, knives, dolls, toys, puzzles, figurines, sausages, blankets, tea leaves, scarves, Christmas ornaments, and pretty much anything else one can think of to Christmas shoppers of all kinds. They are a place associated with joy, the gift of giving, and the Christmas spirit, and are a long-lasting tradition throughout Europe. Let’s hope they stay that way…

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Sagunto, Spain

Las Fallas

Sagunto, Spain during the Las Fallas celebration.

Every year before Easter, the Spaniards build these massive statues for the festival called Las Fallas. Hundreds of sculptures spring up all over Valencia and the outlying villages for a month before the festival. Then, to celebrate the arrive of spring, they slowly burn them all one by one on the same night. To an attendee, it feels like the whole world is on fire!