What's on in France: Ten things to do in February

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What's on in France: Ten things to do in February
Tightrope walkers at the Nice Carnival in 2014. Photo: Nicolas Grevet/Flickr

Despite the cold, there's simply too much going on in France to stay locked up inside. Here are ten events worth checking out - from France's biggest carnival to a major film festival and Chinese New Year celebrations.


Nice, Alpes-Maritimes: Carnival - February 13th to March 1st

The 2014 edition of the Nice Carnival. Photo: Nicolas Grevet/Flickr

What better way to shake off the winter blues than celebrating at the famous carnival in Nice on the French Riviera? All the dancing, music, and colourful costumes will definitely put you in a good mood. The two-week long carnival is a massively popular event, attracting hundreds of thousands of cheerful visitors. Not quite a match for its Brazilian counterpart, perhaps, but it's close.   

Paris: International Agricultural Show - February 21st to March 1st

If you want to escape the busy city life for a day, head to France’s biggest agricultural fair for a bit of rural fun. Check out agricultural machinery, take your children to see horses, ponies and other animals, or attend the animal version of the Miss France contest where the most beautiful farm animal will be crowned. And let’s not forget the bar and wine cellar where you can sample some of the country's finest.  

Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dôme: International Short Film Festival - January 30th to February 7th

The 2011 edition of the International Short Film Festival. Photo: Ville de Clermont-Ferrand/Flickr

If you want to get to know the rising stars of the short film industry, head to the International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand in central France. Now in its 37th edition, the event attracts film aficionados and movie makers from all over the world. A jury will award a prize for the best national and international picture, and pick a winner from the "Labo" category, a selection of particularly unique films.

Bormes-les-Mimosas, Var: Flower Parade - February 22nd

The traditional flower parade “Corso fleuri” in the town of Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var department dates back to the 17th century and is one of the town’s most popular events. The parade sees a good dozen or so beautifully decorated caravans file through the city, ending in a “bataille de fleur” where visitors are showered with flower petals. So in case you've been feeling gloomy and colourless after the winter months, the "Corso fleuri" will definitely help you snap out of that.

St. Valentin, L'Indre: St. Valentine Festival - February 14th & 15th

You might think Paris is the place to be on Valentine’s Day but the tiny St. Valentin village in central France goes all out on the most romantic day of the year. During the two-day event in the self-proclaimed “village of lovers”, couples can indulge in a delicious breakfast, take ballroom dancing lessons, listen to concerts or even attend a mass where a priest will bless their relationship. Definitely more romantic than queuing at the Eiffel Tower all day.

Menton, Alpes-Maritimes: Lemon Festival - Fête du Citron - February 14th to March 4th

The annual Lemon Festival in Menton. Photo: Laurent Carles/Flickr

The “City of Lemons”, Menton on the French Riviera, lives up to its nickname during the annual Lemon Festival where giant sculptures are put on show, entirely covered in lemons, oranges and tangerines. Around 160,000 visitors from all around the world join the locals each year to celebrate the town’s most important fruit. Check out the different exhibits, attend parades during the day and at night time or browse a market selling local products. 

Paris: Chinese New Year - February 21st & 22nd

For the large Chinese community in Paris, the start of the New Year is a big deal that needs to be celebrated accordingly. Tourists and locals alike gather in the streets of Paris to ring in the New Year and watch colourful dragons, lions, and other creatures parade through town . The events take place in the Marais and Belleville neighbourhoods, as well as in Chinatown, perfect for trying out some Asian specialties after the festivities in one of the district's many restaurants.

Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes: International Games Festival - February 27th to March 1st

Visitors playing at the international Games Festival. Photo: Stéphane Gallay/Flickr

If you spend hours in front of your screen playing Assassin's Creed or love nothing more than showing off your knowledge in Trivial Pursuit, then the International Games Festival is for you. The 30,000 square metre space will welcome over 270 exhibitors as well as 300 authors and illustrators, showcasing everything from board games to the latest simulation game. Participate in tournaments, discover the game of the year, or meet the person behind your favourite video game.   

Lyon, Rhône: Tattoo Convention - February 7th & 8th

Well over a hundred tattoo artists from all around the globe will show off their skills at the 18th edition of the Lyon tattoo convention. Tattoo enthusiasts can watch artists at work, browse dozens of stalls hosting accessories and equipment, and even get tattooed or pierced themselves. The whole event is rounded off with food, drinks, and different live performances.

France: Chandeleur - February 2nd

Strawberry and Chantilly cream crêpe. Photo: Colonnade Boston/Flickr

Mark the 2nd of February in your calendar because on this special day you're allowed to eat as many delicious crêpes as you want. While Chandeleur isn't really an event but a holiday, the tradition of feasting on crêpes stuffed with sweet and savoury fillings is too good to not make the list. Also, don't forget wash down your crêpes with some delicious apple cider. Here's a recipe of traditional French crêpes to make sure you're all set for Chandeleur.


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