BOURG-EN-BRESSE IS NOT on any France first-timer’s radar. It’s not close to Paris, or on the Riviera. It’s not home to anything or anyone particularly well-known on the international scene. Yet it’s a place worth planning a visit around — especially this summer.
From July 8 to September 4, Bourg-en-Bresse is hosting the coolest light show in the country: Couleurs d’Amour (Colors of Love).
The mesmerizing event is now in its fifth year and has been a growing success with every iteration. In 2019, the town of 40,000 inhabitants received 80,000 visitors for the event. Not bad for a place that’s overshadowed by two tourism hubs just 90 minutes away: Lyon (France’s third-largest city known as the “stomach of France”) and Geneva, Switzerland.
The themes for this year’s Couleurs d’Amour are liberty, vitality, and optimism — a choice that’s meant to lift spirits after the strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that France implemented in 2020 and 2021.
Couleurs d’Amour 2020 (Photo: Marine Bontemps)
The light show will take place on the facades of three of the main landmarks of Bourg-en-Bresse: City Hall, the local theater, and the sumptuous Royal Monastery of Brou. Each is walking distance from the other, making it easy to see all of them in one night. City Hall is a minute away on foot from the theater in the city center, and the monastery is about a 15-minute walk (0.6 miles).
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Renderings of Couleurs d’Amour 2021 (Photo: B.Digital Évents – Abeille Brissaud)
The event is free and takes place every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The light show starts at the Royal Monastery at 10:00 PM and lasts 12 minutes. The projections on City Hall and the theater start at 10:15 PM and last 10 minutes. Each spectacle is repeated six times throughout the night.