June: events in France
A guide to some of the events happening in France in June
1-15 June 2014
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the infamous D-Day landings in Normandy, and the region is marking the occasion with the D-Day Festival from 1-15 June. Plenty of events will be taking place along the Normandy coast such as a synchronised fireworks display, an air show by the Patrouille de France over the artificial harbour of Arromanches, parachute landings on the site of La Fière, parades of military vehicles and reconstructions of military camps.
www.ddayfestival.comFirst World War remembrance trails
This year marks the centenary of the start of the First World War. Northern France is encouraging visitors to commemorate this momentous event in world history with a series of remembrance trails that have been created across Nord-Pas-de-Calais giving visitors the opportunity to visit some of the iconic sites of the war, including battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and museums. There are four trails to choose from. Full details of the trails and the historical sites are available on the website.
25 May-8 June
A key event in any tennis fan’s diary, the French Open is the second grand slam tournament of the year, after the Australian Open, and always brings in the crowds. Played on the distinctive clay courts of the Roland-Garros stadium in Paris, the tournament continues to attract the biggest names in tennis and this year’s event from 25 May to 8 June is no exception. Home fans will be hoping French favourite Jo-Wilfred Tsonga can be only the second French winner of the tournament, while most would be unwilling to bet against Rafael Nadal who is looking to add to his record eight wins at the French Open. Tickets can be bought in advance through the website, with prices starting at €20. Last-minute tickets are also available to buy online for access after 3pm on the following day (from €15), or after 5pm (from €12). www.rolandgarros.comLe Mans 24 Hours
The oldest and most famous endurance race in the world of motor car racing, Le Mans 24 Hours is the highlight of the season and not one to be missed for sports car enthusiasts. Held for the first time in 1923, the race has been held annually near the town of Le Mans and tests the speed and endurance of both the cars and the drivers. This year the race begins at 3pm on 14 June, with cars competing in several classes to determine an overall winner. Race-goers can examine the cars and their drivers in the week leading up to the race as they take part in practice and qualifying sessions as well as a parade through the town, before taking up their positions for the race on the start line. www.24h-lemans.comFête de la Musique
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To mark the summer solstice on 21 June, amateur and professional musicians across France dust off their instruments for the Fête de la Musique. All performances are free and take place in unusual locations around the country, including museums, parks and train stations, to give the public a chance to enjoy music away from the concert halls. Launched in 1982, the Fête de la Musique now takes place in more than 100 countries in Europe and across the world. www.fetedelamusique.culture.frAnjou Vélo Vintage
For a bike ride with a difference, head over to Saumur in the Loire Valley over the weekend of 28-29 June where the annual Anjou Vélo Vintage event is taking place. Expect to see cycling enthusiasts and vintage-lovers alike over the two days, either taking part in one of the rides or just enjoying the atmosphere in Saumur where there will be street performances and a vintage flea market, as well as dressmakers and make-up artists to transform you into a retro icon. For cyclists there will be four rides taking place across the Loire countryside, ranging from a sedate 30 kilometres to an intense 150 kilometres. Whichever route you choose, you can enjoy rest stops in some of the Loire Valley’s best restaurants and wine tastings at local vineyards – after all no cycle ride in France would be complete without sampling the local fare! Participants are expected to dress in an appropriately vintage outfit and bicycles must be pre-1987. Tips on what to wear and how to look after your old bike are available on the website.