What’s on in France: Ten things to do in March

If your social calendar is looking a bit empty this March here are ten events across the country involving cheese, snowboarding, books and orchids, one of which is bound to get you interested.

What's on in France: Ten things to do in March
The 2010 women snowboard boardercross finals at the Brits. Photo: Bob Bob/Flickr

Printemps des Poètes, Nice, March 7th to 22nd

Over a two-week period, the city of Nice will be taken over by poets reciting their work in bars, theatres, clubs and cafés. This year’s festival will allow you to discover Francophone poets from abroad, such as Aimé Césaire from Martinique or Léopold Sédar Sengor from Senegal, recited by writers and comedians among others. French composer Michel Redolfi will also take part in the festival, reading a text while performing it with music.

Les Traces du Fromage, Aubrac, Central France, March 8th

Hikers will treat themselves with some cheese tasting along the way. Photo: Les Traces/Facebook

Every year, almost 2,000 food aficionados brave the winter cold to go on a cheese-sampling trek leading through the beautiful landscape of the Aubrac region. Equipped with snow gear, the hikers follow a trail and stop at several intervals along the way to sample cheese and other goods from the area.

Paris Book Fair, March 20th to 23rd

The Paris Book Fair is a must for book lovers. Photo: Arash Derambarsh/Flickr

Bookworms shouldn’t miss out on the Paris Book Fair. It's one of Europe’s most important cultural events and will be attended by over 1,000 publishers and nearly 2,000 authors. 

The event's website reads: "The Fair has stepped it up again in 2015 with a packed themed programme, innovative events to encourage networking, discussions and sharing of good practices, the creation of a Business Center, an interactive directory of rights, and much more."

Women’s Carnival, Paris, March 15th

Just because the Women’s Carnival in Paris is smaller than the one in Nice doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. Women are supposed to dress up as queens and while men are welcome as well they need to dress up as a woman. So better get your crown ready or start rummaging through your mum’s closet to find the perfect outfit. However costumes are not obligatory.

Car Rally, Le Touquet, March 12th to 14th 

The 2013 Touquet rally. Photo: Renault Sport/Flickr

Car enthusiasts won't be disappointed by the 55th car rally at Le Touquet, in the Pas de Calais region. Over the two days of races, the best French drivers of the most prestigious French car brands such as Citroen or Peugeot will compete against drivers from Britain and Belgium. There will be various contests including pure speed races along the sea front.

International Decorated Egg Fair March 14th & 15th

Artists from all around the world will display their creations at the fair. Photo: Salon International des Oeufs Décorés/Facebook

Just in time for Easter, the International Egg Decorating Fair will showcase beautifully decorated egg creations from artists all over the world. Now in its 27th edition, the event attracts around 4,000 visitors. 

Babel Med Music, Marseille, March 20th to 22nd 

The three-day music event at the south docks in Marseille brings together musicians from all over the world, but it's not only a popular festival but also a professional market place where the different members of the industry can meet and do business.

"The 11th edition will bring together all the world music businesses and cultural representatives, for one of the busiest European musical events," says the event's website.

The Brits, Tignes,  March 21st to 28th 

The 2010 women snowboard boardercross finals at the Brits. Photo: Bob Bob/Flickr

This music and winter sports festival is in its 26th year and is the perfect excuse to board the next train to the Alps and hit the slopes of Val d’Isère.

When the world’s snowboard, halfpipe and slopestyle champions will not be performing, there will be live concerts with DJ Kommissar and Tony B mixing their best Hip Hop, Electro or Groove and Funk hits.

International Orchid Exhibition, Vaucelles Abbey, March 13th to March 16th 

(Photo: Virginia (Ginny) Sanderson/Flickr)

It's been described as "a must for all orchid lovers". 

Specialists will come from as far away as Brazil, Germany or even Taiwan for this three-day festival, held at Vaucelles Abbey, near Cambrai, northern France. In it's 25th year, orchid producers and lovers will exhibit their best creations and organize workshops for anyone wishing to know more about the flower. 

Le Jardin des Boves, Arras, March 24th to July 7th

Every spring, the historic limestone quarries in Arras are transformed into a beautiful underground garden. Head down to the caves and wander around aquatic plants, statues, and small waterfalls. The unique installation by artist Luc Brévart will be on display until early July. 

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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.