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 (early to mid-June); animated films.
Bordeaux (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 (mid-July); rock music festival.
Chalon-sur-Saône (third week July); street theatre.
Colmar (early July); classical music.
Gannat (near Vichy) (late July).
Grenoble (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 ; 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.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Planning your trip to France
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
The world's quirkiest food festivals
Tomato-drenched crowds wading through a lake of passata at Valencia’s La Tomatina festival might be a familiar image, but such passionate and eccentric cele…
Ebikes: are they worth the hype?
Though they may be sniffed at by "real" cylists, e-bikes are opening up serious mountain routes to the more casual pedaller. Andy Turner dons some lycra to find…
20 seriously weird places around the world
The world is a weird (and wonderful) place. And from a rose-coloured lake to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we've got twenty pictures to prove it. 1. Spotted…