Festivals in France

Festivals in France are great places to sample French culture in many forms: music, art, theatre, religious pageantry and food. Everybody comes out to enjoy the fun.

The festivities start up full force in Spring.  The weather becomes warmer and people go outside.  July and August are the busiest months.


Some Festivals in France happen all over the country.  Others are specific to the region and its culture.

Bastille Day traditions, a national holiday brings celebrations across France with fireworks, parades and fun for all.

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer bullfight arena
Pin It

Festivals in the south of France celebrate bullfighting season. This type of bullfighting is not bloody for the bull and hopefully not  bloody for the matador.  One of the matador’s challenge is to jump over the horns of the charging bull! 

All across the country Autumn brings the harvest festivals, and Christmas in France is celebrated with pageants and holiday markets that characterize the regional heritage.  For example the most elaborate and beautiful Christmas decorations are in Alsace and reflect its Germanic influence.

Festivals in France Countrywide

The festivals listed below are held all over France or in several regions.

May

  • Fête de la TransHumance (end May) Herds of animals are taken up to graze in summer pastures.

June

  • Fête de la Musique (June 21)
    Celebrating World Music Day with free and paid music events and concerts
    http://www.fetedelamusique.culture.fr

  • Fête de St-Jean (June 24)
    Music, bonfires and fireworks celebrating the passing of the summer solstice and the feast of Saint John (Jean) the Baptist

September


Festivals in France by Region

Alsace Lorraine

April

  • Floréal Musical d’Epinal, Vosges Region, Multi genre music festival

May

  • Floréal Musical d’Epinal (through mid May), Vosges Region
    Multi genre music festival

June/July

  • Strasbourg International Music Festival


Aquitaine & Poitou

January

  • Festival de la Bande Dessinée (last weekend Jan), Angoulême, Poitou
    International strip cartoon festival

July

  • Francofolies (mid July), La Rochelle
    Music festival
  • Mont-de Marsan Feria (3rd weekend July)
    Bullfights and music

August

  • Mimos (1st week Aug), Périgueux, Dordogne
    World famous international mime festival
  • Feria-Bullfight (mid Aug), Dax

Brittany

July

  • Tombées de la Nuit (first week July) Rennes
    Arts festival
  • Troménie (2nd Sun July), Locronan
    Procession of penitents

October

  • Dinard British film Festival (1st week Oct)
celtic festival brittany france
Pin It

August

  • Interceltic Festival (2nd week Aug) Lorient

  • Malguénac Jazz Festival (end Aug)
    World renowned jazz artists perform in beautiful rural setting. Indoor and outdoor performances.

Burgundy

November

  • Dijon International Food and Wine Festival (1st 2 weeks Nov)
    Traditional food festival

  • Wine Auctions and Les Trois Glorieuses (3rd weekend) Beaune

Champagne-Ardeche

March

  • Tinta' Mars (2 weeks March), Langres
    evening cabaret and music festival

Languedoc-Roussillon

January

  • Limoux Carnaval (through Mar) weekends
    Street festival held since the middle ages.

July

  • Pablo Casals Festival (end July – mid Aug) Prades
    Music

August

  • Pablo Casals Festival (continues through mid Aug) Prades
    Music
  • Fête de St-Louis (around Aug 25) Sete

December

  • Limoux Carnaval (Dec – Mar)  weekends
    Street festival held since the middle ages.

Loire

April/May

  • Bourges Spring Festival (end April – early May)
    Modern music festival

  • Europa Jazz Festival (April), Le Mans
    Jazz musicians from all around the world

  • Joan of Arc Festival (end April – early May), Orleans
    Pageant and cathedral service

  • Asparagus harvest (May), mostly in the Loire

  • International Garden Festival (mid May – mid Oct), Chaumont sur Loire
    http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr

  • Puys-du-Fou Pageant (May-Sept)
    Audio-guides and horse stunts evoke local life through the ages.

