A Glimpse at Les Villages Illuminées

Be sure to check out my other Living in Normandy posts here!

Celebrating light at the end of the year celebrations is a tradition. From the traditional burning of a log for the winter solstice to the modern-day illuminations in every major world city. The first fir trees were decorated with lit candles in the 19th century – light is omnipresent in our culture at the time of the holidays. 

Every year from early December to Early January, Orne and South Calvados hold a wonderful light competition. The Coupe des villages et villes illuminees is an annual event that brings small rural Normandy towns to life. It is a special year, but no less exceptional. The magic still operates in the Normandy bocage despite the ongoing energy crisis.

This year, municipalities have made efforts to reduce their electricity consumption, by adapting when the lights are on or replacing lights with the most energy-intensive equipment. LEDs have made it possible to reduce consumption by 10% compared to 1996, the first year of the competition for illuminated towns and villages.

The jury of the competition is organized by the Bocage en lumière association. Voting takes place up until the 31st of December. The winner of this last edition is Beauchêne, in Tinchebray-Bocage.

Mantilly church at night in the coupe des villages illumines 2022

The best way to see the lights is via a route map provided by Le Pays de Domfront tourist website, which updates the routes each year to coincide with the fierce competition. Personally, I chose to visit the 4 quarter-finalists, as well as Mantilly as it was on the way!

For more information on the competition itself, as well as to know the winners and categories, head over to the website here.

Here are my favourites from Saint-Roch-Sur-Egrenne and Beauchêne.

What do you like most about your local area?

Let me know in the comments!


Published by Briony-Molly

Photographer & Designer. Horse Owner, Book Fanatic

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