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WHAT'S ON IN FRANCE

WHATS ON

What’s on in France: 11 things to do in November

If you're short of ideas for what to do in France in November, we've gathered together a list of 11 events that are well worth checking out, especially if you're into art, wine, music or just can't wait to get in the Christmas spirit.

What's on in France: 11 things to do in November
The annual cider festival in Le Sap Normandy, just one of the many things to do in France in November. Photo: JCMayzaud

Paris: Great Contemporary Art Market – October 30th to November 3rd

The Great Contemporary Art Market at the Place de la Bastille is a must-see for all art fans.  During the five-day event, around 500 artists will showcase their creations. The market is aimed at everybody, so the works are sold at studio prices and artists are happy to answer any questions art novices may have.

Etaples, Pas de Calais: Festival of the Herring – Fête du Hareng Roi – November 8th & 9th 

Dressed up in traditional costumes, the people of Étaples meet up on the banks of the Canche River in northern France to celebrate their favourite fish (see photo). Every year, thousands of people join them to enjoy herring in all its delicious forms – pickled, grilled, or smoked and accompanied of course by lots of wine.

Paris: The Salon des vins – November 27th to Dec 1st

If you are a French wine enthusiast then there’s no better place to be than the annual Salons des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants (Independent wine growers fair) at the Porte de Versailles in Paris. It’s basically five days of wine tasting which showcases the best that France has to offer. Just pick up a tasting glass at the entrance and enjoy the welcome given to you by France’s wine growers.

Le Sap, Normandy: Cider Festival – La Fête du Cidre – November 8th & 9th 

Now in its 16th edition, the annual Cider Festival puts traditional techniques of cider-making on show, using machines from the 19th century. On top of that, there’s entertainment for kids, an art exhibition, and an artisan market selling local produce. The event takes place in The Grand Jardin of the Le Sap village, in the Orne department of Normandy.

France-wide: Armistice Day November 11th 

On Armistice Day, France honours those who fell or were injured during World War I with commemorative services. In Paris, a military parade will take place, and a ceremony will be held at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. 

Paris: Salon de la Photo – November 13th to 17th 

The Salon de la Photo has tons on offer, both for photography professionals and amateurs. The exhibitions feature works from famous names in the industry as well as young, emerging artists. Attend a technical workshop to learn more about photography techniques or head to the “Retail Village” to check out the latest equipment.

Colmar: Christmas Market Colmar – November 21st to December 31st 

Though it may seem a bit early, the Christmas market in the picturesque town of Colmar in the Alsace region already kicks off in mid-November. Wandering around the illuminated city, trying out Alsatian specialties, and sipping from a cup of mulled wine will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit.

Reims: Reims Jazz Festival – November 13th to 19th 

This year, both young artists as well as well-known jazz musicians will take the stage at the Reims Jazz Festival. If you don’t feel like attending one of the big concerts, check out one of the jam sessions in the bars and restaurants in the city. 

Paris: Africolor Festival – November 15th to December 24th 

The 26th edition of this music festival is bound to bring back some colour into your life during this cold and depressing time of year. The festival, which started out in a Parisian suburbs, has now spread across the whole city and its surroundings, featuring artists from all over Africa.

Beaujolais: Beaujolais Nouveau – November 20th 

The arrival of the season’s Beaujolais wine is always a huge deal in France, and is celebrated with lots of different events in Beaujolais and other parts of the country. Each year, the wine arrives on the third Thursday of November, so the festivities (and the drinking) start around midnight on Wednesday, November 19th.

Paris: Le Grand Tasting – November 28th and 29th 

Is there a better way to spend your time than trying out fancy wines? At the Grand Tasting, the best wine makers from all over the world come together to show off their products. The tastings are about 45 minutes long and prices range from €15 to €50 per session.

Paris: The Salon des vins – November 27th to Dec 1st

If you're a French wine enthusiast then there’s no better place to be than the annual Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independants (Independent wine growers fair) at the Porte de Versailles in Paris. It’s basically five days of wine tasting which showcases the best that France has to offer. Just pick up a tasting glass at the entrance and enjoy the welcome given to you by France’s wine growers.

by Simone Flückiger

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WHATS ON

What’s On in France: Nine great things to do in November

It's getting colder in France, but why not heat up your social calendar with a few of these events?

What's On in France: Nine great things to do in November
Photo: AFP

Jazz sur La Ville Festival, Marseille, November 5th to December 2nd

“Life is a lot like jazz. . . it's best when you improvise,” said George Gershwin.

Get ready to feel jazzy as this year celebrates the twelfth edition of the Jazz Festival in Marseille, welcoming a seemingly endless list gifted artists. The festival, offering dozens live concerts, stretches out from Marseille to other locations in the region such as Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. So if you live in the south-east region of France you have no excuse.

Le Salon de la Photo exhibition, Paris, November 8th to 12th

Head to the Porte de Versailles for the chance to appreciate the creative works of modern-day photographers. The Photographers' Corner, where amateurs and professionals display their work, is not to be missed at Le Salon de la Photo exhibition. 

Chocolate Fair, Lyon, November 9th to 11th

Forget Cadbury's chocolate as Lyon, the widely known capital of gastronomy, has some tasty treats for you to get your teeth stuck into. The eighth edition of the chocolate fair, held at the Centre de Congres, is offering culinary demonstrations, cooking workshops and of course the famous parade of chocolate dresses that will be taking centre stage. Think of it as Paris Fashion Week meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

Herring Festival, Etaples sur mer, Calais November 10th & 11th 

Dressed up in traditional costumes, the people of Étaples meet up on the banks of the Canche River in northern France to celebrate their favourite fish. Every year, thousands of people join them to enjoy herring in all its delicious forms – pickled, grilled, or smoked and accompanied of course by lots of wine.

France-wide: Armistice Day November 11th 

On Armistice Day, France honours those who fell or were injured during World War I with commemorative services. As 2018 marks the centenary of The Great War, memorial services this year are sure to be especially poignant. In Paris, a military parade will take place, and a ceremony will be held at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. 

Beaujolais Nouveau Festival, November 15th

As the world's best wine party (as thought by many beaujoholics) is fast approaching, will you be ready to uncork a fruity bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau at the stroke of midnight? The festivities will be marked by fireworks, music and various parties to celebrate the region's first wine of the season

Beaujolais Nouveau day is one of France's most loved festivals. Here are 14 things you probably didn't know about it.

Africolor Festival, Paris, November 16th to December 22nd 

This music festival is bound to bring some colour back into your life during this cold and depressing time of year. The festival, which started out in the Parisian suburbs and has now spread across the whole city and its surroundings, features artists from all over Africa.

Christmas Market Colmar – November 23rd to December 30th

Though it may seem a bit early, the Christmas market in the picturesque town of Colmar in the Alsace region kicks off in late-November. Wandering around the illuminated city, trying out Alsatian specialities, and sipping from a mug of mulled wine will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit.

Salon des Vins, Paris, 29th November to December 2nd

At the foot of la Porte de Versailles, this exhibition will be a great opportunity for wine lovers to personally meet local sellers and to discover new wines as well as the history behind them. 

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