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What’s on: Ten cool things to do in France in August 2016

Les Vacances - the holidays - are upon us, and Paris is already emptying out. Here is a selection of the best events on the calendar.

What's on: Ten cool things to do in France in August 2016
Photo: AFP
If you've chosen to stay in the capital for August (and we understand that it's a tough choice), don't forget that the Paris Plages will be running all through the month. 
 
Here are ten other events in France in August that are well worth a visit.
 
1. Rock en Seine, Aug 26th – 28th 
 
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 Massive Attack and Iggy Pop.
 

(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
 
2. Night of Stars, Aug 5th – 7th
 
For three days, the Nuits des étoiles, (“night of stars”) will be held all over France. There will be around 300 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
 
3. Celtic Festival, Aug 5th – 14th
 
This festival, known as InterCeltique, will see thousands of 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.
 
There will also be headline guests including The Corrs and Joan Baez.
 
More information here (only in French).
 
4. Lama Film Festival, July 30th – Aug 5th
 
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 until August 5th 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).

 
5. Festival du Comminges, August
 
Do you like classical music? Look no further. This music festival is celebrating its 41st year in 2016, 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 here
 
6: Fete du bruit, Aug 12th – 14th 
 
This music festival will be headlined by Die Antwoord (pictured below), Iggy Pop, Garbage, and The Cranberries, and will take place in Landerneau, in Brittany, western France. Tickets for the three-day pass are on sale for €114.
 
 
7. International Festival of Photojournalism, Aug 27th to Sept 11th

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 27th, 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.

8. Festival de Musique, Menton, July 29th – Aug 14th 
 
Is classical music your thing? Then what better way to enjoy it than in the stunning Menton, out the front of the Saint-Michel Archange cathedral (among other places). 
 
There will be names from around the world performing, with some tickets as cheap as €10. Read more here.
 
 
9. Foire aux Vins d’Alsace, Colmar, August 5th – 15th 
 
A ten-day festival with performances from the likes of Pete Doherty, Limp Bizkit, and Manu Chao. 
 
As for the wine, there will be over 300 exhibitors displaying their goods. 
 
Below is a video giving you an idea from last year's event. Click here for more info about the 2016 event. 
 
 
10. Fête du Cassoulet, Aude, August 24th – 28th 
 
Who doesn't like a good cassoulet? This festival obviously promotes the French specialty (learn how to cook it here while you're at it), but also offers sporting activities, music, and over 40,000 cassoulets. 
 
Get an idea from last year's even in the video below. More info here. Bon appetit. 
 

 

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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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