Major events to experience in France

A historic date to celebrate, a tradition to celebrate, a good meal to share or a sporting event to experience intensely... In France, whatever the season or month of the year, there is always something going on! From the Nice Carnival on the Côte d'Azur in February to the oldest Christmas market in Strasbourg in Alsace in December, not forgetting the Tour de France cycling race in July, check out our calendar of major events not to be missed.

Christmas market

From the end of November to the end of December 2022 __

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. It is impossible to mention them all, but 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 Festival of Lights, in Lyon

From 8 to 11 December 2022

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 luminous lights and the streets with exceptional lighting installations. For this spectacular event, the world's greatest designers have come up with original scenographies and glittering routes to highlight the city's formidable heritage.

La Fête des Lumières (External link)

The Nice Carnival, on the French Riviera

February 10 to 26, 2023

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. On the programme: 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. Mimosa, lilies, daisies... More than 100,000 swirl through the streets of Nice and on the famous Promenade des Anglais, on the Mediterranean coast.

The Nice Carnival (External link)

The Rouen Armada, in Normandy

8 to 18 June 2023

The largest sailing ships in the world in the port of Rouen... 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. On the quays of the Seine, in the streets of the city decorated with flags, nearly 8,000 sailors provide the entertainment (free of charge) with meetings, embarkations and demonstrations. Concerts and fireworks complete the event.

L'Armada de Rouen (External link)

La Fête de la musique

21 June 2023

Set on a single symbolic date, 21 June, the day of the summer solstice, the Fête de la musique is a major free popular festival open to all musicians, both amateur and professional. Celebrating living music and all musical practices, it is the occasion in Paris and throughout France for thousands of concerts where brass bands, choirs, orchestras, big bands or rock groups take to the streets and make their joyful notes resound.

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 of the French departments. The route differs from one edition to the next but always includes memorable mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrenees. And since 1975, the triumphant arrival of the yellow jersey and the riders takes place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The final sprint on the most beautiful avenue in the world is a guaranteed spectacle!

The Tour de France (External link)

14 July, National Day

14 July 2023

July 14th is France's bank holidays, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution of 1789. Flonflons and good humour are the order of the day and the whole country is in full swing with festivities often starting as early as 13 July. Fireworks (the most spectacular of which is fired in Paris from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower), firemen's balls, military parades (particularly on the Champs Elysées), air parades... In the four corners of France, the festival is lived in blue, white and red.

Goût de France/Good France

Dates to be specified

Goût de France/Good France was launched in 2015 to celebrate the inclusion of the "Gastronomic Meal of the French" on the Unesco list of intangible heritage and to promote France's terroirs and know-how. Each year, restaurateurs and top chefs from around the world offer a Goût de France menu, while in Paris and throughout France, dozens of restaurants celebrate the event with dishes that are emblems of France's culinary heritage.