Major events to go to in France

A historic date and a tradition to celebrate, a good meal to share or a sporting event to truly experience. Whatever the season or month of the year, there is always something going on in beautiful France! From the Nice Carnival on the Côte d'Azur in February to the oldest Christmas market in Alsace, Strasbourg. And let's not forget the famous Tour de France cycling race in July. Remember to check out our major event calendar!

Lyon's festival of lights

From 7 to 10 December 2023

Every year for 4 days around December 8th, Lyon s illumination et rayonne for the Festival of Lights. Commemorating a 19th century religious tradition, all the city's windows are adorned with exceptional lights. For this spectacular event, the world's greatest designers have come up with original scenography's and glittering routes to highlight the city's unique heritage.

La Fête des Lumières (External link)

Christmas market

From the end of November to the end of December 2023

Small chalets, a big tree and the scent of spices and mulled wine. From the first Sunday of Advent, 4 weeks before Christmas, tradition is respected with illuminations and Christmas markets all over France. The most famous? The one in Strasbourg in Alsace, one of the oldest in the world. The most picturesque? The Foire aux santons de Marseille, in Provence. Impossible to mention them all, they are the occasion for great festivities and animations, such as on the Champs-Elysées in Paris or on the lantern trail in Metz, in Lorraine.

Christmas Markets in Alsace (External link)
Foire aux santons de Marseille (External link)

The Nice Carnival, on the French Riviera

February 2024

Every February, for a fortnight, the French Riviera celebrates with the Nice Carnival, the largest in France and one of the most famous in the world. Expect float parades, gigantic decorations, sumptuous costumes, illuminated corsos, colourful parades, day and night, with hundreds of musicians and dancers, and of course memorable flower battles ranging from mimosa, lilies and daisies. More than 100,000s swirl through the streets of Nice and on the famous Promenade des Anglais right on the Mediterranean coast.

The Nice Carnival (External link)

The Fête de la musique (music festival)

June 21, 2023

Set on a unique and symbolic date, June 21st, the day of the summer solstice, the Fête de la musique is a huge (free) popular festival open to all musicians, amateur or professional. Celebrating music with thousands of concerts in Paris and all-over France for bands, harmonies, choirs, orchestras, "big band" or rock groups to take the streets and play their joyful notes around. A true show to be apart of!

La Fête de la musique (External link)

Le Tour de France

July 1-23, 2023

This is the world's biggest cycle race, a grand tour of almost 3,500 kilometres through the most beautiful landscapes in France. Each summer, the peloton sets off for three weeks, crossing more than a third all French departments. The route differs each one but they always include memorable mountain scenery in the Alps and Pyrenees. And since 1975, the triumphant arrival of the yellow jerseys takes place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The final sprint on the most beautiful avenue in the world is a guaranteed performance!

The Tour de France (External link)

Don't miss out on the 14th of July!

14 July 2023

A bank holiday date in France which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution of 1789. Good humour and good energy is a must for this special day and the whole country is in full swing with festivities, often starting as early as the 13th of July. Fireworks (the most spectacular of which is fired in Paris from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower), firemen's show ball, military parades (particularly on the Champs Elysées), air parades and much more. In the four corners of France, the festival is lived in red, white and blue!

The Rouen Armada, in Normandy

8 to 18 June 2023

Rouen, home to the largest sailing ships in the world joined over the years by warships and barges. Since 1989, the capital of Normandy has welcomed every 4 to 6 years an extraordinary fleet of boats from all over the world. By the Seine and in the streets decorated with flags, nearly 8,000 sailors provide the entertainment (free of charge) with get-togethers, embarkations and demonstrations along with Concerts and fireworks to finish off the event.

L'Armada de Rouen (External link)