  • Le Printemps des Arts (mid May – June) Nantes area
    Baroque dance and music

August

  • Foire aux Sorciers (1st Sunday Aug), Bué (near Bourges)
    Costumed witch and wizard festival and folk groups
  • Les Rendezvous de l’Endre (last weekend Aug), Nantes
    Jazz and riverboats

October

  • Abbey de Fontevraus Music Festival (Oct – Spring)
  • International Garden Festival (mid May – mid Oct), Chaumont sur Loire 

Massif Central

September

  • Le Puy “Roi de l’Oiseau” (2nd week Sept)
    Renaissance festival

Normandy

March/April

  • Festival de Pâques (Easter week April/March) Deauville
    Chamber music festival

September

  • Deauville American Film Festival (1st 2 weeks Sept)

November

  • Apple Festival (mid Nov), Le Havre

Paris & Vicinity

March

  • Banlieues Blues Jazz Festival, St. Denis, N Paris suburbs

April

  • Grandes Eaux Musicales (April – Oct), Versailles
    Classical music in the grounds of the chateau.

June

  • Gay Pride March (June 23), Paris

July

  • Grandes Eaux Musicales (continues through Oct), Versailles
    Classical music in the grounds of the chateau
  • Paris Plage (mid Jul – mid Aug)
    Paris and other cities ship in sand for a temporary beach

September

  • Grandes Eaux Musicales (Sept - Oct), Versailles
    Classical music in the grounds of the chateau

February

  • Paris Carnaval (various dates pre Lent), Quartier St-Fargeau, Paris

Picardy

September

  • Picardy Cathedral Festival (mid-Sept)
    Classical concerts in the region’s cathedrals

Provence

March/April

  • Feria Pascale (Easter week March/April) Arles
    Town parties celebrating the beginning of the bull fighting season

May

  • Gypsy Pilgrimage (late May), Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer

  • Nîmes Feria (Pentacost) (May) bullfights and street music festival

June

  • Tarasque Festival (last weekend June) Tarascon
    An effigy of the Tarasque (half-animal half-witch) which by legend the town is named after, is paraded through the streets.

  • Festival d’Art Lyrique (Jun-Jul), Aix-en-Provence

July

  • Avignon Theatre Festival (month of July)

  • Nice Jazz Festival (late Jul)

August

  • Fête de la Véraison (1st or 2nd weekend Aug), Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Medieval celebration of thanksgiving for the bounty of the fruit harvest.

November

  • Truffle Season (Nov – March), Périgord, Quercy and Provence

Pyrénées

March/April

  • Lourdes Pilgrimage (Palm Sunday – October)

July/August

  • Comminges Music Festival (Jul – end Aug)
  • St-Jean-Pied-de-Port-Basques- Fête (mid Aug)

October

  • Espelette Red Pepper Festival (last weekend Oct), Basque region

Rhône-Alps

March

  • Grenoble Jazz Festival (2 weeks March)

July

  • Jazz Vienne (1st 2 weeks July), Vienne

September

  • “Musicades” (1st 2 weeks Sept), Lyon
    classical music concert

December

  • Criterium International de la Première Neige (early Dec), Val d’Isère
    First competition of the season

French Riviera (Côte d'Azur)

January

  • Festival du Cirque (end Jan), Monaco
    International Circus Festival with circus acts from around the world. Ok, not France but definitely the Riviera and it looks like so much fun.

February/March

  • Lemon Festival (mid Feb – Mar), Menton
    Fête de Mimosa (3rd Sun Feb), Bormes-les-Mimosas
  • Nice Carnival and the Battle of Flowers (late Feb – early Mar)
    http://www.nicecarnaval.com

May

  • La Bavade (May), St Tropez
  • Cannes Film Festival (2nd and 3rd week May)

July

  • International Jazz Festival (2nd half July), Antibes and Juan-les-Pins

August

  • Fête du Jasmin (1st weekend Aug), Grasse
    Floats, music, dancing in town
  • Parade of Lavender Floats (1st or 2nd weekend Aug), Digne

I hope this list helps you find the festivals in France that suit your interest so you can attend and have a fun time.

Return from Festivals in France to French Culture Adventures




New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.