France Festivals

Photograph: Paris Photo

Festivals in France

Narrow the France Festivals selection below using the intiutive search box to the right. It works a treat. Bon voyage!

24 Hours of Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans

Known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest and most prestigious motor sport endurance event. To stand atop the podium at La Sarthe, teams need to marry performance and durability over 24 hours of continuos racing. With the changeable early summer climate in the Pays de la Loire region of France, drivers are often at the mercy of the full gamut of weather and track conditions adding to the difficulty and the spectacle of the event. Part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which includes the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans is a place of pilgrimage for true motor sport aficionados. Over the week of the 24 Hours of Le Mans up to a quarter of million motor-sports enthusiasts visit the Circuit de la Sarthe.

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Europe France Le Mans Motor Sports Events Sporting Events June
Art Paris Art Fair

Art Paris Art Fair

Join more than 50,000 artists, art patrons and devotees for four days each March, as they descend upon the city of light for the annual Art Paris Art Fair. Art Paris brings together some 140 galleries from 20 countries under the celestial dome of the Grand Palais, presenting a wide-ranging panorama of modern and contemporary art that includes photography, design and art publishing.

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Europe France Paris Art Festivals Photography Festivals March
Avignon Festival

Avignon Festival

During the peak summer month of July, the entire city of Avignon turns into one giant vibrant theatre during the annual Festival d'Avignon. Founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar during France's heady post-war years, today the festival is divided into two very distinct strands, the main festival — the In and the fringe festival — the Off. The main festival features between 35 and 40 different shows, a diverse mix of theatre, dance, comedy, film and mime — French and non-French — totalling about 300 performances in all. Many of them are world or French premieres. On the Fringe or Off side of things, more than 1,000 companies offer up their blend of experimental theatre, comedy and alternative music and dance wherever they can, from churches to schools, to parks and street corners. It all makes for a great time to visit Avignon.

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Europe France Avignon Performing Arts Festivals Fringe Festivals July
Bastille Day (Paris)

Bastille Day (Paris)

France's national day, Bastille day, celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, and with it the start of the French Revolution. Formal celebrations kick off with a military parade beginning at 10am along, and fly-past at 11am above, the Champs-Elysees. In the evening red, white and blue fireworks light up the sky over the Eiffel Tower and River Seine as hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists cram the streets and set up picnics on every available square foot of grass within the 7th Arrondissement. The party continues late into the night as Paris' fire stations hold their annual Bats des Pompiers or Firemen's Balls, giving revellers the opportunity to drink and dance with the locals until the early hours of the morning.

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Europe France Paris National Festivals Street Parties Fireworks Festivals July
Big Festival

Big Festival

Biarritz' Big Festival brings an eclectic mix of local and international headliners to its French resort beaches on the Bay of Biscay, for five days each July. Past acts have included Moby, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the Wu-Tang Clan.

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Europe France Biarritz Rock Festivals Popular Music Festivals July
Bordeaux Wine Festival

Bordeaux Wine Festival

The bank of Bordeaux' Garonne River and her Esplanade des Quinconces provide the stunning setting for one of Europe's most celebrated wine festivals, the Bordeaux Wine Festival. Over four days and nights in June, over a quarter of million people sample the delights of more than 80 of Bordeaux' vineyards.

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Europe France Bordeaux Wine Festivals Food Festivals June
Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

Debuting in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival is arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world. Year on year it attracts the cream of the film industry crop to its award ceremony, its premieres, its parties and its industry events. For 12 days in May, Cannes is certainly the place to see and be seen.

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Europe France Cannes Film Festivals May
Chamonix Adventure Festival

Chamonix Adventure Festival

The Chamonix Adventure Festival brings together adventurers, explorers, athletes and enthusiasts from near and far to share tales and showcase their talents through film, photography, art and displays over four days each July. A film programme packed with inspiring tales with filmmakers, explorers and athletes on hand to share their exploits and inspirations. Film and photography courses run by today's innovators offer the chance for festival-goers to gain valuable skills and experience in the world of adventure image making.

