June heralds the start of summer and in France it’s a month packed full of events. From a nationwide cycling race and music festival to D-day commemorations and medieval celebrations, visitors to France this month are spoilt for choice. Here’s our pick of what’s on in France in June
Rendez-Vous aux Jardins, across France
Every year thousands of public and private gardens across France open to the public during the Rendez-Vous aux Jardins event from3-4 June. Events include talks, guided tours, art exhibitions and classes on gardening, all linked to this year’s theme of ‘sharing the garden’.
Fête du Vélo, across France
More than half a million riders are expected to participate in the Fête du Vélo, a mass celebration of cycling covering 450 French towns and communes, on 3-4 June. Themes include cycling as a family and in the city, with rides ranging from gentle journeys to mountain biking.
D-Day Festival, Normandy
It’s been 72 years since the D-day landings by Allied troops on Normandy’s beaches and the towns and beaches that witnessed the historic event still delight in commemorating it each year. From 20 May to 18 June, there will be a series of events during the festival including parachute drops, parades of military vehicles and wartime celebratory singing and dancing.
Fête de la Musique, across France
In France, the summer solstice on 21 June means one thing above all: the Fête de la Musique. All over the country, amateur and professional musicians perform free concerts in every venue imaginable, from streets and gardens to factories and even apartment balconies.
Médiévales de Provins, Provins, Île-de-France
From 24-25 June, Provins will go back to the middle ages when the town celebrates the Provins Medieval Festival. Once upon a time, the UNESCO-listed town was an important meeting point for merchants across Europe so it’s no surprise that the festival is the biggest of its kind in Europe. Visitors can expect to see historical re-enactments of the Champagne Fairs and craftspeople selling products typical of the period plus medieval games for children like quoits and skittles. One day tickets are priced at €11 while two day passes are €15. Better still, go in costume and get a half-price discount.
Cathédrale de Lumière, Rouen
Every year, nightfall becomes magical in Rouen with the highly anticipated Cathédrale de Lumière event which sees Rouen Cathedral illuminated in creative and colourful ways. This son et lumière event runs from 3 June to 23 September and showcases Impressionism.
Anjou Vélo Vintage, near to Angers
If you’re nostalgic for days gone by, take a trip to the town of Saumur where the Anjou Vintage Festival celebrates all thing retro from 24-25 June. A must-visit for cycling enthusiasts, there’s a choice of four retro rides ranging from 30-130km taking cyclists through Anjou’s most beautiful riverbanks, castles and vineyards. But this isn’t the place for Lycra – cyclists must be dressed in an appropriately vintage outfit and be peddling a pre-1987 bike to participate. If you don’t fancy peddling around, wander through the vintage festival in the town’s historic centre where you can pick up classic bikes, antique accessories and old-school clothing.
24 Heures du Mans, Le Mans
Arguably the hardest challenge in motor racing, Le Mans 24 Hours returns to its namesake town from 17-18 June. A highlight for many race car fans, the 24-hour feat of endurance tests drivers to the limit as they whizz round the 13km public road route battling weather conditions, tough terrain and the inevitable loss of light to take the motor racing crown. As cars careen around the track from day to night, restaurants, bars, fairgrounds and special camping for the event add to the adrenaline of this not-to-be-missed spectacle.
Fête de la Montagne, various locations in the French mountains
Nothing clears your head like a hike in the hills, so why don’t you climb one in France during the weekend of Fête de la Montagne from 24-25 June? Taking place in locations across the Massif Central, the Vosges Massif, the Alps, Jura and the Pyrénées, the event is designed to encourage visitors to discover the traditions and culture of some of France’s best-loved mountainous regions. The programme of activities available over the weekend includes guided walks and hikes, talks on wild plants, film screenings, mountain biking, paragliding and canoeing outings, and tastings of local specialities. If the sun is shining, there really is no better way to spend a June weekend.
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