Official reception of the Grand Départ at Schloss Benrath

Preparations completed: Festival of Lights under the banner of the Tour de France.

The Festival of Lights at Schloss Benrath on Friday, 30 June is to be held under the banner of the start of the Tour de France. Extensive preparations have been made, because this year, on the occasion of the Grand Départ, there is a special feature: great sport meets great culture. In the illuminated Schloss, Mayor Thomas Geisel will welcome the Tour–de-France officials along with prominent figures from Germany and abroad. Among others, Marie-Odile Amaury, Présidente-Directrice Générale of the Groupe Amaury, to which ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) also belongs, will sign the Golden Book of the state capital.

In addition, numerous representatives from politics, business, sport, culture and society are expected and, together with the citizens and guests, will enjoy the savoir-vivre at the Festival of Lights. Lord Mayor Thomas Geisel: "I am looking forward to a beautiful evening with international guests in the historical ambience of Schloss and Park Benrath."

The Festival of Lights is Düsseldorf’s most famous classic open-air event and attracts more than 10,000 people to Benrath Schlosspark every year. In addition to the romantically illuminated baroque building, the concert of the Düsseldorf Symphonic Orchestra, which starts at 10 pm, promises to be a special treat for the ears. Under the direction of the conductor Aziz Shokhakimov, they will present works by Leonhardt Bernstein, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré and Camille Saint-Saëns. The diverse music program is impressively supplemented by excerpts from "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and the Valse des fleure by Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky. Among others, the following prominent guests are expected at the reception:

Prince Albert II of Monaco, Christian Prudomme, Directeur du Tour de France, Marie-Odile Amaury, as mentioned above, Présidente-Directrice Générale of the Groupe Amaury, Rose Williams, Mayor of Reading, Renata Kaznowska, Vice President of Warsaw, Jean-Claude Dardelet, Department of International and Cultural Affairs of Toulouse, Rudolf Scharping, President of the German cycling federation, Dr. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, German Ambassador to France, Dirk Brengelmann, German Ambassador to the Netherlands, Anne-Marie Descôtes, French Ambassador to Germany, André Gilles, Député Provincial President Palais Provincial Liege, Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht, Hubert Bruls, Mayor of Nijmegen, Hans Wilhelm Reiners, Lord Mayor of Mönchengladbach, Barbara Ludwig, Lord Mayor of Chemnitz, Maria Lorena Gutierrez Botero, Ambassador of Colombia, Jan Sobczak, Consul General to Poland, Andrea Milz, designated Secretary of State for Sport and Honorary Office NRW, André Kuper, President of the Houses of Parliament NRW, Dirk Brengelmann, German Ambassador to Niederlanden, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, Jean-Etienne Amaury, Président Amaury Sport, Brian Cookson, Président Union Cycliste Internationale, Dr. Bernd Kunth, Honorary Consul of Monaco, Vincent Muller, Consul General of France, Susan Speller, Consul General of Great Britain, Brian Cookson, Président Union Cycliste Internationale.

In this special atmosphere, the guests have the opportunity to soak up the artistically elaborate design of Benrath Schlosspark, which is also illuminated by the lights. They can either sit with a picnic basket and a rug on the lawns of the Schloss, or purchase food and drinks at the stands in the concert grounds. The organisers also offer the guests ready-made baskets with a French picnic, which could be booked in advance.

In addition, all the guests are also warmly welcome to contribute to the ambience of the Festival of Lights on the picnic lawn next to the pond: from the tea light to candelabra, everything can be brought along which could contribute to the special flair of the evening. The culmination of the festival is provided by the fireworks. They start just before midnight and round off the festive evening.

Brief schedule:

6 pm admission to the Festival of Lights Schloss Benrath

8 pm supporting programme of the Festival of Lights

8.30 pm official reception of the Tour-de-France officials

by Lord Mayor Thomas Geisel in Schloss Benrath (only for invited guests!)

10 pm start of the concert

11.55 pm fireworks