16 October 2020 by Jessica Boston
Five French festivals celebrating fruit!
France is well known for its gastronomy, but it is not just the cheese, wine, bread and luxurious produce like foie gras and truffles that are worthy of celebration! We’ve chosen five festivals celebrating the not-so-humble fruits of France, why not visit one for some delicious family fun on your next holiday?
Agen Prune Festival
Agen prunes have been around since the 12th century when monks created a hybrid of two varieties of plums to make the juicy, purple fruits that are dried to make the famous Agen prunes to this day. Agen prunes were, and remain very popular as a source of energy, vitamins and fibre; they were even staple fayre on Navy ships in the 17th to 19th centuries thanks to their superfood status and easy storage. Since 2005 Agen has held a huge annual festival to celebrate the local prunes with tasting sessions, markets showcasing regional produce, games, workshops, street entertainment and concerts lasting for three days of free family fun in September before the French schools return.
Menton Lemon Festival
Each February the city of Menton hosts a carnival of citrus celebrating the local lemon. The tradition began in 1928 when a local hotelier decided to liven up the winter months with a festival showcasing local flowers and fruit in the hotel gardens. As the dominant lemon producing area in Europe, lemons took centre stage. Today Menton lemons are revered as some of the best in the world and the event has grown into the spectacle you can see today. It’s a stunning display as floats decorated with huge themed structures made from lemons and oranges parade around the city with music, dancing, street food and a carnival atmosphere as everyone takes to the streets to watch.
Apple festivals in Normandy
Normandy is home to a whole host of festivals celebrating the local apples, cider and calvados made in the region. Try delicious pastries and cakes made with local apples, have a go at making apple juice with an old-fashioned presse, and enjoy tastings of cider, calvados and pommeau (apple juice mixed with brandy). Each village has different traditions to make their festival special with dancing, music, games and challenges; in Caudebec-en-Caux you can be served your cider from a silver tray by a waiter on horseback, or even have a go yourself!
Cavaillon Melon Festival
Self-proclaimed world-capital of the melon, Cavaillon is the home of the juicy, sweet Charantais melons with their attractive pale striped exterior and perfumed, orange flesh. The festival each July is a chance to celebrate this wonderful fruit to the full; there are tastings, market stalls, parades and fireworks and local restaurants create special menus to showcase the local melon at its best. You might even get to see one of the Knights of the Order of the Melon; a local group set up to protect the quality and distribution of the local melons. Once you have tasted one it will come as no surprise that most are consumed locally rather than exported!
The Festival of Strawberries in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne
Everyone is bound to enjoy this celebration of the delicious strawberry that takes place each May in Limousin. The pretty town of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne is filled with market stalls, cooking workshops and competitions, roaming musicians and street entertainers as everyone comes together in a shared love of all things strawberry. The festival grand finale sees all the chefs and patissiers of the town come together to create a giant 8ft strawberry tart! This festival really is a sweet treat for all the family.
Stay close to the action with a self-catering holiday cottage near your favourite festival, Holiday France Direct represents thousands of individually owned holiday properties in the countryside, towns and villages of France so we are sure to have the perfect home-from-home for your stay