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What's on in France: Ten brilliant things to do in March

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Photo: Chatelaillon Tourism
21:22 CET+01:00
From bullfighting to cheese, and plenty of film and music festivals, there's a lot going on in France this month.

Paris-Nice cycle race, March 6th-13th

Now in its 74th year, the 1,290km cycle race between Paris and Nice is also known as the Race to the Sun, due to the start in Paris, where March is often cold and windy, before finishing in the sunny south of the country. It covers seven gruelling stages of varying terrains – you can view the route here

Photo: See Nice.com

Run by the same company that organizes the Tour de France, it is a great chance to see some of the world's top cyclists in action – whether you choose to cheer them on from the side of the road, or the comfort of your sofa.

Kite and Wind Festival, Châtelaillon-Plage, March 26th-28th

This is the first of the region's festivals this year, taking place over Easter weekend, and despite what the name suggests, there will be far more than just kites on show. The busy schedule (which you can see here) includes demonstrations, shows and workshops in aerial ballet, kite-surfing, kite-jumping and other windborne sports. 

Photo: Chatelaillon Tourism

There will even be an Easter Egg hunt and a daily ‘Sweets Drop' to entice the less sporty members of the family.

Panoramas music festival, Brittany, March 25th-27th

Taking place in Morlaix, this festival celebrates a range of music with a focus on electro, and gets bigger each year with a mix of bigger names and up-and-coming groups.

The concerts are held in a range of venues from the intimate to the large, with the annual swimming pool concert as the highlight.

Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festival
, Seine Sant-Denis, March 18th-April 15th

Plenty of Parisians are guilty of rarely venturing out of the city centre but this jazz festival could be the event to tempt you into the suburbs.

With concerts in different venues and everything from big bands to solo artists, it's suitable for jazz fanatics and music fans in general. A €20 pass will get you entry to four concerts.
 

Italian film festival, Nice, March 12th-26th 

If you're struggling with French and tired of being constantly corrected on your pronunciation, this celebration of Italian cinema might be a welcome break. Eight films will have their premiere at the festival, and there will also be screenings of old favourites and little-known gems.
 

 
Carnaval des femmes, March 6th, Paris

Held a month after the city's official carnival, this ‘women's carnival' has its origins in the older tradition of a mid-Lent Washerwomen's Carnival. The city's hard-working laundrywomen would take to the streets, dressed up, and elect a 'queen' before continuing the festivities into the night. 

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This year, women will parade through the streets (see the route here) and ‘queens' will be crowned. Men are welcomed too, but are encouraged to dress up as women.

International Cheese and Wine Fair, Coulommiers, March 18th-21st

Things don't get much more French than this gastronomic spectacular. Over 350 cheese and wine experts will be at the show to display and sell local produce, and farm animals will also be on show.

French cheese used to power 1,500 homes Photo: AFP

As well as the stalls, there will also be an elaborate dinner on the Saturday, followed by a dance. The region's 'best brie' will be crowned, and spectators can join in games and competitions too, such as guessing the weight of cows.

Monte Carlo Comedy Film Festival
, Monaco


'Comedy is a serious matter' is the motto of this festival, where comedy films from all over the world will have their premiere and compete for the title of Best Comedy of 2016. Find information about getting tickets here.

Art and Antiquities Fair, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence, March 25th-28th

This annual fair takes place for the 100th time this year and 100,000 visitors are expected. Bargain hunters will be in their element as the fair is devoted to flea markets, antiques and vintage – the entire town will be transformed into a marketplace, with four distinct areas each devoted to one of the following categories: antiques, old books, contemporary art, design and decor. There will also be experts on hand to confirm the authenticity and value of objects on display.

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