Paris may be the City of Light, but you need to head further south to witness France's greatest illuminated achievement: Lyon's "Fête des Lumières." Grab un stylo and take notes: You'll want to add this beautiful, historic festival of lights to your 2017 travel bucket list.
The festival is held annually on December 8, but its origin dates back to 1852 and beyond. It all started in 1643 as an homage to the Virgin Mary: The Bubonic plague swept through the south of France, wreaking havoc and killing thousands of people. Lyon was no exception and the city's officials prayed to the Virgin Mary, promising to honor her if the epidemic ceased. Miraculously enough, it eventually did -- and it even worked again in 1832, as the Holy Mother is credited with sparing the city from deadly cholera.