July 2015: events in France
- Credit: ASO/B.Bade
Discover 10 events happening in France in July 2015, including the Tour de France, Bastille Day, medieval festivals, music festivals and a celebration of Breton culture
Tour de France
July in France means the return of the Tour de France, bringing with it a wave of cycling enthusiasm across the nation. Beginning on 4 July with an individual time trial in utrecht in the Netherlands, the cyclists will cover much of northern France from Arras to Vannes, and then head south to the testing mountain stages in the Pyrenees and the Alps. The race will finish with the traditional sprint along the Champs-Élysées on 26 July.
www.letour.frFête Médiévales de Bayeux
Famous for its iconic tapestry, the town of Bayeux in Normandy celebrates its history with the Fêtes Médiévales de Bayeux, taking place this year on 4-5 July and based on the theme ‘jugglers, poets and troubadours’. Expect plenty of medieval entertainment,as well as the popular market around the cathedral, and the grand parade on the Sunday.
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During July, Avignon is transformed into an open-air theatre with performances being staged across the town during the annual Festival d’Avignon. Taking place from 4-25 July, and expected to attract more than 150,000 visitors, the festival is a cultural highlight of the summer with performances in iconic locations such as the court of the Palais des Papes. The festival began in 1947 with a performance of Shakespeare’s play Richard II arranged by Jean Vilar, and now features a range of genres including music, theatre, dance and literature.
www.festival-avignon.comFestival de Carcassonne
6 July-1 August
The medieval cité of Carcassonne is a delight to visit at any time of year, but especially during the summer months, when two key events take place. The Festival de Carcassonne (6 July to 1 August) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, with some 100 performances ranging from circus events through to classical concerts. And, if you’re in the area on 14 July for France’s Fête Nationale, don’t miss the impressive firework display over Carcassonne’s historic ramparts. Last year, around 700,000 people gathered on the banks of the River Aude at the foot of the citéto see the skies light up in celebration.
www.tourism-carcassonne.co.ukNice Jazz Festival
One of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe, Nice Jazz Festival attracts big international names to the French Riviera. The line-up this year includes British star Jamie Cullum, American jazz group Kool and the Gang, and free performances by the London Community Gospel Choir. Running from 7-12 July, the concerts take place on stages in Place Masséna and at the Théâtre de Verdure, both in the city centre, and there are several performances each day. Tickets cost €35 per day for adults which gives access to both stages, while some concerts are free.
www.nicejazzfestival.frLes Francofolies, La Rochelle
Set in the pretty town of La Rochelle in Poitou-Charentes, Les Francofolies music festival brings together young, upcoming acts with household names from across all musical styles for an eclectic annual event, running this year from 10-14 July. There are more than 250 concerts in eight different venues and many of the concerts are free, making this the perfect time to visit La Rochelle and soak up the festival atmosphere.
www.francofolies.frFêtes Médiévales du Grand Fauconnier, Cordes-sur-Ciel
Transport yourself back to the Middle Ages this summer at the Fêtes Médiévales du Grand Fauconnier, a medieval festival in the picturesque hilltop village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in Tarn from 13-14 July. The whole community gets involved with villagers taking part in medieval dress, while the streets are taken over by jugglers, musicians, troubadours and theatrical performances. There are many typically medieval spectacles including falconry, fire shows, and demonstrations of basket-weaving and bronze-smelting. On the evening of 13 July, a medieval banquet and dance will take place in the market square.
It goes without saying that Bastille Day, or the Fête Nationale de 14 Juillet, as it is known in France, is a key date across the Channel. The date marks the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789, which signalled the beginning of the French Revolution, and is celebrated with fireworks across the country, while Paris marks the occasion with a spectacular military parade.
Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix
France’s answer to Glastonbury Festival, the Vieilles Charrues music festival, takes place in Carhaix in Finistère, Brittany from 16-19 July. Literally meaning ‘old ploughs’, Vieilles Charrues boasts a varied line-up appealing to a broad mix of music tastes. Among those performing this year are Muse, Tom Jones, Lionel Richie, Damon Albarn, Joan Baez, The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers.
www.vieillescharrues.asso.frFestival de Cornouaille, Quimper
The many and varied aspects of Breton culture are celebrated during the annual Festival de Cornouaille held in the town of Quimper in Finistère. Now in its 92nd year, the festival takes place from 21-26 July, with a varied programme of events encompassing performances and concerts of Breton music, including a competition to find the best bagadoù (bagpipe) players, traditional Breton costumes and dancers, and a Sunday parade through the historic town to round off proceedings. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities to try the local food and drink, especially the famous Breton crêpes.
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