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French School holidays, Public Holidays (Fêtes Nationale), festivals, and events in France – Day-tripper.net the web magazine for visitors to France.
Making a note of festivals and events before you go away can add some value to your break. Here we list as many of those we have come across.
Please check with the local the tourist office for dates and other news.
A Fête is a festival, usually with eating, drinking, singing, dancing and often performances of some kind. A variations is a fête champêtre – a village festival, or the fête patronale, a celebration of the local Saint's day.
These are the sites offering information on what's on in France.
– ViaFrance. www.viafrance.com
– Maison de la France. uk.franceguide.com
– France, Yes you Can. Events page from Holiday France (ABTOF – Association of British Travel Organisers to France). www.holidayfrance.org.uk
– Info Tourisme. Lots of very useful information on this site. www.infotourisme.net
– Le Monde des Arts. Current cultural shows in France. www.lemondedesarts.com
For further festival and events information in Nord-Pas de Calais contact the local tourist board via the following: Tel: 0033 320 145 757.
– FNAC Spectacles, book a ticket for a wide variety of events & festivals in France. www.fnacspectacles.com
Some popular cultural events held in France every year.
Citadels Open Day – April every year. For one Sunday each spring the cities and towns of the far north of France, open the doors to the stupendous collection of historic fortifications which formerly guarded the frontier. Many of the 16 fortresses open to the public are the work of Sébastien Leprestre, Marquis of Vauban, who designed the citadels in the wake of Louis XIV's 17th-century conquest of much of this territory. The grandest is that of Lille, a classic star-shaped fortress built of 60 million bricks. This "Queen of Citadels" formed part of a double line of strongholds between Gravelines, Dunkirk and Maubeuge.
Printemps des Musées – May (Every year). French museums open for free for one day in spring, offering a chance to whizz round the country's finest temporary and permanent collections.
– Held throughout France in May every year, this free family orientated event celebrates nature. www.fetedelanature.com
Nuit des Musées (annually in May). This annual event only started in 2005, but has caught on throughout Europe. Public buildings, museums and other institutions are open to the public free of charge from sunset until 1.00am. Light shows, theatrical performances and public readings bring a whole new life to exhibits. nuitdesmusees.culture.fr
– Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) and Journée des Moulins (Mill Days). Various towns. Every year in June. France's Heritage Days give visitors the chance to take a peep behind the doors of more than 14,000 buildings which are usually closed to the public. All over the country visitors queue for hours to catch a glimpse inside their politicians' homes, or to visit the seats of power. Many museums also open their doors for free. Each year there is a theme to the events. In 2004 for example it was science and technology, in 2008 it is "places of production". It's worth checking the local tourist office web site as well for the latest up to date information. www.journeesdupatrimoine.culture.fr
– Journée internationale de la Francophonie (Originally this term described the geographic areas where French is spoken, but today it refers to the "ensemble of people around the world who speak French"). This event celebrates the French language and all things French, every year on March 20th. In 2012 there was an event in Trafalgar square, London. Throughout France there were 36 events. Apparently 13% of the world's population speak French. French is also the official language in 32 countries. 20mars.francophonie.org
– Tour de France. France's most popular annual event. www.letour.com
– Tour de France a la Voile (sailing). Usually running from the end of June over one month each year. www.tourvoile.fr
Bastille Day Celebrations. 14th July every year. Public celebrations don't come much grander than France's Bastille Day. Be prepared for spectacular fireworks and the belting out of La Marseillaise as the French celebrate 1789 and a swarm of revolting peasants. Major cities and rural towns alike congregrate for this huge annual commemoration.
Our extensive and comprehensive list of events, fetes and festivals in France concerning wine, food and other themes.
We have started building a list of towns and villages which are famous for specific products.