It’s hard to beat the experience of arriving in a small French village, expecting no more than a bed for the night, to discover the streets decked out with flags and streamers, a band playing in the square and the entire population out celebrating the feast of their patron saint. As well as nationwide celebrations such as the (around June 21), Bastille Day (July 14) and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Aug 15), there are any number of festivals – both traditional and of more recent origin – held in towns and villages throughout France. For more information see and .
January and February
Nantes (late Jan to early Feb).
February to April
Menton (two weeks following Mardi Gras, forty days before Easter).
Cannes ; international film festival.
Chalon-sur-Saône (last weekend in May); hot-air balloon racing.
Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Fête de Ste Sarah (May 24–25); Romany festival.
Nîmes La Féria de Nîmes (Pentecost, seven weeks after Easter); bullfights.
Annecy Festival International du Film d’Animation (early to mid-June); animated films.
Bordeaux Fête le Vin (late June in even-numbered years).
Châlons-en-Campagne (early June); circus and street theatre.
Lyon (June and July); performance arts.
Montpellier (mid-June to mid-July).
Paris (late June).
Samois-sur-Seine (late June); jazz.
Paris (May–June); classical and world music festival.
Uzès ; contemporary dance.
Vienne (late June to early July).
Aix-en-Provence ; classical music and opera.
Alès (early July); street theatre.
Arles (mid-July); world music.
Avignon ; contemporary dance and theatre.
Belfort (late June to early July); rock and indie music.
Carhaix Festival des Vieilles Charrues (mid-July); rock music festival.
Chalon-sur-Saône (third week July); street theatre.
Colmar (early July); classical music.
Gannat (near Vichy) (late July).
Grenoble Rencontres du Jeune Théâtre Européen (early July); contemporary theatre.
La Rochelle (late June to early July); (mid-July); contemporary French music.
La Roque d’Anthéron (mid-July to mid-Aug).
Nice (late July).
Orange (July); opera.
Prades (late July to mid-Aug); chamber music.
Reims (late June to mid-July); open-air concerts.
Rennes (early July); concerts, cinema and performance arts.
Saintes (mid-July); classical music.
Vaison-la-Romaine (mid- to late July); contemporary dance.
Aurillac ; street theatre.
Lorient (early Aug); Celtic folk festival.
Menton (late July to early Aug); chamber music.
Mulhouse (mid- to late Aug); jazz.
Paris (late Aug).
Périgueux (late July to early Aug); international mime festival.
Quimper Semaines Musicales; baroque, classical and contemporary music.
Limoges (late Sept to early Oct); contemporary francophone theatre, dance and music.
Lyon ; every even-numbered year from mid-Sept.
Paris (every even-numbered year in mid-Sept) antiques fair; (late Aug to early Sept); (mid-Sept to mid-Dec); theatre, concerts, dance, films and exhibitions.
Perpignan (early to mid-Sept); international photojournalism.
Puy-en-Velay (mid-Sept); historical pageants, fireworks and re-creations.
Strasbourg (late Sept to early Oct); contemporary music.
Bastia ; chanson and world music.
Paris (mid- to late Oct).
November and December
Rennes (early Dec); contemporary music.