Bastille Day Celebrations
The fourteenth of July celebrates the day the common people of Paris stormed the Bastille, the building which they saw as a symbol of the corruption and suppression being carried out by the Royals. It also marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Today it is France’s national feast day where the entire country becomes involved in the festivities. In every town and city there are spectacular parades, fireworks displays and a general party atmosphere for the duration of the day and more importantly, the night. A new addition to the celebrations is a ‘Pique Nique Géant’ or a giant picnic which takes place at various locations throughout the country, each with their own theme. It is an excellent time to visit France but book early.
Carnaval de Nice
Celebrated at the beginning of Lent every year, the Nice Carnival takes over the town. The streets are transformed into stages where the musicians, comedians, singers and dancers who come from all over the world can display their talents. Lasting five days, this is the premier Mardi Gras festival in Europe and the Brazilian, Caribbean and Latin American traditions of the festivals originators can clearly be seen in their European counterpart. As well as the music and dance, the processions of ‘big heads’ are a huge part of the festival where both national and international artists design huge cardboard caricatures which are paraded through the streets. A fun festival making Nice a prime destination for the five days leading up to Ash Wednesday.
Fête de la Musique
Now the biggest free music event in the world, the Festival of Music takes place in every town and city in the country. Every street, square, and town hall plays host to musicians from all over the world and every resident and visitor in the area gathers to listen throughout the day and night of June 21st. The festival marks the beginning of summer as well as celebrating the magic of music and because all the events are free, it’s the perfect excuse for all you travellers attempting to survive on a shoestring budget to party into the night. Not that you need an excuse of course!
Burgundy Wine Press Festival
On the second Saturday in September the town of Chenove just south of Dijon plays host to the festival of wine, an industry synonymous with the region. Home to the Presses of the Dukes of Burgundy which date from the early thirteenth century, Chenove authorities have recently re-opened one of the presses and it is used once a year as the centre piece of the festival. A fascinating melange of culture and folklore, as well as seeing the wine press in action, you can also see numerous exhibitions of traditional arts and crafts, listen to some authentic New Orleans jazz, visit the numerous tourist attractions in the area, dance the night away at the various parties and of course you get to sample some of the best wine you are ever likely to taste. Sound good?
Fiesta de Suds
Taking place throughout October, this event is where the port city of Marseille makes the most of its location on the Mediterranean. An idyllic location which has become a melting pot for cultures from all over France as well as numerous African and Arabic traditions, Marseille presents a stage for local talent as well as that from around the world. And, as well as music and dance, there are also expositions of various art and crafts and food and drink. Even better is the fact that similar to most festivals, a great deal of the attractions on offer are either free of charge or greatly discounted and if you’ve ever spent any time in France, you will know what an added bonus this is.