At dusk in the picturesque village of Les Gets, Haute-Savoie, there is no better place to be than Alta Lumina, an enchanted woodland. Climb a gentle hill, past a small lake and you’ll spot the silhouette of forest from which soft blue and green lights lit up the sky.
I had no idea what to expect from my visit to Alta Lumina. Lights, sure, lumina is a bit of a give away. But other than that, I was clueless. My friends at the tourist office had been invited to test drive this new attraction when it opened to the public for the first time at the end of July 2020, and they hadn’t stopped talking about it. “We’re not telling you” they said when I asked them what it was like. “You have to go see it for yourself.”
Alta Lumina – an incredible multisensory experience
Alta Lumina opens when it’s dark. It’s described as an “immersive, multisensory experience that combines the poetics of light, music, imagery, set design and interactivity.” But if you asked me to describe it in just one word I’d say “magical”.
Like being in a fairy tale
You enter the forest to hear bird song and ethereal music and then follow the story of a travelling music maker who, in his hot air balloon, travels beyond the mountains. A path takes you past the most extraordinary light installations. I was convinced it was a real actor in a hot air balloon taking off right next to me when suddenly it disappeared in the trees! The story tells how the music-maker spreads enchanting melodies while storm rages in the distance.
There are what look like thousands of flowers made of light. Trees literally drip with shards of light like a torrent of rain if it were made of sunbeams. I heard a little girl say “I never want this to end”. But this isn’t just for kids though they will love it, it’s for all ages. If poetry were light and music – then this enchanted forest is a spectacular sonnet.
If you ever read a fairy tale as a kid and wondered what it would be like to be “in” a land of fairy tales, I think this is how it would look, sound and feel. It isn’t Disney, it has a gentle, soft, authentic vibe, drawing you into the heart of the forest, whispering of magic and bewitching tales.
This is the only lumina night walk of its kind in Europe though there are several lumina installations around the world. It’s a year-round attraction in Les Gets and you can buy tickets on line at: www.altalumina.com/en
What to do in the summer in Les Gets – it’s the perfect get away from it all holiday destination.
Les Gets Tourist Office: www.lesgets.com/en