January events in France
- Credit: Archant
There are plenty of festivals and events happening in France in January, from a wine festival in Burgundy to a dog sled race in the Alps. We take a look at what’s on across France in January
Saint-Vincent Tournante de Bourgogne, Burgundy
The Saint-Vincent Tournante de Bourgogne festival is a celebration of Burgundy wine and wine producers and is held in a different town every year on the last weekend in January. As the traditional start to the festival, just before dawn, almost 80 groups of wine producers, clad in ceremonial red robes, carry statues of Saint-Vincent by torchlight down the hillside and through the vineyards. Celebrations continue for several days. This year the festival takes place from 27-28 January.
Soldes d’hiver/winter sales, across France
Pick up a bargain in France’s soldes d’hiver, which begin on 10 January and run for six weeks until 20 February. With reductions of up to 70%, the state-regulated winter sales are an opportunity for stores across France to clear their stock ready for the new season, but also a great chance to pick up the designer coat you’ve been eyeing for months at a slashed price. The Champs-Élysées in Paris is a good option if you are looking for designer clothes but be prepared to elbow your way through the crowds to the rails!
Festival International de la Bande Dessinée, Angoulême, Charente
Comic book fans head to Angoulême in Charente in January for the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée. The festival, which celebrates comic books, has been pulling in the crowds and going from strength to strength ever since it was first held in 1974. There are workshops, exhibitions and debates and a series of prizes to be awarded. This year the festival takes place from 25-28 January.
Epiphany, across France
Exactly 12 days after Christmas – on 6 January – France celebrates Epiphany, the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem to offer their gifts to baby Jesus. Epiphany is a national holiday in France and the day is marked with a galette des Rois. This frangipane-filled puff pastry tart traditionally has a small figure or bean (called a fève) hidden inside and the lucky person who finds the figure in their slice of galette is crowned king for the day.
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Festival Flamenco de Nîmes, Nîmes, Gard
In a blaze of colour and drama in the depths of winter, Nîmes welcomes talented singers, dancers and musicians for the annual Festival Flamenco de Nîmes. The event, which has been held in the city for more than 20 years, takes place at the Théâtre de Nîmes and various other venues. Outstanding artistes and new young stars feature on the festival programme, which each year reflects the diversity of the world of Flamenco. Numerous events are organised in conjunction with the entertainment: film shows, exhibitions, courses and lectures. This year the festival takes place from 11-20 January.
The France Show, London Olympia
Disappointed not to have found tickets for a trip to France under the Christmas tree? well all hope is not lost – you can still get your French fix at London Olympia where The France Show showcases the very best of France from 26-28 January. Over the three-day event visitors can enjoy traditional food at the market, sample some of the finest French wines at a wine-tasting seminar and hear from some well-known Francophiles including award-winning actress Celia Imrie and Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche. And, if you’re thinking of making the move across the Channel, the property exhibition will have you convinced with its irresistible selection of French properties on offer.
La Grande Odyssée, Alps
Teams of huskies and their mushers pit their strength against each other and the mountains in January, when they take part in La Grande Odyssée. A long-distance dog-sled race, La Grade Odyssée covers almost 750km of challenging terrain in the Alps. The teams travel from all over Europe for the event. At the start and finish lines there is lots to entertain the crowds with snowshoe hikes, mulled wine, giant tartiflettes, campfires, film screenings and igloo-building workshops. It’s no wonder the race attracts over 100,000 spectators every year. This year’s race takes place from 13-24 January.
Fête de la Truffe, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne
If you’ve ever wondered what the French fascination is with truffles, then the Fête de la Truffe in the Dordogne village of Sarlat-la-Canéda is the event for you. For a weekend in January, chefs, truffle-hunters, gourmands and the generally curious gather in celebration of this knobbly ‘black gold’. Cookery presentations reveal how to create delicious dishes using truffles, and truffle-hunting demonstrations with trained dogs take place regularly to explain how these weird and wonderful fungi are found. Workshops are also being held to help you identify truffles and assess their quality. This year’s festival takes place from 20-21 January.
International Fantasy Film Festival, Gérardmer, Vosges
The town of Gérardmer in Vosges has hosted this popular fantasy film festival since 1994. It shows around 100 screenings of 50 films, including new films and previews as well as retrospectives devoted to directors or following a theme, Films are screened in their original language with subtitles. This year’s festival takes place from 31 January-4 February.
Winegrowers’ Week, Samoëns, Alps
In the village of Samoëns in the French Alps, wine producer gather to share their expertise and offer tastings during the Winegrowers’ Week in January. There are evening workshops called vigneron cafés, wine tastings and lessons in matching food and wine. Restaurants in Samoëns serve meals created by chefs and winemakers to complement chosen wines. This year’s festival takes place from 18-22 January.