August events in France
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From water jousting to firework shows and food festivals, France has plenty to offer visitors in the month of August. Here is our pick of 10 not-to-be-missed events
Foire aux Huitres, Hérault, Occitanie
More than 20,000 visitors are expected at this annual oyster extravaganza overlooking the Étang de Thau in Bouzigues, which includes tastings of the precious locally grown oysters as well as other produce from the area. There is entertainment aplenty, too, with folk dancing, music, street performers and fireworks. The festival takes place from 10-11 August.
Festival Interceltique, Lorient, Brittany
It's Galicia's year at the Festival Interceltique from 2-11 August. 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 grand parade of the Celtic nations featuring more than 3,000 musicians and pipe bands from around the world, including the USA, Canada and Australia, is sure to be a highlight.
Fête de la Saint-Louis, Sète, Occitanie
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Since 1666, the Festival St-Louis brings the Mediterranean town of Sète in Hérault to life every summer. Taking place this year from 22-27 August, the festival attracts thousands of visitors and locals who line the banks of the Le Cadre Royal to watch the famous water jousting tournaments, a tradition that is rooted in local culture. Cheer on your favourite from the riverside or snag a seat at one of the waterfront cafés and take in the festivities with a glass of wine. There's plenty of entertainment away from the water too with a plethora of shows and impromptu performances around the town's streets and squares.
Fête du Lac, Annecy, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
If spectacular fireworks displays are your thing then don't miss the Fête du Lac in Annecy. On 3 August Lake Annecy becomes the backdrop to Europe's biggest fireworks display lasting 70 minutes. The non-stop fireworks show features dazzling pyrotechnics, music, lights and special effects.
MIMA Festival des Arts de la Marionnette, Mirepoix, Occitanie
Puppet shows have come a long way from wooden figures on a string, as the MIMA Festival des Arts de la Marionnette proves. Held in the medieval town of Mirepoix in Ariège from 1-4 August, this year's festival has an animal theme that is explored through puppet performances, musical evenings, workshops and dance events.
Fête de la Mirabelle, Metz, Grand-Est
The sweet mirabelle plum is a speciality of Lorraine in eastern France, which is responsible for around 70 per cent of the world's production, with an annual harvest of about 15,000 tons. Towns and villages throughout this historical region stage festivals around harvest time in August and September to honour the mirabelle's importance to the local economy and cuisine. The biggest takes place in Metz, capital of the Moselle département, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected from 17-25 August, with highlights including a giant picnic, concerts, parades, fireworks and the crowning of the mirabelle queen. The centrepiece is a large market, where you can meet growers and sample the fruit.
Festival Photo La Gacilly, Morbihan, Brittany
During the summer months the small town of La Gacilly in Morbihan aims to shine a spotlight on environmental and sustainability issues during the Festival Photo La Gacilly. Taking place from 1 June to 30 September, the festival sees the town become a free outdoor gallery with photographs by well-known artists, amateur photographers and world-renowned photojournalists displayed in parks, squares and street corners.
Jazz in Marciac, Gers, Occitanie
More than 200,000 people descend on the small village of Marciac in Gers during the summer for its world-famous jazz festival, Jazz in Marciac, taking place from 25 July until 15 August. Celebrating its 42nd year, Jazz in Marciac brings together famous jazz performers and young musicians to perform in a giant marquee, L'Astada concert hall or at smaller venues across the town. As well as the main shows there is a fringe festival that takes place in the town with many free performances.
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Chamonix, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
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 26 August-2 September 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, Grand-Est
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 22-25 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 the acts.
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