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Posts Tagged ‘Strasbourg’

Things to see and do in France for 2011

March 4, 2011 2:20 pm
posted by Rebecca

There’s always something slightly out of the ordinary happening in France, some quirky local festival or carnival full of colourful floats and characters. So whether you’re looking for an excuse for a quick hop over the channel or seeking fun days out during your holiday, look no further than our month-by-month guide.


78th Fête du Citron, 18 February – 9 March, Menton

Situated in the far South East of France in the Alpes Maritimes region, the charming seaside city of Menton provides the ideal sub-tropical climate for growing orange and lemon trees. Which is no doubt the inspiration behind the fabulous Fête du Citron, when some 145 tons of lemons and oranges are brought in to town for a spectacular citrus-fest.

This year’s festival is running under the theme of ‘the Great Civilisations’. Highlights include the Parade of Golden Fruit (complete with citrus-laden floats and sumptuous costumes) along with the Moonlit Parade and fireworks. Then there’s the Citrus Exhibition – travel to all four corners of the globe in one city, as rendered by (yes, you guessed it) citrus fruits.

Accommodation for the event.

Festival Guitares du Monde, 18-26 March, Troyes

This showcase for guitarists from around the world takes place each March at the Espace Culturel Gérard Philipe in St-André-les-Vergers on the outskirts of Troyes, in the Champagne region.

This year sees the 15th edition of this popular strum-off. Six concerts culminate on 26th March with one of the best French blues guitarists, Fred Chapellier.

Just don’t request Stairway to Heaven!

Accommodation for the event

Festival du Boudin, 19-21 March, Mortagne-auPerche

Lovers of le boudin noir, or black pudding, should head to Normandy for this spring food fest. Highlights include the fiercely fought international black pudding contest and cookery demonstrations based around the celebrated blood sausage.  More than 100 exhibitors, butchers and chefs showcase their wares, with over five kilometres of sausage sold annually at the three day event.

Accommodation for the event.

Choco’Croc Expo, 19-20 March, Strasbourg

If your perfect pudding is all about the sugar rush, then the Choco’Croc fair in Strasbourg, Alsace, will be more appealing. One of the largest dedicated chocolate forums, the show attracts experts from the worlds of chocolate, candy, nougat, gingerbread and pastries…perfect for sweet-toothed travellers and the ideal antidote to Lent. Learn tricks of the trade, taste the goodies and indulge your inner coco fiend.

Accommodation for the event.


Spi Ouest-France, 21-25 April, La Trinité-sur-Mer

Salty sea-dogs flock to La Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany each Easter for the largest gathering of yachts in Europe. Sailing enthusiasts have been enjoying this regatta in the beautiful Quiberon Bay since 1978. Thousands of sailors and hundreds of spectators come together for a spectacle at sea and a party atmosphere on shore.

Accommodation for the event.

Biarritz Easter Egg hunt, 24-25 April

Easter bunnies in search of a more traditional fest should head to Biarritz in Aquitaine for organised chocolate hunts in parks and open spaces across the city over Easter Sunday and Monday. There is also a cavalcade which takes to the streets on the Sunday with dancers, musicians and singers.

Accommodation for the event.

Plein Vent, 29 April – 1 May, Houlgate

Let’s go fly a kite…on the beach at Houlgate in Normandy!  The annual festival sees kite-flying enthusiasts from all over take ‘to the skies’ above the wide, sandy expanse of this wind-swept coast.

In fact, anything powered by the wind and you is welcome here…kites, para-gliders, buggies…

Accommodation for the event.



Pierres en Lumieres, 14 May, Orne

Strike a light! The monuments and buildings of Orne in Normandy are lit up at sunset for the third year of ‘Stones in Lights’. Candle-lit tours and performing choirs celebrate the heritage of this ancient town.

Accommodation for the event.

Festival of Brittany (‘Gouel Breizh’), 14 – 23 May

The whole region of Brittany puts on a show during the Gouel Breizh – which marks the feast day of its patron Saint, St Yves – with concerts, markets, exhibitions and street theatre. A land of tradition and folklore, Brittany or the ‘biniou koz’ (Breton for ‘the old bagpipe’) demonstrates its cultural vitality and unrivalled talent for making something new from something old.

Accommodation for the event.


Les Fêtes du Bouffon, 10-12 June, Saint Quentin en Tourmont

The Jester Festival in Saint Quentin in Picardy revives an old tradition as Herbert the giant walks through the streets, keeping an eye on the local residents. The jester himself is responsible for organising a host of street parties.

