August events in France
PUBLISHED: 10:55 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 03 August 2017
From water jousting to firework shows and floating food markets, France has plenty to offer visitors in the month of August. Here is our pick of 10 not-to-be-missed events
Fête de la Saint-Louis, Sète, Occitanie
Since 1666, the Festival St-Louis brings the Mediterranean town of Sète in Hérault to life every summer. Taking place this year from 17-22 August, the festival attracts thousands of visitors and locals who line the banks of the Le Cadre Royal to watch the famous water jousting tournaments, a tradition that is rooted in local culture. Cheer on your favourite from the riverside or snag a seat at one of the waterfront cafés and take in the festivities with a glass of wine. There’s plenty of entertainment away from the water too with a plethora of shows and impromptu performances around the town’s streets and squares.
Menton Festival de Musique, Menton, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Before summer slips away, treat yourself to a classical open-air music concert, such as the Menton Festival de Musique that takes place on the French Riviera. The festival has been going since 1950, making it one of France’s oldest classical music events and one of Europe’s most prestigious. Performances take place on the Baroque square outside Basilique St-Michel in the Old Town, where classical musicians delight crowds. This year, the event invites top classical music artists to its stage from 28 July to 13 August with performances from cellist Edgar Moreau and violinist Renaud Capuçon. See the full progamme online.
Festival Interceltique, Lorient, Brittany
It’s Scotland’s year at the Festival Interceltique from 4-13 August. The annual celebration of Celtic music, dancing, food and drink attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the port of Lorient in southern Brittany. A performance from Scottish singer Amy McDonald is sure to be a highlight, as is the grand parade of the Celtic nations featuring more than 3,000 musicians and pipe bands from around the world, including the USA, Canada and Australia.
MIMA Festival des Arts de la Marionnette, Mirepoix, Occitanie
Puppet shows have come a long way from wooden figures on a string, as the MIMA Festival des Arts de la Marionnette proves. Held in the medieval town of Mirepoix in Ariège from 3-6 August, this year’s festival has an animal theme that is explored through puppet performances, musical evenings, workshops and dance events. Tickets are available online from 1 July. A family pass costs €36.
DARC, Châteauroux, Centre-Val de Loire
More than 60,000 people are expected to descend on the town of Châteauroux in Indre-et-Loire from 7-19 August for its annual dance festival, known as DARC. Dancing enthusiasts can tap their feet to a range of different dance disciplines, which include jazz, tango, salsa, flamenco and even hip hop, at one of the workshops run by internationally acclaimed professionals. Other attractions include concerts for all ages and dance shows. Sure to get the whole family moving!
Fête de la Mirabelle, Metz, Grand-Est
The sweet mirabelle plum is a speciality of Lorraine in eastern France, which is responsible for around 70 per cent of the world’s production, with an annual harvest of about 15,000 tons. Towns and villages throughout this historical region stage festivals around harvest time in August and September to honour the mirabelle’s importance to the local economy and cuisine. The biggest takes place in Metz, capital of the Moselle département, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected from 19-27 August, with highlights including a giant picnic, concerts, parades, fireworks and the crowning of the mirabelle queen. The centrepiece is a large market, where you can meet growers and sample the fruit.
Marché flottant, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
The Provençal town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is best-known for its antiques fairs and flea markets, but its food markets are also very popular. On the first Sunday in August (the 7th this year), it is the setting for a marché flottant, when costumed traders bring their flat-bottomed boats, known as négo-chins, to Quai Jean-Jaurès and tempt shoppers with everything from sun-swollen fruit and vegetables to wine and home-made jams.
Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique, Cannes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
What could be a better way to round off a warm summer’s evening than a firework display by the sea? Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes that takes place on 7, 15 and 24 August on the glamorous town’s 400m seafront features a dazzling display set to a spellbinding soundtrack that will entrance the 200,000 spectators that gather on the Promenade de la Croisette to see it.
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Chamonix, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Meeting in Chamonix and passing through the Alps mountain range in France, Italy and Switzerland, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is regarded as one of the world’s toughest running races, reaching an altitude of 10,000m. Top athletes will return to take on the challenge from 28 August-3 September that will treat runners to breathtaking views of the Alpine backdrop which laces the route with stunning valleys and mountain summits. Even if you’re not geared up to run, you can still be at the heart of the activities as a supporter or by signing up to be a volunteer. A Mini UTMB event, open to 3-13 year olds, offers children the chance to compete in shortened versions of the race.
Le Cabaret Vert, Charleville-Mézières, Grand-Est
Taking place on the banks of the River Meuse, Le Cabaret Vert in Charleville-Mézières is a rock festival famed for its eco-friendly approach. From 24-27 August, festival-goers can enjoy organic food and craft beer at the festival’s refreshment stands, as well as music ranging from rock and reggae to French pop and electro, as crowds of over 90,000 people watch the acts.
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