What’s on in France: Eleven great things to do in June 2017

June brings the official beginning of summer, making it the ideal month to explore France with the help of an amazing variety of cultural, historical and musical events.

What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in June 2017
Photo: fgr77/Flickr
Every June and July this internationally acclaimed open-air music, theatre, dance and film festival takes place in Lyon's Roman Theatre.
This year Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire are set to play June 5th and star of controversial French film Elle, Isabelle Huppert will be performing in an adaption of French libertine writer the Marquis de Sade's “Juliette and Justine, The Vice and the Virtue”.
In July pop legend Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and American singer Norah Jones are just two of the world class acts lined up to take the stage.
On top of this, a selection of circus acts, instrumental musicians and chanson francaise artists will be on offer throughout the festival.
Photo: AFP 
For the past 13 years, over 2.5 million visitors have descended on La Gacilly, in the northwestern region of Brittany, for the biggest outdoor photography festival in the country.
Committed to sustainable development, the exhibition showcases art and photojournalism with hundreds of photos installed throughout the streets of the village to peruse at leisure.

Photo: Andy Hay
Over eight weekends from mid-June to the end of July, jazz will take over the Parc Floral de Paris — a botanical garden with an artificial lake and pavilions within the Bois de Vincennes in the city's 12th arrondissment. 
Music lovers will be able to take advantage of their beautiful surroundings as they watch open-air performances encompassing jazz, world music, soul and blues. 
The festival also holds musical games and workshops every afternoon, as well as concerts on the “Jazz Barge” on selected dates.  
Photo: René Carrère / Flickr

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.
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. 


Photo: AFP
Classical music fans will love this festival dedicated to opera. 
Located just south of picturesque Avignon in the south of France, the festival's acts take place in the ancient Roman theatre, the Théâtre Antique d'Orange.
Photo: AFP

The David Hockney retrospective — the perfect summer exhibition — will hit the Centre Pompidou on June 21st. 
To celebrate the British artist's 80th birthday, London's Tate Britain, the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou have all collaborated to bring together 160 of the artist's works. 
And with a large part of the exhibition dedicated to Hockney's 60s Californian period — large canvases showing blue pools — it's the perfect way to escape (and celebrate) the June heat.   

Photo: AFP
What better way to celebrate the arrival of summer, than a whole day of concerts and musical performances? Oh…and they're all free. 
Every genre of music will be ticked off with gigs taking place across the whole of France.
Artists and groups will take to various venues as well as the streets in participation, so it will be difficult to miss.
Photo: AFP
Are you a devoted foodie? If so, head down to the pretty village of Mougins in south of France this month.
Each year around a hundred chefs from around the world descend on the historic village to wow the general public with their culinary skills.
Photo: thierry obadia/Flickr
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 promotes the charity's work in the fight against AIDS and HIV. 
This year's acts include reggae legends Toots and the Maytals, Belgian electronic act Soulwax and US hip hop group House of Pain. 

Photo: AFP
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 'Lights and colors of the Middle Ages'.

Photo: fgr77/Flickr
Don't worry if your invitation to Cannes got lost in the post, you can hit the painfully hip Rochelle International Film Festival this month instead. 
And if you're a devotee of Alfred Hitchcock then you're in for a real treat with the festival showing a whopping 33 of the master director's oeuvre. 
The festival also offers a diverse selection of films by international directors and showings of classic silent films while a pianist accompanies them live.
Photo: AFP


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.