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What’s on: 11 great events around France in October 2018

The cold weather may be settling in but don’t let that stop you getting out and about in France this October. Brighten up the next few weeks with these 11 great events taking place across France.

What's on: 11 great events around France in October 2018
Plenty to see in France this October.
Tous au Restaurant, France, October 1st – 14th 
 
The concept of Tous au Restaurant is to encourage us to get out and enjoy the ‘diversity, vitality and creativity’ of France’s restaurant scene, by offering a great bargain: book a table at a restaurant online and get two set menus for the price of one.
 
With participating restaurants including Michelin starred establishments all over France, if you’re looking for an excuse to treat yourself and a plus one to a meal out, look no further.
 
Jazz Entre Les Deux Tours, La Rochelle, October 3rd – 6th
 
The 20th edition of this annual jazz festival is dedicated to the memory of violinist Didier Lockwood, who passed away earlier this year.  
 
Tickets are available online for jazz concerts at four venues throughout La Rochelle and nearby Saint-Xandre.
 
Photo: Dean Zobec/Flickr
 
Oktoberfest, Paris October 4th – 14th / Marseille October 25th – November 3rd
 
The traditional Bavarian beer festival is making two stops in France this October.
 
And there's no better place to enjoy sausages, pretzels, German folk music and, of course, Paulaner beer. 
 
For the truly dedicated, lederhosen and dirndls are available to rent online. Tickets must be bought in advance.
 
Photo: digital cat/Flickr
 
Les Toqués du Cèpe, Mende (southern France), October 5th – 7th 
 
The appearance of cep and girolle mushrooms on market stalls and restaurant menus throughout France is a sure (and delicious) sign that autumn is underway.
 
But if just frying a few porcinis up doesn’t make you feel like you’ve made the most of the season, why not indulge in all things mushroom at this themed festival in Mende? It features a food market, exhibition, tasting, cooking classes and foraging expeditions all based around the edible fungi.
 
La Nuit Blanche, Paris, October 6th – 7th 
 
Paris’ all night art festival is back for 2018 with a focus on highlighting the city’s monuments and showcasing emerging talent in visual art as well as dance, theatre and music. 
 
Public transport will run for free through the night, giving you plenty of time to experience art hidden throughout the city. If you’d rather focus in one area, try checking out the artistic ‘constellations’ around Invalides, La Villette, L’Ile Saint-Louis and Porte Dorée.
 
Nuit Blanche 2016. Photo: AFP
 
La 25e Heure du Livre, Le Mans, October 6th – 7th
 
Every year around 20,000 book lovers descend on Le Mans for Le 25e Heure du Livre literary fair. Entering its 40th year, the 2018 program includes debates, round tables and discussions with authors and publishing professionals. 
 
There are also plenty of events for kids and a wide range of books on sale.
 
La Semaine du Goût, France, October 8th – 14th
 
Restaurants and food shops nationwide are taking part in this seven-day food education project.
 
If you want to engage your taste buds and learn more about the food you eat, producers, craftspeople and shop owners will be on hand in markets and shops to run workshops, provide information and answer your questions. Chefs and restaurants are also getting involved by offering unique seasonal menus that will introduce you to new flavours.
 
Check the map to see what’s on in your area. 
 
Fête des Vendanges, Montmartre, October 10th – 14th 
 
Over 150 events will be packed into the 18th arrondissement during the Fête des Vendages, which celebrates the arrival of the first wines of the season from Montmartre’s vineyard, Clos Montmartre. This year the festival is based on the theme of peace to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.
 
Some of the main events include a musical opening ceremony, the Décibels Vendanges music festival, Yarn Bombing street exhibit and, of course, tasting sessions at restaurants and wine bars.
 
Fete des Vendanges, Montmartre 2015. Photo: AFP
 
Festival Lumière, Lyon, October 13th – 21st
 
Festival Lumière is a globally renowned film festival for fans of classic cinema. Events include film screenings, movies in concert and retrospectives of some of the silver screen’s biggest stars. 
 
Special guests for 2018 include director Alfonso Cuarón and actors Jane Fonda and Javier Bardem.
 
Festival des Courges, Lyon, October 20th – 21st 
 
Proving there’s more to these autumnal veg than just Halloween carving, this years Festival du Courge in Lyon’s botanical gardens is based on pumpkins, squash and all the other gourds which feature in fairytales. 
 
If Cinderella’s pumpkin coach alone doesn’t pique your interest there will a be host of gourd-based activities for adults and kids, such as tastings (including oils and jams), performances, games, story workshops, market stalls and a guess the weight competition.
 
Photo: Conseil Départemental des Yvelines/Flickr
 
La Fête du Piment, Espelette (south west France), October 27th & 28th 
 
You can tell it's autumn when there are so many food related festivals and one place you won’t struggle to find spicy food in France is in Esplette during the Fête du Piment.
 
Join up to 20 000 visitors to celebrate the local chili pepper harvest and enjoy some Basque cuisine while you’re in town. Other attractions include concert, markets (where you can stock up on chilli peppers) and the blessing of the chilli peppers, which takes place at the end of a traditional Basque mass ceremony. 
 
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What changes about life in France from October 2018Photo: AFP

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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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