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May events in France

PUBLISHED: 15:33 26 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:40 08 May 2017

Cannes Film Festival © Festival de Cannes

Cannes Film Festival © Festival de Cannes


There are plenty of festivals and events happening across France in May, including the glitzy Cannes Film festival, a celebration of the written word, a huge gathering of mountain bikers and several jazz festivals. Here is our pick of what’s going on in France in May

Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes

Founded in 1946 and considered the world’s most prestigious film festival, this invitation-only event is held at Cannes’ Palais des Festivals – but there’s still plenty to see if you’re not on the guest list. The film festival also includes free film screenings on the beach, a lively atmosphere and the chance to glimpse your favourite celebrity.



Nuit des Musees at Chateau de Versailles © Linkol78 CC BY-SA 3.0 Nuit des Musees at Chateau de Versailles © Linkol78 CC BY-SA 3.0

Nuit Européennes des Musées, across France

Good news for anyone balking at exorbitant entry fees for France’s big collections: this single-night event, which will be held this year on 20 May, sees 1,200 French museums and galleries open their doors for free until 1am. The event was launched by the Ministry of Culture in 2005 and participating venues include the Louvre, the Palais de Tokyo and the Château de Versailles in the Paris area alone.



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Marathon du Mont St-Michel © ASO / G. Demouveaux Marathon du Mont St-Michel © ASO / G. Demouveaux

Marathon du Mont St-Michel, Normandy

You can see the finish line from the start point at the Marathon du Mont St-Michel but with spectacular views of the UNESCO World Heritage site to enjoy, this is one race you’ll be in no hurry to finish. Taking place in May, the race starts in Cancale and passes through several villages including Le Vivier-sur-Mer and Cherrueix before finishing up at the foot of Mont St-Michel. If you don’t fancy running the whole thing, there are four other routes available including a 5km women-only race and a 10km route for beginners. The course is totally flat, meaning runners can easily achieve a personal best – if they don’t get too distracted by the views of the ‘Wonder of the West’ that is!



Festival de Mot Festival de Mot

Le Festival du Mot, La-Charité-sur-Loire, Nièvre

Over 100 activities and events take place to celebrate the written word and the Francophone language, hosted by a town that’s home to more bookshops and craftsmen than you can shake a stick at. This year’s event is set to include art and photography exhibitions, theatre shows, film screenings, dance and music performances, as well as workshops in song-writing.



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Fete du Pain Fete du Pain

Fête du Pain, across France

Get your fill of the best bread during the Fête du Pain in May when bakeries across France come together around a common theme of ‘move with bread’. Festivities include contests, tastings, demonstrations and displays.



Festival Jazz a St Germain des Pres in Paris Festival Jazz a St Germain des Pres in Paris

Festival Jazz à St-Germain, Paris

This annual festival in May brings concerts to exclusive venues in the iconic Left Bank quarter of the capital. Musicians strum, boogie and sing the blues everywhere from theatres to canal boats to cultural centres – and the streets come alive with plenty of free open-air gigs. New talents are encouraged, and there are always accompanying exhibitions on a variety of subjects.



Fete des Voisins © Rawpixel Ltd / Thinkstockphotos Fete des Voisins © Rawpixel Ltd / Thinkstockphotos

Fête des Voisins

Make an effort to get to know your neighbours during La Fête des Voisins on 19 May, when residents in neighbourhoods across France are encouraged to get together to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.



Related articles

France’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

What’s on in France


Journees des Plantes de Chantilly Journees des Plantes de Chantilly

Les Journées des Plantes, Chantilly

In May the gardens around the opulent Domaine de Chantilly will burst into bloom for the famous flower show, the Journées des Plantes. The event brings together 200 exhibitors, including flower nurseries, horticulturists and flower-arranging professionals all offering visitors the chance to buy plants, flowers and shrubs, while special workshops and talks will help you to get the most out of your garden.



Jazz sous les Pommiers © konstantin32 / ThinkstockPhotos Jazz sous les Pommiers © konstantin32 / ThinkstockPhotos

Jazz sous les Pommiers, Coutances, Normandy

The annual Jazz sous les Pommiers takes place in Coutances in May, delighting jazz fans with an eclectic mix of music from the genre including New Orleans jazz and electronic beats. Over 400 musicians will play a varied mix of 60 concerts over the week-long event that is popular with music fans of all ages. In addition to the concerts, there are street music performances to add to the party atmosphere.



La Medocaine La Medocaine

The Médocaine, Arsac, Gironde

The largest gathering of mountain bikers on one day in France will take place in Arsac, Gironde in May. This unparalleled sporting event, the Médocaine, allows 6,500 people to discover the landscapes of the prestigious wine appellations of Margaux, Haut Médoc, Moulis, Listrac and Bordeaux Supérieur, in a festive atmosphere, plus the opportunity to taste the best wines of the south Médoc.



VitiLoire © BEREFLEX VitiLoire © BEREFLEX

VitiLoire, Loire Valley

If you want to spend your bank holiday weekend eating, drinking and being merry, then head to the Loire Valley for VitiLoire from 27-28 May. Set in the heart of Tours, the event was established in 2003 to promote wines from the area and today visitors can find and sample France’s favourite tipple from over 150 wine producers representing wines from the region. There is also a market, cookery demonstrations, dinner parties plus walks and bike rides through the surrounding vineyards.


More events in France

April events in France

June events in France



1 comment

  • You should correct the of the fête des cousins, which actually falls on the 19th this year!!

    Report this comment

    Jacqueline Haskell

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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