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Europe France Chamonix Film Festivals Photography Festivals July
Coupe Icare

Coupe Icare

This is your captain speaking: strap yourself in for the thrills, colour and excitement of St. Hilaire du Touvet's, Coupe Icare — a four day fest of free flight featuring displays of aerial acrobatics, hang gliding, paragliding and hot air ballooning. In addition to flight competitions, there's live entertainment, street performances, plenty of children's activities, a flight museum to peruse, a commercial expo and film festival to boot.

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Europe France Saint Hilaire Du Touvet Ballooning Festivals Air Shows September
Dijon International Gastronomy Fair

Dijon International Gastronomy Fair

Dijon has long been considered a French centre for gastronomic excellence — a point that is flaunted to full effect during the annual Dijon International Gastronomy Fair. Attracting more than 200,000 visitors through its doors, the 12 day event is widely recognised as one of France's finest food fairs. No small statement in a country that takes its cuisine so seriously. Hone your cooking skills with demonstrations and competitions featuring some of the best chefs in the business. Pack your pantry with the food and wine from over 600 exhibitors.

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Europe France Dijon Food Festivals Wine Festivals November
Festival d'Aix en Provence

Festival d'Aix en Provence

The post-war years in France were marked by an artistic renaissance that led to the creation of the Festival de Cannes in 1946, soon followed by the Festival d'Avignon in 1947 and the Festival d'Aix en Provence in 1948. Music, poetry, theatre, the visual arts — all the elements that make up the magic of opera — are still at the heart of the Provence offering. A three week annual summer programme attracts some of the biggest names in opera for a series of concerts (Mozart, Handel, Rossini) at a selection of d'AiX en Provence's most iconic venues. Accompanying the operas, the programme also features orchestral, chamber, vocal and solo instrumental music performances.

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Europe France Provence Classical Music and Opera Festivals July
Festival de Marseille

Festival de Marseille

The Festival de Marseille is a multi-disciplinary artistic event celebrating major contemporary creations, new disciplines and dialogue between artists and the public. Since 1996, dance in all its many forms has been at the heart of the festival but the three and a half week programme also includes a rich mix of theatre, cinema, music and visual arts.

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Europe France Marseille Dance Festivals Performing Arts Festivals June
Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes

Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes

Every three years since 1961 the town of Charleville-Mezieres in the Ardennes Region of France has played host to the Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes. For ten days the town is over-run by all manner of puppets — from glove to string puppets, shadow and Bunraku, from real objects to on-screen, ranging in size from small and intimate to giant puppets. So enamoured with puppets is the town that since 1981 it has become home to the Institut International de la Marionnette, a permanent place of training, creation and exploring of new ideas in the art of puppetry.

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Europe France Charleville-Mezieres Puppet Festivals Performing Arts Festivals September
Festival of 3 Continents

Festival of 3 Continents

The Festival of the Three Continents is a film festival held annually each November in Nantes, France. Founded by the Jalladeau brothers, since 1979 the festival has worked tirelessly to promote the cinema of Asia, and Africa and Latin America in France. Feature films compete for the festival's top award, the balloon shaped Golden Montgolfiere.

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Europe France Nantes Film Festivals November
Fete de Ganesh

Fete de Ganesh

Paris' 18th arrondissement takes on a touch of Mumbai for a day each August during the annual Hindu, Fête de Ganesh. Following a ceremony at the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam Temple a colourful procession takes to the streets in a celebration of the elephant-headed and human-bodied Lord Ganesh — the Remover of Obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.

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Europe France Paris Religious Events Street Parades August
Fetes de Bayonne

Fetes de Bayonne

More than a million revellers descend upon the Basque city of Bayonne for five days each August for the eagerly awaited, Fêtes de Bayonne. With a history dating back to 1932, when a handful of locals tried to emulate a San Fermin style celebration in their own Basque neck of the woods, the Fêtes de Bayonne has grown to become one of Europe's biggest bashes. Like San Fermin, there's a strong bovine element to the celebrations including two official bullfights but there's so much more to the fêtes than that. The streets, squares, bars and bodegas become a sea of traditional red and white as for five days and nights a party of epic proportions pervades all public spaces. The renowned Basque hospitality and party spirit is evident in events ranging from tamborradas to the Bell Pepper Omelette World Championship. There's a strong children's programme in place including the Encierro Txiki (a bull run with bulls on wheels) and fireworks light the sky every evening. Stock up on sleep, pack light and prepare to party Basque style.

