August events in France
From jazz festivals to firework shows and floating food markets, France has plenty to offer visitors in the month of August. Here is our pick of events
Menton Festival de Musique, Menton
The Menton Festival de Musique on the French Riviera has been delighting crowds with live classical music since 1950 and is one of France’s oldest classical music events, not to mention one of the most prestigious in Europe. The festival is held outside on the baroque square of Basilique St-Michel in the old town, offering scenic views of the Mediterranean plus glimpses of Italy in the far-off distance, providing a venue that is visually and acoustically stunning in equal measure. This year, the event invites top classical music artists to its stage from 29 July to 14 August with performances from Edgar Moreau and Elisabeth Leonskaja, to name but a few.
Festival Interceltique, Lorient
The annual celebration of Celtic music, dancing, food and drink attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the port of Lorient in southern Brittany. The Festival Interceltique is being held from 5-14 August and begins with a seafood supper (kaoteriad in Breton). The centrepiece, a grand parade of the Celtic nations, takes place on 7 August, and features more than 3,000 musicians and pipe bands from around the world, including the USA, Canada and this year’s featured country, Australia.
Tel: (Fr) 2 97 21 24 29
La Foire aux Vins, Colmar
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Festivals are not always well regarded for their selection of wines, but during La Foire aux Vins in Colmar, Alsace, the favourite drink of the French is the tipple of choice. Indulging in fine wine is not the only thing that you can enjoy during the 10-day event that runs from 5-15 August. A lively programme full of dance acts, exhibitions and music shows include acts such as The Cranberries and Amy MacDonald.
Marché flottant, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
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.
Tel: (Fr) 4 90 38 04 78
Darc Festival, Châteauroux
Whether you like to tap your feet to jazz, tango, salsa, hip hop or flamenco, you won’t be able to keep off the dance floor at the Darc Festival that takes place from 7-19 August in Châteauroux in Indre. The festival, which welcomes some 65,000 people, offers concerts for all ages in addition to workshops run by internationally acclaimed professionals. With more than 30 dance disciplines to choose from, the festival is popular with trainees trying to perfect a technique or learn a new one altogether, with the chance to put on your dancing shoes for the big end-of-show finale proving a highlight of the dance festivities.
Lacanau Pro, Lacanau
From 11-21 August, the best European and international surfers compete on the beach in Lacanau for the annual Lacanau Pro, a key event in the pro surfing calendar and part of the World Qualifying Series. If you don’t fancy riding the waves yourself there are plenty more seaside activities on offer, including stand-up paddleboarding, zumba workshops and surfboard exhibitions, and even concerts or films when the sun starts to go down. The professional competition starts on 16 August, so take your beach towel, settle down on the sand and be mesmerised by the world pros riding the www.waves.lacanaupro.com
Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique, Cannes
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. Every summer, six different nations are invited to participate as part of a competition to win the coveted Silver Vestal prize. See France’s entry on 7 August with their show entitled ‘Abracadabra’. www.festival-pyrotechnique-cannes.com
Fête de la Saint Louis, Sète
From 18-23 August thousands of people will descend on the port town of Sète in Languedoc-Roussillon for the Fête de la Saint Louis. The festival’s famed jousting tournaments will take place along the town’s Canal Royal, seeing opponents, decked out in their sailing whites and straw hats attempting to topple one another into the waters below. Grab a seat on the canal banks or book a table at one of the restaurants lining the waterway for the best views before joining the festivities that bring the streets and squares of Sète to life, including 70 street shows and a firework spectacular. www.tourisme-sete.com
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Chamonix
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 22-28 August 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
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 25-28 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 acts including Bloc Party and Sum 41.
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