The major cultural events not to be missed in France

France has year long events, festivals and other biennials who celebrate creation, dance, cinema, paintings, design and photography. It is an opportunity to push open the doors of unexpected places, to change one's view of the world, to share strong moments and above all, meet those who keep culture alive with passion.

European Arts and Crafts Days

From March 27 to April 2, 2023

The French regions have talent and a know-how that perpetuate many crafts. The Journées Européennes des Métiers d'Art (JEMA) allows you to discover all of them. Every year in spring, meet craftsmen who open their workshops in training centers or through events, conferences and original exhibitions in Paris and in many other French cities.

European Crafts Days (External link)

Festival de Cannes

From May 16 to 27, 2023

It is one of the biggest international meetings. Since 1946, this film festival takes place every year in Cannes on the French Riviera. Glamour and glitter, red carpet and starlets, for 12 days (traditionally in May), all the world's cinema elite converge on the Croisette with its palm trees and its private beaches on the Mediterranean coast. The competition on the big screen is punctuated by the presentation of the famous and highly coveted Palme d'Or.

Festival de Cannes (External link)

La Gacilly Photo Festival, in Brittany

From June 1 to October 1, 2023

Created in 2004, the Photography festival La Gacilly transforms the small Breton Village every summer into a huge open-air gallery. Through an immersive and ambulatory experience, the best of contemporary photography is presented, in colour or in black and white. More than 1,000 images and XXL photos, some of which are up to 70 m², are displayed on old walls, facades and alleys, exploring the theme of Man and Nature. Under the open sky, without any constraint of course, La Gacilly becomes a scenic space, shared and accessible to all, free of charge.

Festival Photo La Gacilly (External link) Festival Photo La Gacilly, in Brittany

The New Spring, in Toulouse

June 2 to July 2, 2023

Created 30 years ago, Le Nouveau Printemps (formerly Printemps de Septembre) is a month of exhibitions, screenings and other performances dedicated to contemporary art. The program unfolds throughout the city of Toulouse and its surroundings, sometimes taking over unusual places and even public spaces. Entirely free of charge, the Printemps de Septembre aims to support artists and contemporary creation while making it accessible to as many people as possible.

Le Nouveau Printemps (External link)

Nuit Blanche in Paris

June 3, 2023

A whole night to discover the City of Light in a different way. This is the invitation of Nuit Blanche, an annual artistic event organized since 2002 by the City of Paris. For one night, contemporary creation is honoured in the capital and in the Greater Paris metropolis. It is an opportunity to (re)discover, free of charge, public or private spaces, museums and cultural venues. The event is also available in other cities in France.

Nuit Blanche (External link)

Revelations, International Biennial of Crafts and Creation, in Paris

From June 8 to 11, 2023

Every two years, Révélations is an unmissable meeting place for French and international contemporary creation. While waiting for the reopening of the Grand Palais (under renovation), it is within the Grand Palais Ephémère on the Champs de Mars, in Paris, that this biennial event is held, a place of abundant exchanges between professionals of the creation market and art craftsmen amateurs. Unpublished works, exceptional know-how mark out the discovery of Revelations, an event that bears its name, designed and staged by Ateliers d'Art de France representing the 281 French art crafts.

Revelations, International Biennial of Art Trades and Creation (External link)

The Journey to Nantes

From July 1 to September 3, 2023

Every summer since 2012, the Voyage à Nantes stages the city of the Dukes of Brittany by multiplying the free cultural proposals. For two months, artists, architects, designers and gardeners weave connivances and infuse art throughout the city. Ephemeral or permanent, works and installations appear at the corner of the streets, along a route marked on the ground by a green line. Exhibitions, places of conviviality, unexpected encounters and meals to share enliven this playful, offbeat and always poetic journey.

Le Voyage à Nantes (External link)

The Rencontres d'Arles

From July 3 to September 24, 2023

Every summer since 1970, Arles has hosted Les Rencontres de la photographie, a festival of international renown. Time after time, new talents and the greatest names in photography follow one another in the beautiful city of Provence, offering all audiences the opportunity to experience the image to understand and decipher the world. From the beginning of July to the end of September, some forty exhibitions, installed in different places of the city, old, contemporary or unusual, confront all perspectives. Night projections, concerts and performances in the ancient theatre completes the program.

Les Rencontres d'Arles (External link)

Paris Design Week

From September 7 to 16, 2023

Every year in September, Paris has an appointment with design in all its forms. Alongside the Maison&Objet show, professionals, the curious and new trend addicts rediscover the city through the prism of innovation and the art of living. Young talents and established names, meetings and debates, thematic walks in a selection of districts of the capital. So many visions and facets of design to experience and discover during an amazing free festival celebrating furniture design, interior architecture, decorative arts and even gastronomy.

Paris Design Week (External link)

Lyon Biennial, Dance/Contemporary art

From September 10 to September 30, 2023

The Lyon Biennial is a double event, bringing together both a Biennial Dance and alternates with a Contemporary Art Biennial. Each year, even or odd, each creates the event and ensures the show in the city of Gaul. The two events bring professionals and the general public to life with an always rich and participative program. Shows, choreographies, exhibitions and installations take place in halls and large museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon.

Lyon Biennial (External link)

European Heritage Days

September 16 and 17, 2023

In 1984, on the initiative of France and its Minister of Culture at the time, the European Heritage Days were born and have become a European event. Every third weekend of September, prestigious public and private places, institutions, museums and gardens open their doors to the general public, free of charge, for unique and exceptional visits. The opportunity to approach the rich heritage of France, in Paris and everywhere in the regions.

European Heritage Days (External link)

Paris+ by Art Basel

October 19-22, 2023

A panorama of modern art, contemporary art and emerging creation. This is the promise of Paris+ by Art Basel, which replaces the iconic Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (Fiac). This major artistic and commercial exhibition brings together gallerists, collectors, curators, museum directors and personalities from the international contemporary art world in an effervescence in which the general public is involved. Until the reopening of the Grand Palais (under renovation), the Fiac takes place in the ephemeral Grand Palais, on the Champs de Mars.

Paris+ by Art Basel (External link)

The Magnificent Industry, in Strasbourg

Spring 2024 (dates to be confirmed)

A company, an artist, a collaboration and, in fine, a work of art, original and monumental, exhibited in the public square. Such is the beautiful project of the Industrie Magnifique, a movement born in Strasbourg, Alsace, in 2016. Every two years, after a joint work process of 12 to 18 months, the pair are unveiled for about ten days and then sown throughout the Alsatian capital. As in an open-air gallery, they also tell the magnificent story of a patronage unlike any other. The next edition could be held on a national scale in 2024.

The Magnificent Industry (External link)

Saint Etienne International Design Biennial

Spring-Summer 2024

Every two years since 2006, the vocation of the Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial, organized by the Cité du design, has been to democratize design and explain its aims. Set up as a large-scale laboratory, the event multiplies installations and exhibitions at the Cité du design but also in the emblematic places of Saint-Etienne: Manufacture, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Art and Industry or Parc-Musée de la Mine. An opportunity for the general public to get a glimpse of the new trends in society.

Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial (External link)

More events

France also collects great events throughout the year.
From the Nice Carnival on the French Riviera in February to the oldest Christmas market in Strasbourg, Alsace in December, and the Tour de France cycling race in July, check out our calendar of major events not to be missed!