Our pick of the 2016 events in France – plan your trip!

There are so many events to look forward to in France this year from the exciting Euro 2016 football tournament to iconic annual events including Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and, of course, the Tour de France.

There are also a great many festivals celebrating music, culture and history that take place in the cities, towns and villages across France every summer. Make sure you check with the local tourist office to see what’s on whilst you’re on holiday so you don’t miss out! Here’s our pick of some exciting and unusual events you might want to check out:

The Kite & Wind Festival Châtelaillon-Plage (26th – 28th March) 

The kite and wind festival is three days of fun for all the family! See Rokkaku kite fighting, hot air balloon flights and magical night flying displays. Get involved in kite making and flying workshops, see amazing demonstrations and try out wind sports like kite-surfing, land sailing and mountain boarding – a fabulous event right on the beach.

Jazz under the Apple Trees (30th April – 7th May)

This is the largest Jazz festival in Western France and the week includes over 100 concerts that take place in and around Coutances. From open air stages to concert halls, street performances and live jazz in cafes, restaurants, bars and even churches, you’ll be surrounded by music! Local musicians and amateurs line up with international stars for an unforgettable, eclectic range of jazz experiences – a must for music lovers.

International garden festival Chaumont-sur-Loire (June-September)

Visit this unique garden festival on the estate of Chateau du Chaumont from June to September in 2016. Specially created contemporary gardens are designed by artists and landscapers to evolve throughout the seasons. During peak season you can take evening tours enhanced by light installations that add colour and mystery to the gardens.

Gois Run Beauvoir-sur-Mer (12th June) 

The Gois Run is a race against the rising tide between Beauvoir-sur-Mer and the island of Noirmoutier in the Vendee. The 4km route is a road that is completely submerged at high tide and every year 30 elite athletes take on the challenge to beat the sea! If you want to do more than spectate there are also popular amateur level races for all ages that you can enter as part of the day’s events (and that won’t leave you with wet feet!).

WW1 Centenary year  

July 1st 2016 is the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in World War 1. In addition to the commemorative ceremonies on that date there will be special events and exhibitions at many of the war museums in the region this year. Take an atmospheric walking tour of the battlefields and visit the humbling memorials and graveyards where those who lost their lives are buried.

Francofolies La Rochelle (13th – 17th July)

This celebration of French contemporary music is a fun, friendly festival offering a wide range of music and concerts covering all kinds of music from rock to hip hop, electro pop and folk. Discover workshops and activities, street food and so much live music as La Rochelle is taken over by this vibrant and exciting three day festival.

Equestria Tarbes (19th – 24th July) 

Horse-lovers won’t want to miss this spectacular family friendly festival at the National Stud farm in Tarbes. See skilful equestrian performances, over 300 horses on display and don’t miss the ‘Night of Creations’ gala show, a fusion of art and horsemanship that will take your breath away!

MiMa Puppet Festival Mirepoix (4th– 7th August)/Street Theatre Festival Aurillac (17th– 20th August) 

For something completely different why not visit one of these exciting festivals in southern France this August? The Street Theatre Festival in Aurillac offers four days of interactive street entertainment with over 500 troupes of artists gathering to show off their creative skills. The MiMa Puppet Festival in Mirepoix is similarly spectacular with a full four day itinerary of puppet shows using everything from traditional hand puppets to contemporary innovations to surprise and delight audiences.

Lorient Interceltic Festival (5th – 14th August)

This famous Celtic festival celebrating Breton culture attracts over 800,000 visitors each year. There are ten days and nights of festivities to enjoy including concerts, shows, exhibitions, workshops, cultural displays, food, markets and traditional games and sports. Over 4,500 artists from all over the world take part! Don’t miss the grand parade on the first Sunday, like many of the concerts and events at this festival it’s free to attend.

Beaujolais Nouveau (November)

Every year there are events all over France in November celebrating the release of the first wine of the year. The Beaujolais Nouveau red wine is made from Gamay grapes grown in AOC Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages vineyards and has a light, fruity flavour. Visit the vineyards for a tasting and a tour of the vines and production and find out about celebrations in towns, villages and restaurants to get involved in this special French tradition.


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