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What’s on in France: 12 great things to do in March 2018

March heralds the official start of spring so it's time to shake off those winter cobwebs and fill your calendar with fun things to do. Here's our pick of 12 events in France that you won't want to miss.

What's on in France: 12 great things to do in March 2018
Women's Carnival, Paris Photo: Basil/Wikicommons
Paris Book Fair, March 16th to 19th
 
The Paris Book Fair, held at the Porte de Versailles, is a must for bookworms. 
 
The website says it's “the only literary get-together of its kind, reflecting the extraordinary richness and diversity of publishing”. 
 
Expect four days in celebration of reading, featuring over 3,000 famous or up-and-coming authors from around the world who will be on hand to meet the public. 
 
 
Paris Book Fair 2017. Photo: AFP
 
Cheese tasting on skis, Aubrac, Central France, March 18th
 
Only in France would you find cheese tasting on skis. Okay, perhaps Switzerland too. But anyhow, check out “Les Traces du Fromage” this month if you feel like some seriously cheesy hiking. 
 
Every year, almost 2,000 food aficionados brave the winter cold to go on a the trek leading through the beautiful landscape of the Aubrac region. Equipped with snow gear, the hikers follow a trail and stop at several intervals along the way to sample cheese and other goods from the area.
 
Photo: Les Traces/Facebook
 
Paris-Nice cycle race, March 4th-11th 
 
Now in its 76th year, the 1,290km cycle race between Paris and Nice is also known as the Race to the Sun, due to the start in Paris, where March is often cold and windy, before finishing in the sunny south of the country. It covers seven gruelling stages of varying terrains – you can view the route here.  
 
Run by the same company that organizes the Tour de France, it is a great chance to see some of the world's top cyclists in action – whether you choose to cheer them on from the side of the road, or from the comfort of your sofa.
 
Foie gras festival, Sarlat (Dordogne), March 3rd – 4th
 
It might not be everyone's cup of tea but for any fans of foie gras out there this event, which celebrates all traditional fattened goose cuisine, could be your ideal event. 
 
The festival includes lots of foie gras-themed activities such as a big banquet with all-you-can-eat foie gras and cookery demonstration workshops for children and adults, as well as live music.
 
On top of that, a Périgord-style carcass soup is offered to everyone at the market so that visitors can discover the riches of traditional goose cuisine. 
 
Photo: Festival website

 
Italian film festival, Nice, March 17th-31st  
 
If you're struggling with French and tired of being constantly corrected on your pronunciation, this celebration of Italian cinema might be a welcome break. 
 
Women's Carnival, Paris, March 11th 
 
Just because the Women's Carnival in Paris is smaller than the one in Nice doesn't mean it's any less fun. Women are supposed to dress up as queens and while men are welcome as well they need to dress up as a woman.
 
So better get your crown ready or start rummaging through someone else's closet to find the perfect outfit. However costumes are not obligatory.
 
Photo: Basili/WikiCommons

 
Banlieue Blues jazz festival, various locations March 16th– April 13th 
 
Plenty of Parisians are guilty of rarely venturing out of the city centre but this jazz festival could be the event to tempt them into the suburbs.
 
With concerts in different venues across the Parisian suburbs; and everything from big bands to solo artists, it's suitable for jazz fanatics and music fans in general. A standard pass is €20.
 
Kite and Wind Festival, Châtelaillon-Plage, March 31st – 2nd April
 
The Kite and Wind festival, set to take place over Easter weekend, offers far more than just kites despite what the name suggests.
 
The busy schedule (which you can see here) includes demonstrations, shows and workshops in aerial ballet, kite-surfing, kite-jumping and other windborne sports. 

 
International cheese and wine festival, Coulommiers, March 23rd-26th 
 
Things don't get much more French than this gastronomic spectacular. Over 350 cheese and wine experts will be at the show to display and sell local produce, and farm animals will also be on show.
 
As well as the stalls, there will also be an elaborate dinner on the Saturday, followed by a dance. The region's 'best brie' will be crowned, and spectators can join in games and competitions too, such as guessing the weight of cows.
 
Photo: Festival website
 
Monte Carlo comedy film festival, Monaco, February 26th – March 3rd 
 
'Comedy is a serious matter' is the motto of this festival, where comedy films from all over the world will have their premiere and compete for the title of Best Comedy of 2017. 
 
 
International Arts and Antiquities Fair, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, March 30th – April 2nd
 
This annual fair takes place for the 102nd time this year and 100,000 visitors are expected.
 
Bargain hunters will be in their element as the fair is devoted to flea markets, antiques and vintage – the entire town will be transformed into a marketplace, with four distinct areas each devoted to one of the following categories: antiques, old books, contemporary art, design and decor.
 
There will also be experts on hand to confirm the authenticity and value of objects on display.
 
Delacroix at the Louvre, Paris, March 29th – July 23rd
 
For the first time since 1963 over 180 artworks by Eugene Delacroix — the French artist most famous for his iconic painting Liberty Leading the People (see below) — will be on display together under one roof in this major exhibition of his work. 
 

Photo: AFP

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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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