Don’t miss these French cultural events in June 2022

France has a jam-packed cultural calendar next month. Here's our pick of some of the best events on the agenda.

The gothic basilica of Saint-Denis will host one of the best classical showcases in France this year.
The gothic basilica of Saint-Denis will host one of the best classical showcases in France this year. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY / AFP)

The month of June will huge array of cultural events across France.

Whatever your tastes, you are certain to find a couple of gems.  

  • Festival de Saint-Denis (Saint-Denis) 

Set largely in the stunning Basilica de Saint-Denis, considered one of the oldest Gothic structures in the world, the Festival de Saint-Denis is running throughout the month of June. Visitors can pick and choose from a range of world-class classical concerts as well as a number of other performances from acts such as French hip-hop veteran MC Solaar. You can find the full schedule and ticketing information here

  • We Love Green (Paris)

In recent years the We Love Green music festival has cemented its position as one of the best in France. Tens of thousands of people have already booked tickets to this year’s event which will run on June 2, 4 and 5. It’s line-up includes stars of the francophone world including Aya Nakamura, Angèle and Christine & The Queens, as well as international heavyweights like Tyler The Creator, Disclosure and Action Bronson. The 2022 edition will also include an ‘ideas lab’ dedicated to discussions around environmental innovation, stand-up comedy sets and special workshops for kids. You can book tickets here

Aya Nakamura is one of the star performers set to perform at this year's We Love Green festival.

Aya Nakamura is one of the star performers set to perform at this year’s We Love Green festival. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)
  • Rendez-vous aux jardins (Nationwide)

This will be the 19th edition of the Rendez-vous aux jardins, an annual event organised by the French culture ministry. More than 2,000 gardens across France will open up and host workshops, concerts and discussions aimed at cultivating a greater understanding of the natural world. This year the event will be held from June 3-5 – you can find an activity close to you via this interactive map

  • D-Day Festival Normandy (Normandy)

The Allied landings in Normandy on June 6 1944 marked the beginning of the end of the end of WW2. To mark the event, the Normandy tourism office organises a series of more than events every year, around this time, for visitors to “celebrate freedom”. There are guided walks, reenactments, swing music shows, antique fairs and many more activities to take part in. You can find our more about the programme here

  • 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans)

Petrol heads will not want to miss out on the 24 hour race at Le Mans. Beginning on June 11, the 90th edition of this ultimate test of mental endurance will see drivers from around the world compete for glory – the winning car is the one that covers the greatest distance within the time limit. It is the oldest such event in the world. You can buy various ticket packages here

Drivers prepare for the 24-hour race in Le Mans

Drivers prepare for the 24-hour race in Le Mans (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)
  • Hellfest (Clisson)

Running over two weekends in June (17-19 and 23-26), Hellfest is one of the premier metal concerts on the continent. From classic acts like Guns n’ Roses and Metallica, to more contemporary ones such as Bring Me The Horizon and Five Finger Death Punch, there is enough variety to satisfy all fans of a distorted riff and ‘drop D’ tuning. You can find a full line-up as well as ticketing information here

  • Versailles Masquerade Ball (Versailles) 

Been wondering what to do with that Marie Antoinette-style dress or 18th-century aristocrat’s get up? Then this is the event for you. The annual masked ball in the orangerie of the palace of Versailles is scheduled for June 18th and there are a handful of tickets are still available here. DJs, dancers and performing artists will make this a baroque party to remember. 

Revellers enjoy the masquerade ball in Versailles

Revellers enjoy the masquerade ball in Versailles (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)
  • Fête de la Musique (Nationwide) 

This is a massive annual celebration in France and takes place on June 21st. It consists of tens of thousands of parties with live bands and DJs taking over the streets for hours of revelry. There is French traditional music, jazz, rock, pop, dub, electro and everything in between. Unlike previous years, this event will not be subject to Covid restrictions (as things stand). 

  • Medieval Festival of Provins (Provins)

The medieval town of Provins, which is less than two hours from Paris by road or rail, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It regularly hosts various historical reenactments with sword fighting, banquets and the like. But the real spectacle happens once a year during the medieval festival. On June 25-26, thousands of people descend upon Provins to witness jousting competitions, street performances and a large parade. If you come in fancy dress, you can even get tickets at half price (€6). Children under 12 and disabled people can enter the festival for free. 

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Reader question: Can you avoid seeing a dubbed movie in French cinemas?

If you're not a fan of the tradition of dubbing foreign-language movies into French, here's how to avoid it.

Reader question: Can you avoid seeing a dubbed movie in French cinemas?

Question: Sometimes I like to watch Hollywood movies in France, but they always seem to be dubbed into French – is there a way of avoiding dubbed versions?

Going to the cinema is one of life’s joys for many people – and France, the home of Cannes, is well known as a nation of cinephiles. But what if you want to enjoy an overseas film with its original language soundtrack rather than one that has been dubbed into French?

You can do that, too. Many cinemas in France show original language versions of films with French subtitles as well as French dubbed versions. 

The trick is to know which screenings are which – and for that you need to look at cinema listings online or in the local press.

The acronym you’re looking for in the cinema listings is VOST – which stands for Version Originale Sous-Titrée – and that means the screening in question has the original soundtrack and (French) subtitles. 

Frequently, avant-premiere screenings – preview showings of films in selected cinemas before their official release in France – are VOST.

You may occasionally also see VO – Version Originale – which comes without subtitles for the full-on original movie experience.

It’s similar to the VM (Version Multilingue)  initialisation on French TV, which allows viewers to watch imported TV shows or movies in their original language, as well as in French.

If the listing shows no initials, it means the movie will be dubbed into French, so you’ll be treated to the sight of one of your favourite American or British movie starts speaking fluent French – albeit while their mouth moves slightly out-of-sync with the words being spoken.