We got super lucky that we just happened to arrive in Lyon the exact weekend that all the festivities for the Rose Festival were taking place. We weren’t quite sure what exactly was going on, but it was apparent that some type of festival was happening because the entire city was decorated in roses. I kid you not, there were roses in almost every single one of the shop windows we passed, there were roses decorating statues, and roses tucked in every available space you could find. After arriving at our Airbnb apartment and chatting with our host, we were informed that this year Lyon was hosting the 17th World Convention of Rose Societies which resulted in the Rose Festival that we had noticed around town.
Our Airbnb host told us about an incredible fountain not too far from our apartment, located in Place des Jocabins, that was the center point for some festival events that were happening later that evening. We didn’t need any more convincing, so we grabbed a map and our camera and set off in search of the festivities.
After a short walk past shops decorated in roses, we approached the busy square and as my eyes found the fountain, I was completely speechless and I’m pretty sure I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. The entire fountain was covered in vibrant, elegant roses and I had never seen anything like it. I was in awe at the beauty of the fountain and couldn’t get over the fact that all the roses were real. I can’t even imagine the time it must have taken to place every single one of those roses onto the fountain with such precision and care.
After standing in awe, staring at the fountain for a decent amount of time, we tore our eyes away from the incredible sight and ventured off down the adjoining streets to see if we could find any other rose-covered gems. We certainly weren’t disappointed as we approached a shallow pool holding several large beds of roses floating in the water next to lines of rose-colored balloons.
After a while, we wandered back toward Place des Jocabins and noticed the square was much more crowded than before and now there was a circle of young women sporting rose-colored dresses standing around the fountain. We figured it was almost time for the festival events to begin and decided to stick around to see the fun, but mostly because we were super curious what the women standing around the fountain were going to do.
After watching men on stilts dance around, hearing music play, and listening (unsuccessfully) to a lot of speakers ramble on in French, they finally got to the part we were waiting for. To the sound of upbeat music, the women arranged around the fountain pointed canisters into the air and launched a shower of rose pedals high into the air which rained down around all the festival onlookers. It was exciting and fun to mosey around seeing the vibrant flower pedals scattered across the ground.
I had no idea there was going to be a Rose Festival happening the same weekend we were in Lyon, but some of the best memories come from complete surprises! The sight of the fountain completely decorated in vibrant roses is one that I’ll never forget. The World Rose Societies Conferences take place every three years, so the next one will happen in 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark (read more here). Based on the jaw-dropping beauty we saw at the Rose Festival in Lyon, if the festival in Copenhagen is anything like it then you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Were you in Lyon during the Rose Festival this year? Would you travel to see the Rose Festival at a future World Rose Societies Conference? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear what you think.