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What’s on in France: Ten great things to do in June

June brings the official beginning of summer, making it the ideal month to enjoy the good weather but without the frenzied hoards of tourists that the school holidays bring.

What's on in France: Ten great things to do in June
Photo: AFP

June 2nd– July 31st– Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon

Each year, an open-air music, theatre, dance and film festival takes place in Lyon’s Roman Theatre throughout June and July. It has fast become internationally acclaimed and is central to Lyon’s culture scene.

Radiohead are set to play 1st June and quirky British musician PJ Harvey 14th June.

Besides the big names, there are circus acts, documentary films and contemporary dance groups such as Korean Scent of Ink, who are a new and unusual conceptual dance company to come to France.

(Theatre act from last year. Photo: AFP)

'The Encounter', is an enactment of a man's journey to the Amazon, to meet descendants of a tribe, based on a diary written by a National Geographic photographer and one of the insightful documentary-style performances this year.

Following this, Icelandic Sigur Rós and British Indie bad Last Shadow Puppets are just two of the acts lined up for July.

See full programme and buy tickets here

June 4-5th– Fete du Vélo, Paris

June will kick off in Paris with its annual bike festival. Join thousands of other pedal-happy people across the city exploring the cycle routes, family hikes, animations and workshops that will take place over the course of the weekend.

The event is organised by the city to promote cycling, both for its benefits for the environment and health but also to get people together and having a good old time.

(People of all ages come together to celebrate 'le vélo' during this weekend. Photo: AFP)

It is also a good opportunity for newcomers to get to grips with the overwhelming public bike system in Paris, ‘vélib’.

There will be a big guided tour from the Louvre, ending at Invalides, where a mass picnic will take place. Lucky the vélib bikes have those big baskets to carry plenty of supplies for the picnic.

For more details and to sign up, click here

June 4th– 30th September- Le Festival Photo Peuples et Nature, La Gacilly

For the past 12 years , over 2.5million visitors have been drawn to La Gacilly, in the northwestern region of Brittany, for the biggest outdoor photography festival in the whole of France.

Committed to sustainable development, the exhibition showcases art and photojournalism of the themes of human, nature and development, aiming to highlight issues surrounding the environment and human impact on it.

(Previous year's exhibition. Photo: Andy Hay)

The hundreds of photos are installed throughout the streets of the village to peruse at leisure.

For more information, click here.

June 10th– July 10th- UEFA 2016 European Championship, France

With the UEFA European football championship returning to France for the third time, it is sure to be a raucous affair. And hopefully for the right reasons. Despite recent fears surrounding the safety of the event, thousands of footy fans from around the continent will be making their way to France, to cheer on their respective teams. 

France and Romania will kick off this year’s proceedings. The opening match will take place June 10th at the Stade de France in Paris, and the tournament will then continue for four weeks until the final on July 10th.

Catch the matches at any one of the ten venues across France, or enjoy from afar, at a screen near you.

(Photo: AFP)

June 24-26th, Solidays, Paris

The ever-growing music festival that is organized each year by Solidarité Sida, is held at the race course Hippodrome de Longchamp, in Paris.

The festival is held to promote the cause that the charity works against, which is AIDS and HIV. 

All tastes will be catered for. Acts will range from chilled acoustic music, to rock, to reggae, and of course some of that aggressive French rap, for those who are into that kind of thing.

(Band at Solidays 2015. Photo: AFP)

Australian DJ Flume, English indie rock band Bloc Party and American rapper Cypress Hill will be among those performing this year for free, to support this very important cause.

The festival is not only restricted to adults nor is it only music. A number of other performances, activities and picnics will be ongoing during the course of the weekend to entertain all ages.

Buy remaining tickets here

June 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th– Les Fééries du Pont, Vers-Pont-du-Gard

Over four evenings throughout June, the magnificent UNESCO site of ‘Pont du Gard’, the bridge crossing the Gardon River in the south of France, is illuminated by a number of performances including pyrotechnics, acrobats, special effects and music.

Although the show itself doesn’t begin until it gets fully dark at 10.30pm, things kick off from 7pm, with spectators arriving early to get a good spot to eat their picnics, get merry and watch the sun set over the river.

 

(One of the light shows from last year)

Get tickets here

June 18-19th, La Mans 24 hours, La Mans

Arguably one of the most important (and the world's oldest) car races on the automobile calendar, La Mans 24 hours is the ultimate test of endurance, speed and ability, for the drivers and vehicles involved.

(Photo: AFP)

The event is just one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which includes the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.

The course where it is held is The Circuit de la Sarthe, the longest race course in the entire world. Drivers race in teams of three, and push their vehicles to their absolute limits. 

June 21st– Fete de la musique, Whole of France.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of summer, than a whole day of concerts and musical performances, which are all free by the way.

Every genres of music will ticked off by gigs taking place across the whole of France.

(Live performers in Marseille at 2015 Fete de la musique. Photo: AFP)

Artists and groups will take to various venues as well as the streets in participation, so it will be difficult to miss.

For more information and programme of events near you, click here.

Every Tuesday from June 7th– Foires aux produits du terroir, Cap d’Agde

The southwestern part of France has recently been named the place to be.

And what better month to visit than June?  

This is particularly true for foodies, who will be able to happily say goodbye to those summer bodies as they gorge on foie gras, truffle and gallons of red wine. When in Languedoc-Roussillon, as they say. Well, they do now.

Coordinate your visit with the weekly markets at Cap d’Agde, to experience the very best produce of the region at the same time as soaking up some of the summer sun.

It might not be the Dordogne, but it is as good as, with the extra little bonus of the sea. 

June 11-12th– Les Médiévales de Provins, Provins

History lovers, this one’s for you. The historic centre of Provins, which has been named a UNESCO site, comes to life with a reconstruction of medieval life in France.

Parades, musical performances and a Medieval Ball are just some of the events on the programme. Children can have their faces painted, get creative in workshops and learn about the history of this north-central region of the Seine-et-Marne during the Middle Ages.

This year’s theme is ‘Voyages et Découvertes’ (travels and discoveries).

(Performance at previous year. Photo: Provins tourism)

by Hattie Ditton

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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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