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

August in France - especially Paris - is deathly quiet as the locals shut up shop and head off on holidays. But there are still plenty of intriguing events across the country to keep you busy.

What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Dance a jig with the Celts in Brittany. Photo: AFP
Les Vacances – the holidays – are upon us, and Paris is already emptying out. If you've chosen to stay in the capital for August, don't forget that the Paris Plages will be running until almost the end of the month and that the open-air cinema at the Parc de la Villette runs until the 23rd (click here for more info).
Here are ten other events in France in August that are well worth a visit.
1. Bayonne Festival, July 29th to Aug 2nd
The Fêtes de Bayonne is a giant of the French festival calendar and although it starts at the end of July, the big climax will take place on the first weekend in August. No one does festivals quite like the Basques, which is why the Fête de Bayonne is a must for anyone keen on revelry. 
(The opening of the 2014 Fêtes de Bayonne. Photo: AFP)
There’s music, street performances, dances, parades and fireworks. Oh, and make sure you remember to dress in red and white, which has become the traditional uniform of festival-goers. Anyone who has been to a San Fermin knees up in Pamplona will enjoy the Fête de Bayonne.

Read a whole lot more about it here
2. Rock en Seine, Aug 28th – 30th 
This three-day rock festival is without doubt a Paris favourite. This year promises to be a great one, too, with headline acts such as the Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala, and The Offspring.

(Rockers at the 2014 Rock en Seine festival. Photo: AFP)
The event itself is held just west of Paris in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, with three-day passes on sale from €119. Find out a lot more about the event on their English-language website here
3. Night of Stars, Aug 7th – 9th
For three days, the Nuits des étoiles, (“night of stars”) will be held all over France. There will be around 400 events across the country, with hundreds of sites welcoming both amateurs and certified astronomists to contemplate the Milky Way.

(Star-gazing in Lille, northern France, at a previous event. Photo: AFP)
The event has proved so popular that it has even taken off in other European and African countries. It's run by the Association Française d'Astronomie – find out more here
4. Celebrate Napoleon, Aug 13th – 15th
It's been 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo – what better time to head to Corsica's Ajaccio, the Frenchman's birthplace, to mark his birthday?
Expect three days of performances, parades, reenactments, sideways hats, and Napoleonic soldiers walking the streets. More info here.
5: Dax, La Feria, Aug 12th – 16th
The town of Dax, in the south western département of France, plays host to its biggest festival of the year in August for La Feria. The festival will certainly not be for everyone's taste as it involves the ever divisive Corrida or bullfighting, which has long been a tradition in the area.

(Hearing the music at a previous festival. Photo: AFP)
But there is also plenty of entertainment on hand, including folk music, fireworks, and activities for the kids. More information here (in French). 
6. Celtic Festival, Aug 7th – 16th
This festival, known as InterCeltique, will see 4,500 Celtic musicians descend on the town of Lorient in Brittany, western France. Brittany is one of the six “Celtic nations” where Celtic traits have survived (the others are Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man).

(Dance a jig with the Celts in Brittany. Photo: AFP)
Expect Celtic music in various styles, including traditional, classical, folk, jazz, and even rock. All aspects of Celtic art will be explored over the ten days, with writers, film directors, painters and lecturers on hand for the estimated total audience of 500,000. More information here (only in French).
7. Lama Film Festival, Aug 1st – 7th
Always wanted to head to Corsica but never had a reason? Why not pop down to the Lama Film Festival. Granted, you'll need to have a good grasp of French to understand the films, and considering it's a European Film Festival the subtitles will be in French – BUT – take a look at the video below and tell us that you wouldn't want to visit this charming town. 

Festival du film de Lama from Bilitis Poirier on Vimeo.

Association festival du film de Lama

The event runs from August 1st to August 7th and features open-air film screenings, workshops for the children to learn about how movies are made, and meets for theatre and music enthusiasts. Read more here (in French).

8. Festival du Comminges, August
Do you like classical music? Look no further. This music festival is celebrating its 40th year in 2015, and it's already showcased some since it opened earlier this summer. 
August will be no exception, with the southern French town playing host to a range of choirs (including Gregorian, Orthodox Russian, and Basque), and indeed fine music on most days – check out the full schedule (in English) here
9: Fete du bruit, Aug 7th – 8th 
This music festival will be headlined by none other than Snoop Dogg, and will take place in Landerneau, in Brittany, western France. Tickets for the two-day pass are on sale for €75. You can also catch acts like Gramatik, Mika, Simian Mobile Disco, and Stephen Marley.
(Why not catch Snoop Dogg in Brittany. Photo: AFP)
10. International Festival of Photojournalism, Aug 29th to Sept 13th

This event, held in southern France's Perpignan, is described as the biggest festival of photojournalism in the world and attracts around 230,000 visitors as well as 3,000 professionals.

The event which kicks off on August 29th, is called Visa pour L’Image and it started in 1989 with the idea to “create a photography festival dedicated entirely to photojournalism.” As well as being able to see some spectacular photos from the world of journalism, visitors will also be able to meet the people behind the lenses. For more info, click here.


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