Polar bears mingle with pandas and elephants in Paris light show

Polar bears mingle with pandas and elephants in Paris light show
Dinosaurs, polar bears and elephants lit up amid rhinoceroses, tigers and panda-shaped lanterns at a light show in Paris’s Jardin des Plantes that aimed to draw attention to the world’s endangered species.

Paris sparkles with illuminations every holiday season, with installations in various locations around the city.

This year, the botanical garden in the heart of Paris becomes home to the brightly coloured animal-shaped figures reaching up to 15 metres in height, installed by the China Light Festival, a subsidiary of Sichuan Tianyu Culture, known for giant lantern displays to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The show’s organisers want to warn against the pressure of economic development on nature and the survival of rare species.

The nighttime trail includes a slew of Chinese lanterns—but not the small, hanging type—that cover a field at the Arboretum with parade-float–sized structures, with other themed archways and playful creatures lining the pathways around the grounds. The lanterns, crafted by artisans from China’s Sichuan province, are arranged by their themes; this year’s pair of new themes brings penguins and dolphins plus an open-mouthed shark that you can walk through as well as a tunnel of lights filled with marine life.

If you attended last year’s inaugural event, you’ll find a few familiar lanterns (the colorful peacock that greets you, a dragon floating atop the water) but many have been swapped out for ever-so-slightly different variants. Some changes are for the better; well-lit selfie spots have been added, and the pathway around the Arboretum seems better paced, with more immersive pathways and tunnels of lights. A few lanterns are also now joined by light-up pads that, when touched, change the color of the installation. We were a little let down by the central lawn, though. The Chinese temple simply didn’t look as impressive as last year’s (and was missing the beautiful rows of red lanterns in front of it), and some of the Christmas-themed decorations and clashing music seemed questionable. Plus, that area just felt more sparse—but perhaps the extra space and seating for a performance stage will be welcome as Moonlight Forest gets increasingly crowded throughout the season. All that said, we think kids in particular will love all of the sparkly elements on offer.