PARIS – A light festival in France’s main botanical garden has nimbly transformed the alarming environmental issue of wildlife extinction into a visually stimulating, giant biological Chinese lantern show.
The French capital’s Jardin de Plants is featuring its first light show aptly titled: “Espèces en voie d’illumination” (Species threatened with illumination) an enlightening and entertaining night-walk exhibition featuring monumental light structures, up to 15 meters (49 feet) high.
According to the organization, the festival held at one of France’s national historic landmarks offers both the unique experience of an enchanting, illuminated stroll, but also raises awareness of the biodiversity of our planet, past and present, and the importance of preserving our fauna and flora.
Visitors are greeted by spectacular Chinese lanterns, representing animals extinct 65 million years ago such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops or Velociraptor species.
Curated chronologically, the woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers – more recently disappeared under the pressure of the first human settlements – are displayed next.
Upon leaving the endangered species area, visitors enter the Menagerie (The Jardin des Plantes Zoo) after crossing a 30-meter long, gigantic white shark.
The zoo area highlights the diversity of the animal kingdom with emblematic species such as pandas, elephants or giraffes.
These light structures, exclusively designed for this occasion, were manufactured in China by the China Light Festival, a company specialized in designing and organizing scores of European Chinese lantern festivals in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, among others.
The visit includes live nature shows and children workshops where they learn to build and decorate lanterns to take home as souvenirs.
Nearby facades of buildings, even trees, are also decorated and illuminated with dynamic devices, adding to the magic of a show that promises to become a surefire hit this coming holiday season in the City of Light and is set to remain open until Jan. 15 (closed Dec. 24).