November events in France

Beaujolais Nouveau © ricochet64 / Thinkstockphotos

Beaujolais Nouveau © ricochet64 / Thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

From La Toussaint to the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau, there are plenty of festivals and events happening in France in November

Flower market in Brive on La Toussaint © Archant

Flower market in Brive on La Toussaint © Archant - Credit: Archant

Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais, 16 November

At one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November, the Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released and every year it is a cause for celebration all across France. The biggest bash is Les Sarmentelles in the town of Beaujeu where festivities run from 15-19 November. The five-day event features tasting tours, a craft market, musical performances and a torchlit procession into the heart of the village, in which the revellers’ trail is illuminated by burning vine shoots. There is also a wine tasting contest, the winner of which will win their weight in Beaujeu wine. Let the games begin!


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier © Atout France / Franck Charel

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier © Atout France / Franck Charel - Credit: Archant

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Gout du Large in Port en Bessin © OT Bayeux Intercom

Gout du Large in Port en Bessin © OT Bayeux Intercom - Credit: Archant

La Toussaint, 1 November

The catholic holiday, All Saints’ Day or La Toussaint is celebrated across France on 1 November. Families will often gather together at the cemetery and commemorate the dead by laying chrysanthemum flowers and lighting candles. Some will attend a Mass, while for others the day, when many shops and restaurants are shut, is an excuse to remember loved ones and spend some quality time together.

Find out more about The French tradition of La Toussaint

Dijon gastronomic fair © Philippe Maupetit / Dijon Congrexpo

Dijon gastronomic fair © Philippe Maupetit / Dijon Congrexpo - Credit: Archant

Armistice Day, 11 November

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Those who lost their lives during the First World War are remembered at ceremonies across France on Armistice Day on 11 November. French president François Hollande will lead the ceremony in Paris by laying a tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, while commemorations will take place at memorial sites at northern France’s former battlefields.

Val Thorens © C.Cattin / OT Val Thorens

Val Thorens © C.Cattin / OT Val Thorens - Credit: Archant

Le Goût du Large, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, 11-12 November

The sea is a big part of life in Le Bessin, Normandy, and in November the area invites everyone to celebrate its maritime culture at Le Goût du Large in Port-en-Bessin-Huppain. During the two-day festival, the professional fish market will open its doors to the public so visitors can shop for the freshest seafood around. Other highlights include guided tours of the historic harbour and special scallop menus and culinary demonstrations at local restaurants. Take an after-dinner stroll along the quay to admire old sailing ships and fishermen repairing their nets or catch a maritime tune at the event’s music show, Musique sous les embruns.


Vendee Globe © Jean-Marie Liot - Fabrice Amedeo

Vendee Globe © Jean-Marie Liot - Fabrice Amedeo - Credit: Archant

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Gastronomades in Angouleme © Gastronomades

Gastronomades in Angouleme © Gastronomades - Credit: Archant

Foire Internationale et Gastronomique, Dijon, 1-12 November

Food lovers won’t be able to resist a visit to Dijon in November as it hosts the Foire Internationale et Gastronomique at the town’s Parc des expositions. Attracting around 600 exhibitors, the event showcases new products in the field of food and wine and is sure to whet the appetite of professional and amateur cooks alike. The centre of activity will likely be at Le Quartier des Saveurs where you can see cookery demonstrations and competitions among the chefs while at the Restaurant des Saveurs, chefs cook up traditional Burgundy menus from locally sourced products.



Grande Première, Val Thorens, Alps, 25-26 November

While the rest of the Alps is still preparing for the season ahead, Val Thorens in the Trois Vallées, the highest winter sports resort in Europe, will launch the snowy fun with the Grande Première on 25-26 November. There will be entertainment, the opportunity to mingle with the pros, try the newest equipment on as-yet empty slopes and even enjoy red-carpet après-ski.

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Blues-sur-Seine © Michel Froment

Blues-sur-Seine © Michel Froment - Credit: Archant

Vendée Globe, Les Sables-d’Olonne, 8 November

Thousands of spectators will flock to the marina at Les Sables-d’Olonne to see skippers from across the world set sail for the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe. Nicknamed the ‘everest of the sea’ the race is the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. The winner is the first one to cross the finish line back at Les Sables-d’Olonne around three months later.

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Rassemblement International de Montgolfieres in Brives-Charensac

Rassemblement International de Montgolfieres in Brives-Charensac - Credit: Archant

Les Gastronomades, Angoulême, 24-26 November

Foodies will love Les Gastronomades in Angoulême, Charente! The weekend is dedicated to the local produce of the area and cooking, with debates, cooking lessons, culinary demonstrations and cooking contests tempting 100,000 visitors. With a particular focus on how our food gets from the field to the plate, the plentiful tastings of homemade products are the freshest around.


Fête du Cidre a l'Ancienne © David Commenchal/CDT61

Fête du Cidre a l'Ancienne © David Commenchal/CDT61 - Credit: Archant

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Salon du Cheval de Paris, Paris, 25 November - 3 December

With a total of 2,000 horses, 450 exhibitors and 150,000 visitors, the Salon du Cheval de Paris has undoubtedly earned its title as the largest equestrian event in France. Taking place in Paris’s Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre, the event’s 45th edition will have a particular focus on sport, with show jumping, dressage and Western riding being among the disciplines. In addition to competitions for amateurs and equestrian artistic performances, there is a special space dedicated to animal well-being and health. A weekend family pass for two adults and two children costs €48 and a single weekend ticket costs €18.

Blues sur Seine, Paris, 10-26 November

The Blues sur Seine festival returns this month when 260 musicians from all over the world will play their own brand of blues including African, rock, gospel and folk in the Mantes-la-Jolie area of Paris from 4-19 November.

Rassemblement International de Montgolfières, Le Puy-en-Velay, 10-12 November

The volcanic outcrops of the Massif Central, the pretty village of Brive-Charensac and the striking statue of Notre-Dame de France towering over Le Puy-en-Velay all provide the perfect backdrop for the annual Rassemblement International de Montgolfières. Hot-air balloonists gather for the festival, taking place from 6-8 November, and you can join them by booking a flight with the Puy-en-Velay tourist office or the association Montgolfière-en-Velay. or, if you prefer to keep your feet on firm ground, you can watch the spectacle from below.

Fête du Cidre à l’Ancienne, Le Sap, Normandy, 11-12 November

Normandy is the home of French cider, celebrated every November during the Fête du Cidre à l’Ancienne in the town of Le Sap. This year the event takes place over the weekend of 11-12 November. Le Sap’s Écomusée de la Pomme au Calvados will be hosting cider-making demonstrations using 18th-century tools, alongside stalls selling the brew along with calvados, apple jams, jellies and other local products. If that doesn’t sate your cider appetite, then follow the Route du Cidre through Normandy, taking in 20 cider and calvados producers who open up their distilleries to the public.