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Europe France Bayonne Traditional Festivals Street Parades August
Floralille

Floralille

During the Spring months from mid February through to the end of May, the residents of France's fourth city are encouraged to develop a green thumb during Floralille. Introductory workshops encourage Lille's locals to compose, plant and maintain their own flower boxes to hang from windows or create plant 'graffiti' on the walls of their courtyards or streets. Gare Saint Sauveur and Grand Place will be the focus of Lille's festival of flowers as giant floral installations add a bloom of colour to the city centre.

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Europe France Lille Flower Shows February
International Garden Festival

International Garden Festival

The classic turreted Loire Chateau has commanded a majestic point on the great Loire river since it was rebuilt by the Amboise family in the 15th century. Now each and every summer it plays host to the Chaumont Garden Festival – the French's equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show. The show attracts in the region of 150,000 visitors annually to view its 30 show gardens as well as the Chateau's landscaped grounds, flower house and deep gorge (complete with wooden suspension bridge).

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Europe France Chaumont-sur-Loire Flower Shows April
La Grande Braderie de Lille

La Grande Braderie de Lille

Join the French throng and bag a bargain at the annual La Grande Braderie de Lille, one of Europe's most grandiose flea markets. In an event dating back to Medieval times, each September Lille locals line hundreds of kilometres of pavement all over the city centre and offer up for sale all manner of trash and treasure to anyone willing to part with their cash. Word on the street has it that that bargaining actually begins on the Friday. In conjunction with La Grande Braderie, there's a half marathon, fairground rides and concerts for the family. Plan your route in advance, get your bartering technique in order, book accommodation early (estimates have visitor numbers at more than two million annually) and expect the unexpected. Stuffed squirrel anyone?

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Europe France Lille Fairs Street Parties September
Le Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier

Le Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier

Le Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier may be a mouthful to utter, but it's an event not to be missed. The festival offers up an eclectic and daring musical programme of more than 200 events. With roots as a classical music festival, since 1986 it has consistently stood out from the crowd by expanding its offering to include different genres — from opera, symphony and jazz to electronica. The two-week programme is packed with concerts, conferences, films and master-classes and the great majority of events are free.

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Europe France Montpellier Classical Music and Opera Festivals Jazz Festivals July
Paris Air Show

Paris Air Show

Established way back in 1909 — a mere six years after Orville and Wilbur Wright briefly took to the skies over Kitty Hawk — the Paris Air Show is the oldest and largest air show in the world. Today, the biennial event (held every odd year) takes place over a week in June at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris. The first four days are devoted to trade but the final three are open to the public. Visitors come in their droves to take in more than 150 aircraft doing their thing in the air and being exhibited on the ground.

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Europe France Paris Air Shows Family Festivals June
Paris Autumn Festival

Paris Autumn Festival

The Festival d' Automne à Paris — Paris Autumn Festival — has been doing its part adding to the cultural landscape of the city of light for over 40 years. In 1972, les Semaines Musicales Internationales (The Weeks of International Music) and the International Dance Festival were combined to create the Festival d' Automne à Paris. Today the festival spans genres from theatre through dance, music and film. Their programme runs from early September to mid-January and attracts more than 100,000 visitors to more than 40 separate shows.

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Europe France Paris Performing Arts Festivals Dance Festivals September
Paris Beaches (Paris Plages)

Paris Beaches (Paris Plages)

There's no doubting that Paris is one of the world's most loved and iconic tourist destinations. The attractions are almost endless — there's the Louvre, the Left Bank, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, heck you can fill a book with things to do in the City of Light. And since 2002, you can add the beach to that list. The beach? In Paris? It's true, for a month during summer at least (mid-July through mid-August). The banks of the Seine look more like Brittany than Paris as sandy beaches, deck chairs and beach umbrellas transform the riverbank from the Louvre to Pont de Sully and from Rotonde de Ledoux to the former Magasins Généraux. There's plenty of entertainment and beach-based pastimes added to the mix, as well as a number of food vendors and the ubiquitous summertime ice-cream sellers. So apply a little factor 15, grab your towel and make a beeline to Paris' beaches.

