What's on in France? Ten top things to do in May

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What's on in France? Ten top things to do in May

May in France is an optimum time to get out the house. With more bank holidays than any other time of year, spirits are high despite the sun’s reluctance to shine. From films to sport, these are the best events to make the most of this fun-packed month.


Nuit des Musées, May 20th

On the evening of the 20th museums across the whole of France will throw open their doors free of charge to visitors between 6pm and midnight. Most museums will also offer special activities such as concerts, workshops and screenings.

Photo: AFP

D-Day Festival (May 20th-June 18th), Normandy

This year marks the 11th edition of the festival since 2007 when it was introduced to Normandy, to commemorate the anniversary of the Allied Landings in Normandy during the second world war. It marks an important part of France's history and the festival takes over the city with film screenings, historical walks, reenactments and theatrical performances, making this one of the best times to visit Normandy for history lovers.


Roland Garros, French Open (May 22nd- June 11th ), Paris

Although tickets may be hard to get hold of for the annual tournament, it is a huge deal in Paris so you will be able to watch the matches live at numerous bars and screens across the city. So brush up on the rules of tennis, because it is all anyone in France will be talking about for two weeks.

Grand prix de France moto, May 19th, 20th, 21st

Another big sporting event to put on your calendar. Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend upon the western French town of Le Mans for the motorcycling Grand Prix. Here’s a preview to get you revved up.


La fête des voisins (May 19th), nationwide

Thanks to poor plumbing and thin walls, French neighbours, especially in Paris, are infamous for their disputes. Yet since its launch in Paris in 2000, 'Neighbours Day' has become a global success, with people across the world seizing the opportunity to get to know the people living nearby, even if it might be the first time they have spoken all year.

If nothing else, it's a good excuse for a party and people across France will be organizing garden gatherings and aperitifs in the communal areas of their apartments or roads, so if you haven't already - get involved.

Photo: AFP

Cannes Film Festival (May 17th-28th), Cannes

It's that time of year again and this year will mark the festival’s 70th anniversary. As always this period will be a prime time for a bit of celeb spotting on the French Riviera, sipping a glass of rosé. The jury for this year's panel has just been announced to include Will Smith and Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar as President.

Photo: AFP

Paris Beer Week (May 5th- 13th), Paris

Great news for ale appreciators. For a whole ten days, craft beer lovers across the capital are invited to take part in “over 150 fun, innovative, educational, and crazy events”. Details of beer tastings, beer walking tours and workshops that will be going on can be found here.

Photo: Francois Guillot / AFP

Nuits Sonores, electronic and indie festival, May 24th-28th

Electro music lovers take note. This year’s Nuits Sonore festival in Lyon promises to draw an intergenerational crowd as well as a superb programme of international and local artists with a rich mixture of styles.


Word Festival, Charité sur Loire, May 24th-28th

Located in the tiny medieval town of Charité sur Loire, this is a festival devoted to the celebration of words – whether spoken, written or sung. Over four days artists, writers and scholars alike will gather there to do just that in a series of workshops, exhibitions and readings.


International Fair in Bordeaux, May 20th-28th

If you’re a home-owner or are buying property in France then this could be just the ticket. At the expo you’ll find everything home-related from furniture, household appliances, construction equipment, as well as handicrafts and jewellery.



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