France is home to some of the most interesting and traditional festivals, from music festivals to flower festivals to sports festivals. The country has so much to offer and we encourage you to use this top-notch guide to the best festivals in France to experience a piece of French culture for yourself in the near future!
MUSIC FESTIVALS IN FRANCE
EUROCKÉENNES DE BELFORT
This music festival that on average attracts over 100,00 people takes place during the first week of July every year in a nature reserve beside the beautiful Lac de Malsaucy near Belfort, a small city in the Burgundy region of France right between Lyon and Strasbourg. Festival-goers stay in a campsite nearby where there is an easy and worry-free shuttle-bus that’ll take you to the stages at the festival. Some of the most notable artists over the last 10 years have included Wiz Khalfia, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Calvin Harris.
Check out the website for more images of the festival and details about the 2017 festival
CALVI ON THE ROCKS
Calvi on the Rocks is a beach-front French electro music festival on the stunning French island of Corsica! In comparison to Eurockéennes de Belfort, this festival is relatively new, founded only in 2003. The festival brings together music lovers and island vacation-goers, allowing you to to party on the beaches of Calvi, Corsica during the first week of July for 6 nights straight every year. While you can party on the beaches during the day, at night concerts are held in the gorgeous Théâtre de Verdure as well as throughout the city. The whole city of Calvi partakes in the festival, allowing festival-goers to enjoy a delicious French meal on a terrace while listening to live music as a part of the festival.
Keep your eye on the 2018 festival here
ARTS AND CULTURAL FESTIVALS IN FRANCE
This theater arts festival was founded by Jean Vilar in 1947 with a goal of bringing a new, younger and intrigued audience to the theater in Avignon, away from the capital of the arts, Paris. Every year the Festival d’Avignon takes place during July in the Palais de Papes in the heart of Avignon. If you’re a theater lover or even an experimental performance art exhibition lover, check out this festival- one of the best theater arts festivals in France!
For practical information about the festival and the “OFF” festival around the city of Avignon, click here
Read more about the history of the festival here
THE RENCONTRES D’ARLES
The Rencontres d’Arles is a highly-distinguished photography festival in Arles, France. In about 60 unique venues throughout the city during different times of the year, you can explore contemporary photography around relevant themes each year. The July-September 2017 themes centered around street photography, documentary works and war photography, all shot by young photographers in hopes of bringing them international recognition.
Click here to read about the festival’s upcoming exhibitions
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
One of the best arts festivals in France… the internationally-renowned Cannes Film Festival… need we say more?! Every May some of the biggest celebrities, models and of course, directors, head to the the French Riviera to view classic and new films, created by respected and up-and-coming film directors competing to win various sections of the festival. While this festival’s invitation list is often exclusive, don’t let this deter you from visiting Cannes during this glamorous time of year.
Learn about the upcoming 2018 festival by clicking here
TRADITIONAL FRENCH FESTIVALS
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS IN LYON
For four nights every December in the city of Lyon, The Festival of Lights spectacularly illuminates the city at exactly 7pm. The first night that kicks off the festival is December 8th, and it has been this way since 1852! Bright lights are casted on building facades, monuments and store window displays. There are also international artists performing throughout the city and fountains dancing to the choreography commanded by the laser lights. This festival should definitely not be missed around the Christmas season in France.
Check out this year’s festival on their website
FERIA DE NÎMES
Feria de Nîmes is a bull-fighting festival held every year in September in the French city of Nîmes. This festival is predominately located in the Arena of Nîmes where there are about 2 bullfights each day, followed by runs through the streets, partying in the city and even fireworks over the city some nights! This traditional French festival has taken place for over 60 years now.
Read the website for more practical information on the festival
STRASBOURG CHRISTMAS MARKET
The Strasbourg Chirstmas Market is the oldest Christmas Market in France! Click on our informative article above on the Best Christmas Markets in France to learn more about it.
FESTIVALS FOR NATURE LOVERS
The Mimosa Festival in the center of the city Mandelieu-La Napoule is a festival featuring a beautiful yellow flower, the mimosa. For a week every February the Mimosa Festival livens up this quaint city in the South of France with evening flower parades and even a mimosa flower FIGHT! What could be cooler than that?!
Keep up with the 2018 festival here
LA FÊTE DE LA LAVANDE À VALENSOLE
La Fête de la Lavande is an ancient lavender flower festival in Valenensole. At this festival you can learn about the techniques used to pick lavender, buy local lavender artisan products and visit the lavender museum as well as the lavender honey candy factory! For an additional price you can also visit the lavender fields which smell unbelievable!
Learn more about lavender and the festival here
FESTIVALS FOR SPORTS FANS
TOUR DE FRANCE
Tour de France, the famous cycling race around the whole of France every July, is exciting to watch from any point in the country! This race classically ends in Paris on the Champs-Élysées and is really an exciting French (now more international) sports event to take part in.
For practical information and to take a virtual tour of the 2018 race, click here
The Ryder Cup is an international golf tournament held every 2 years, between the United States and Europe’s top golfers in an competitive environment. In September 2018, The Ryder Cup will be held in Paris, which will surely bring famous celebrities, top athletes and sports fans, just like you, from both continents to the capital.
Further information on buying tickets to the Ryder Cup can be found here
Explore the 2018 competition here
QUICKSILVER AND ROXY PRO FRANCE
This sports competition brings some of the most elite surfers together in one place. You can visit this competition yourself in October 2018 in Landes, a beautiful super cool surfer region in the South-West of France. Enjoy the sun, competitive edge and spirit of the young surfers in October!
Click here to read about the competition and past winners