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14 reasons to visit France in 2024

The Local France
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14 reasons to visit France in 2024
France is waiting to welcome you in 2024. Photo: AFP

From beaches and festivals to skiing, via the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the reopening of Notre-Dame and of course the Paris Olympics - here's why France should be on your travel list in the next year


The skiing

It looks like the 2023/24 season is going to be a good year for skiing in France, with plenty of snow on the slopes already, prompting a number of French ski resorts to open earlier than scheduled.

READ ALSO From high altitude to family friendly: 15 of the best French ski resorts

The sales

Forget Black Friday. Ignore Cyber Monday and Price-Drop Tuesday. Pay no attention to Genuine-Proper-Honest-Real-Deal Wednesday, or Mad-Mega-Cost-Crash Thursday. Les soldes are where the genuine savings are to be found in France. There are two sales periods – one in winter and one in summer. Anything else is just a promotion…

The winter sales begin, across almost all of France, on Wednesday, January 10th, and last until Tuesday, February 6th. In four border departments – Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, et Vosges – they begin on January 2nd.

Summer bargains can be found from Wednesday, June 26th, until Tuesday, July 16th. 


The festivals

France loves its festivals – which range from small, local events that last a day or so, to huge international affairs that go on for weeks.

And don’t think that the seasons slow things down, with Nice Carnival and the Menton lemon festival getting party season started early in 2024.

READ ALSO 10 of the best winter festivals in France

The festivals continue throughout the year and there are far more than we could possibly list here - to pick just a very few of our favourites - the Dieppe Kite Festival (if you love Dieppe, be sure to also check out its herring festival), the enormous Fête de Bayonne in south-west France in summer, the July 14th firework displays all over France, the Paris-based summer music festival Rock en Seine and the Lyon Fête des Lumières in December.


Yes, it’s another festival. But it’s not just any other festival. It’s the glitziest, glammiest 11-day festival of cinema, under the warm mid-May Mediterranean sun. Some of the year’s biggest movies will get their first showings on the south coast of France – 2023 saw Martin Scorsese’s Flowers of the Killer Moon debut. While it’s still too early to say which films will be in competition in 2024, expect to see big names and big films on show.

Roland Garros

For nearly three weeks in May and June, Paris becomes the centre of the tennis world, as the world’s best players face one another on dusty red clay of Roland Garros. The goal? Titles at the French Open, one of the sport’s four Grand Slam events of the year.

80th anniversary of D-Day Landings

June 6th, 2024, is the 80th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy – and a time to remember the sacrifice of those who fought and died to save the world from tyranny.

Exact details are yet to be finalised, but there will be plenty of events to mark this very special anniversary with representatives of the French, British, American and Canadian governments paying their respects to the fallen, plus the few veterans of the landings who are still with us. 

Away from the anniversary itself, there are several excellent museums dedicated to the Allied landings scattered through Normandy, plus memorials to those who died. 


The summer

There’s more than one reason why France is the world’s most popular tourist destination - but summer is a big factor. The sun is warm, the views spectacular, the food and drink flows like Champagne at a society wedding, and it’s peak festival time. 

READ ALSO 9 of the best things about summer in France

If you don't believe us, ask the experts - the French themselves who decamp en masse to the beaches or the mountains in July and August.

Our top tip for summer 2024 - the French Alps. As global temperatures rise many people find the Mediterranean beaches simply too hot in high summer, but the mountains make a great alternative and French Alpine resorts are rapidly diversifying into summer tourism with a great offering of lakes, mountains and many, many outdoor activities. 

The Tour de France

The 2024 Tour begins in northern Italy, with a 206km ride from Florence to Rimini on June 29th. Because Paris is all Olympic-ed up, the race this year finishes with an individual time trial from Monaco to Nice five days before the XXXIII Olympiad begins in the capital.


The Paris Olympics

The Opening Ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games is on Friday, July 26th, as the Games officially get under way. The opening ceremony will take place in central Paris along the River Seine. Tickets to watch from the seated areas are already sold out, but there will be a draw for free tickets for standing room, probably in January 2024. 

READ ALSO What to know about visiting Paris for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

If you're not an Olympics fan you might want to avoid Paris itself while the Games are on, since it's likely to be quite crowded, but so far there's no indication of price rises or any travel problems for people who want to visit the rest of France while the Games are on. France is a big country so there will be plenty of places where you can get away if sports are not your thing. 


The Paralympics

The 17th Paralympic Games – featuring some 4,400 of the world’s most outstanding Paralympic athletes –  takes centre stage in Paris from the end of August. The 11 days of competition, featuring 549 events at 20 venues, will be a must-see on the sporting calendar in 2024.

Tickets are both cheaper and easier to get hold of than for the Olympics, and the same iconic Paris venues will be used to host events. 

Vendée Globe

Over on the Atlantic coast of France, round-the-world sailors are prepping for the quadrennial single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race. Most of the Vendée Globe action, by definition, takes place far from France – but the start (on November 10th) and finish are in France.

Even if you're not into sailing, the west coast of La Vendée makes a great holiday location.

Christmas markets

Germany may have a justifiable claim to be the world capital of festive celebrations, but France really does give good Christmas market, whether you go for the cross-border stylings of Strasbourg and Colmar, or the very Provencal versions in the south of the country. 

READ ALSO 17 of the best Christmas markets in France

Notre Dame reopens

Paris’s great cathedral was ravaged by fire in April 2019. President Emmanuel Macron promised that it would open again in 2024 – and the current grand reopening date is December 8th.

Already the new spire is visible on the Paris skyline…

READ ALSO Five not-so-famous things about Notre-Dame cathedral

The food

It’s a trope, but French gastronomy is revered for a reason. Every region adds something to the pot. And, yes, there are those who will insist it’s overrated sauce over substance – but, frankly, you can safely ignore them because they don’t know what they’re talking about. Or they failed to click on the link below, first, and chose … unwisely.

READ ALSO 8 tips for finding a good restaurant in France



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