French Festivals

All kinds of festivals take place in France throughout the year. Dance, music, theater, film… there’s a French festival for almost anything you can imagine!

Summer festivals in the south of France

In the summer, most villages in the South of France celebrate their saints, organizing balls and concerts. The Spanish influence can be felt here, since a lot of the activities involve bulls. Some include an “encierro” (Running of the Bulls) portion, letting bulls loose in the streets for children to chase after– it’s an old tradition!. Others include a “Toro Piscine” where people try to make a “vachette” (a calf) get into a paddling pool. This may sound very weird to you but it can be a lot of fun and it’s part of the southern French culture!

Cannes Film Festival

Of course you all know about the Cannes Film Festival. It usually starts mid-May and attracts the biggest movie stars in the world. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a professional or don’t know one, it’s difficult to get an official pass, which means you’ll miss out on most of the fun. Going without a pass makes it difficult to get on that red carpet and go up those famous stairs.

Cannes Film Festival

[Picture credited to Jamie Davies]

As a non-professional, you can still enjoy the buzz that fills this little city during festival time. Take the opportunity to leisurely walk along the beach rubbing shoulders with huge stars. Try to have a drink at the Martinez or the Carlton. These are good hangout places… your wallet may not like it, but you probably will!

French Film Festival

If you can’t make it to the Cannes Film Festival, you can wait till the end of June and see the stars in action on the big screen in movie theaters all over France at a very cheap rate. The French Film Festival allows you to watch tons of French movies (as well as American ones) for very cheap. All you need to do is go to any movie theater, and get the festival’s cinema pass. Come early, because screening rooms fill up fast! This is the perfect opportunity to experience French culture and to practice your French.

French Music Festival

The French Music Festival takes place just a few days before the film festival and it’s a very fun time to stroll in the streets… they are filled up with singers and musicians. Music everywhere for free! In certain places you even have big concerts of famous singers taking place, free for the general public. Paris is a great place to be during the music festival. The main squares are turned into improvised concert places with huge stages ready to welcome the biggest artists. At night it gets very crowded. Be ready for a fun ride!

French Horn

[Picture credited to Sadie Hernandez.]

More festivals!

These are only very few examples of the festivals that take place in France. If you’d like a more exhaustive list, you can always check out Le Guide des Festivals (in French — practice makes perfect!).

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