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What’s on in France: Ten of the best events in October

Don't worry about the shortening days and take part in the outings we've picked out for you this October.

What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Photo: AFP
Fête des Vendanges, Montmartre 5-9 October
 
Wine in Montmartre – something you can't afford to miss. Held every year since 1934, the streets of Paris' most romantic neighbourhood are taken over by a folkloric celebration, to toast to the arrival of the wine made from the quarter's own vineyard. Amongst the festivities are traditional dance shows, food stands, fireworks and even an auction sale for bottles of the celebrated Clos Montmartre wine.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Paris Oktoberfest 6-16 October
 
Didn't make it to Munich's overflowing beer tents? Oktoberfest is back in Paris after its successful launch last year where 15,000 litres of beer were downed by its participants. Tents and bars will be set up in true Munich-style at the Paris Event Centre in the 19th arrondissement, or why not make your way down to Marseille for its first edition from 26th to 30th October.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Toqué du Cèpe, Mende 7-9 October
 
With the entire weekend devoted to ceps, that you may know as penny buns or porcini mushrooms, the town of Mende in southern France organises market stalls, cep-picking outings and countless cooking workshops. In case you don't want to get your hands dirty,  you can sip on local wines and watch the fanfares as you take a slab from the giant omelette.
 
Photo: Pixabay
 
24 Heures du Livre, Le Mans 8th and 9th October
 
This association, of which the name is a spin on the town's world-famous car race, organises one the most important book fairs of the country. Authors will be there to talk you through their latest works with interviews and storytelling included on the agenda.There will also be a large collection of children's books and of course comics, one of France's biggest obsessions.
 
 
Fête du Piment 29th and 30th October
 
Escape the cold weather and head south to the Basque Country to heat up your palate in the annual chilli pepper festival. You'll get the chance to take part in pelote basque, the local sport, as the town which gives its name to the popular Piment d'Espelette showcases its local dance and music. Food stalls will serve up the region's specialities enlivened by the celebrated spice.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Festival Musica – 21st September to 8th October
 
You still have time to catch Strasbourg's internationally-acclaimed Classical music festival and attend performances of the most significant pieces of the 20th century. Tickets can be bought online but there are also free activities and workshops.
 
 
Zombie Walk 8th October
 
Take part in Paris' zombie takeover in your most terrifying costume and join thousands of others in the walk of the living-dead at the Place de la République. A rock'n'roll band and DJs will guide you to the Place des Vosges through a route that will be kept secret until the last minute.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Semaine du goût 10th-16th October
 
During the week of 10th to 16th of October, school canteens to top-notch restaurants will focus on healthy eating throughout France's official food celebration. Towns and villages will be holding events, and participating restaurants offer generous discounts over the week so make sure to look out for what's happening near to you.
 
Photo: Le Gout.fr
 
Jazz entre les Deux Tours 1-9 October
 
The seaside town of La Rochelle organises concerts across different venues to reflect almost all of jazz's genres, inviting musicians of national and international fame. Many of the shows are free and there will also be conferences, photo exhibitions and dinner concerts.
 
Photo: Rochelle.fr
 
Festival International des Jardins  – All October
 
The gardens of the castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire are designed by landscapers from around the world with the aim for them to be at their most beautiful in Autumn. The castles of Amboise, Chenonceau and Blois are also nearby making this the perfect off-peak time to visit the most beautiful castle region of France.
 
The Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. Photo: Joy Weese Moll/Flickr
 
By James Vasina

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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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