French festivals are known for their vibrancy and great atmosphere. No matter what time of year you decide to visit France, there is always a festival going on somewhere in the country celebrating local food, wine, historic event or cultural traditions. Here is our pick of the best festivals to get a taste of French culture.
One of the largest carnivals in the world, Nice Carnival is celebrated for 15 days and nights with parades, dances, music and fireworks. A theme is chosen every year for the main parade of colourful gigantic floats and figurines. One of the highlights is the Flower Parade during which 100,000 flowers are thrown into the crowd. The event attracts almost one million visitors to Nice every February.
The Festival of Lights, Lyon
On December 8, the residents of Lyon celebrate the Virgin Mary, whose statue overlooks the city from the Fourvière hill. Since the 19th century, they have been putting candles and lamps on their windows and balconies creating a mesmerising display of lights. In the last few decades, La Fête des Lumières has also become a celebration of light show design with international artists putting on spectacular performances that last for four days.
|Pentecost Feria in Nimes|
Pentecost Feria, Nîmes
Held on the fifth weekend after Easter, Feria de Pentecôte starts with a huge costumed parade and runs for five days. Apart from bull fights in the ancient Roman amphitheatre and bull runs along the city streets, expect to see stunning fireworks displays, open-air concerts and street parties. It is one of the biggest events in South France attracting almost a million visitors annually.
One of the oldest music festivals in France, Chorégies d’Orange takes place every July in the historic town of Orange. Live opera and classic music performances are staged in the atmospheric Roman theatre that sits 9,000 spectators and has magnificent natural acoustics. Some of the biggest international names in opera perform here, so tickets sell out very fast.
Photos by: Alessandro Baffa/Flickr, Office de Tourisme de Nîmes/Facebook, Chorégies d’Orange/Facebook.