Accommodation for the event.



Red Fruit Fair, 3 July, Noyon

Strawberries, cherries, raspberries… Not to be outdone by their citrus cousins, the red fruits have their own festivities, in Noyon in Picardy the first Sunday of the month each July.  In fact, Noyon is the red fruit capital of France! Notre Dame Cathedral square comes alive with street entertainment and markets bursting with jams, syrups, coulis and compotes.

Accommodation for the event.

Fête de la crêpe, 30-31 July, Gourin

What could be more French then a pancake festival! The flat delicacy takes pride of place in Gourin in Brittany with dancing, Breton pipe bands, games and of course the pancake-makers competition.

Now I wonder if we couldn’t combine ingredients with the Red Fruit Fair for the perfect desert…

Accommodation for the event.



Fête des Menteurs, 7 August, Moncrabeau

Liars, boasters, blaggers and storytellers can celebrate the art of tall tales at this international Festival of Liars in Moncrabeau in Aquitaine. The biggest liar with the greatest gift of the gab is crowned king (not unlike the British political voting system…).

The Academy of Liars was established in this town in 1748 and its officials, who swear to parody the truth, are the judges of the competition.

Accommodation for the event.

Carrot Festival, 13 August, Creances

The second Saturday of August is dedicated to honouring the carrot in Creances in Normandy. A parade of floats piled high with the redoubtable root are topped off with music, markets and a contest for the finest – judged on taste, not size. Indeed, carrots from Creances have a ‘label rouge’ of excellence.

Accommodation for the event.

Twins Festival, 15 August, Pleucadeuc

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re seeing double at Europe’s largest twins’ festival, held in Pleucadeuc in Brittanyeach August 15th. The ‘Deux et plus’ or ‘two and more’ gathering sees around 1,000 sets of twins descend on this north western town. Apparently the town’s deputy mayor was the driving force in instigating the event. Himself the father of twin daughters, he was inspired by the high occurrence of twins in the region.

Accommodation for the event.


Coupe Icare, Mid September, Saint Hilaire du Touvet

The oldest free flight festival in the world, the Icarus Cup takes place in Saint Hilaire du Touvet in the Rhône-Alpes region. Participants demonstrate their prowess in ‘air skiing’ as they compete for the cup by hurling themselves off the cliff. There are also displays by top hang glider and paraglider pilots, kites, boomerangs, gyrocopters, birds of prey…anything goes for the pure joy of flight.

Accommodation for the event.


Deauville car rally, 1-3 October, Deauville

Regarded as the “queen of the Norman beaches” and one of the most glamorous and prestigious beach resorts in France, Deauville in Normandy has been a fashionable holiday resort for the international upper classes since the 19th Century. Started in 1967, the Paris to Deauville vintage car rally aims to recall the spirit of the “roaring twenties”, when lovers of elegance flocked to this charming watering hole.

Accommodation for the event.

Honfleur Shrimp Festival, 8-9 October, Honfleur

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…

This shrimp festival pays homage to everything ‘of the sea’ from boats to fishermen, shanties to prawns and pirates! Music, tastings and plenty of fishy goings on are guaranteed in the harbour town of Honfleur in Normandy.

Accommodation for the event.

Vimoutiers Annual Apple Festival, 19-20 October, Vimoutiers

Every third weekend in October is given over to honouring apples, cider and calvados in the little market town of Vimoutiers in Normandy. Pommtastic!

Try and buy local apples and watch growers compete for titles such as ‘most beautiful apple’. There’s also a huge exhibit made entirely of apples. Don’t forget to try a tipple of the local brandy –  calvados is drunk between courses, a tradition known as the ‘trou normand.’

An ‘apple a day’  translates into “eat an apple on going to bed, makes the doctor beg his bread” in local lore…

Accommodation for the event.

The Espelette Pepper Festival, 29-30 October, Espelette

The Espelette Pepper (Piment d’Espelette) is of the chilli variety and has its own festival in October each year in Aquitaine in the Basque region of France, where it is a culinary and cultural icon. The two-day event consists of music, dance, strong-man challenges, awards, and plenty of eating and drinking.

This not so hot chilli pepper (rating only a four on the ‘Scoville’ pepper strength scale) is more renowned for its smoky tang which complements everything from mustard to marmalade.

Accommodation for the event.