What’s on in France: Ten things you should do in October

Looking for something to do in France this month? This list has something for everyone.

What's on in France: Ten things you should do in October
Photo: Paris Oktoberfest/Facebook
This is something you can't afford to miss if you're in Paris this month. It's been held every year since 1934, and sees the streets of Paris' most romantic neighbourhood 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.
During the week, 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.
Didn't make it to Munich's overflowing beer tents? Oktoberfest is back in Paris for its third year along with thousands of litres of beer. Tents and bars will be set up in true Munich-style at the Paris Event Centre in the 19th arrondissement – where you can expect traditional food, cabaret – and flowing beer. 
Photo: Paris Oktoberfest/Facebook
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.
Escape the cold weather and head south to the Basque Country to heat up your palate in the annual chili 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.

Ever seen a zombie in Paris? If not, well now is your chance. Take part in the city's 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. The zombies will walk from 3pm to 5pm to the Place des Vosges through a route that will be kept secret until the last minute.
Photo: AFP
Paris Nuit Blanche – 7 October
The whole City of Light will be flooded with installations, exhibitions, and concerts as contemporary artists shine a new kind of light on the city. Public transport will be open all night so you can design your own route through the attractions, as the event celebrates its 15th year. 
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.

Are you a fan of mushrooms? If you like ceps, which you may know as penny buns or porcini mushrooms, the town of Mende in southern France is for you for this weekend. It 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.
Festival de cinéma Lumière, Lyon, 14-22 October
Sit back and enjoy both the newest cinematic offerings and retouched versions of some old classics – both French and international. With many events being held in the beautiful Musee Lumiere, cinephiles can soak up the creative atmosphere of where cinema began with the Lumiere brothers at the turn of the 19th century. Keep an eye out for the director's cut of the 1995 classic Heat and the work of Wong Kar-Wai.


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.