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Europe France Paris Summer Festivals July
Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week

If you've a passion for fashion and a penchant to party, then Paris' biannual celebration of haute couture is the place to see and be seen. Paris Fashion Week has been setting trends in the industry since Armani was in designer nappies. What can an attendee expect? Catwalk shows from the major fashion houses, plenty of bubbly and for those in the know at least, parties where no expense has been spared. A little tip: leave the denim at home.

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Europe France Paris Fashion Festivals July
Paris Motor Show

Paris Motor Show

Can you tell your camshaft from your catalytic converter? If all things vehicular get your motor running, then the Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l'Automobile) is definitely worth at least a day of your time. Held every even number year on and off since, get this, 1898, the Paris Motor Show is the Ferrari of European car shows. For a little over two weeks at Paris Expo in Porte de Versailles, all the major manufacturers or on hand with their latest production models buffed to perfection, to discuss all things auto with visitors from Europe and beyond. Each year there's a themed historical exhibition and the launch of a bunch of concept cars.

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Europe France Paris Motor Shows October
Paris Photo

Paris Photo

Year on year Paris Photo adds to its reputation as one of the world's premier fine art photography fairs. The magnificent glass-roofed, Grand Palais, the setting of the Fair, certainly does nothing to harm that reputation. Last year more than 50,000 visitors, from Paris, France, Europe and beyond took in more than 130 photo galleries and the titles on display from some 28 photo-book specialists. Works on offer range from classic platinum archival prints to modern works by photography's up-and-comers. A wonderful day out for all photography lovers.

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Europe France Paris Photography Festivals Art Festivals November
Paris Techno Parade

Paris Techno Parade

If being part of an immense sweaty throng moving to a single electronic beat is your thing, head to the City of Lights this September for the Paris Techno Parade. On the second or third Saturday of September since 1998, up to a dozen lively floats cut a swathe through the capital blasting out tunes from some of the worlds most renowned disk spinners to crowds in excess of 3000,000. At night, the party turns it's attention to local clubs where the action continues until day break. So pack your toothbrush, your dance shoes and a bouncy disposition — forget the pyjamas — and head to the Paris Techno Parade.

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Europe France Paris Electronic Dance Music Festivals Street Parades September
Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival

Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival

Dedicated to broadly-defined fantastic cinema — fantasy, horror, sci-fi, thrillers, animation and the like — the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival has been drawing fantasy film buffs by the bucket-load since 2008. For ten days each September, the Festival showcases new talent and established directors across an eclectic programme that includes independent, auteur, and studio films, documentaries, and heritage revivals. There's master classes, children's workshops, conferences, exhibitions as well as book and posters signings. But of corpse, there's more. Take your participation to the next level and join thousands of the undead as they take to the streets of Strasbourg for one of Europe's largest Zombie Walks.

More Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival info...

Europe France Strasbourg Film Festivals September
Tour de France

Tour de France

No sporting event evokes the national interest like the Tour de France does in its homeland. Le Tour is a French institution, a massive event on any scale and a phenomenon as intriguing as any on the world sporting calendar. Over 23 days and 21 stages through the full gamut of terrain, weather and road conditions Le Tour is the ultimate endurance test for any cyclist and a great place to see the French and their captivating country at it's very best. Although the overall Tour placings are typically settled before the final stage into Paris, it's still great place to snatch of glimpse of the flying metal and lycra.

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Europe France Paris Cycling Tours and Events Sporting Events National Festivals July
Versailles Festival

Versailles Festival

The spectacular Palace of Versailles opens it's not insignificant doors to the public for five weeks each summer, for a series of classical concerts, shows and events. The Versailles Festival attracts some of the finest classical and operatic talent from France and abroad. Accompanying the concerts are an exhibition of contemporary art and the Grandes Eaux fountain shows set in the magnificent Palace gardens designed by André Le Nôtre.

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Europe France Versailles Classical Music and Opera Festivals June
World Cup of Pastry

World Cup of Pastry

Pastry perfectionists gather each January in Lyon to fashion, sculpt and mould the most magnificent, mouth-watering desserts this side of the Dordogne in the annual Coupe du Monde de Patisserie. Chocolate by the barrow, pastry by the pound and the world's finest pâtissiers mark this event as a must-see for those who appreciate their dessert as much as their art.

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Europe France Lyon Food Festivals January

France Festivals on the Map