June 23 to September 1
Amboise (Loire Valley)
At the Court of King François
Discover the history of the Amboise Chateau through this evening show. See what life was like in the region during the Renaissance and under the reign of King François I, including his friendship with Leonardo da Vinci.
July through 19 August
An artificial beach (palm trees, sand and all) is set up along the banks of the River Seine to give locals a chance to escape to the beach, without leaving the city. There is also a boardwalk for cyclists and rollerbladers, a pool, beach volleyball and evening concerts.
July through August
Paris Quartier d’Été
The Paris neighborhoods festival features theater, dance andmusical performances at the Tuileries Gardens, Palais Royal, Arènes de Lutèce, La Villette, banks of the Seine, Buttes-Chaumont Park and more.
July 26 to September 15
Les Fêtes de Nuit
Swan Lake by the English National Ballet, with music by Piotr Illitch Thaikovsky and choreography by Derek Deane after Marius Petipa. July 26, 27 and 28 at 8:30pm
Théatre des Lumières et du Feu by the Groupe F. Held at the Bassin de Neptune, this performance attempts to recreate the King’s festivities, complete with fireworks. August 31 and September 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 9.30pm.
Festival Rock en Seine
This rock festival at the Domaine National in Saint-Cloud features big-names bands and musicians. Artists such as the Pixies and the Foo Fighters have graced the stage in past years.
August in Fayence
This music festival, which boasts street performers and parades, ranges in genre from Brel to Mozart, and jazz to improvisation.
August 4, 11, 18
Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes
Located in the gardens of Versailles, this evening water show is set to music chosen by the Baroque Music Centre of Versailles, and is concluded with a fireworks finale. Parc du Chateau de Versailles:
August 18 to 29
La Chaise-Dieu (Auvergne)
La Chaise-Dieu Festival
Founded in 1966 by Georges Cziffra, this festival is one of the most famous French classical and sacred music festivals. Large orchestral performances take place in an ancient Benedictine abbey with exceptional acoustics. Chamber music concerts usually take place in the Cziffra Hall (quintets, quartets, trios). This year’s themes center on Mozart, unknown Italian baroque composers (Stradella, Scarlatti) and Russian composition from the 20th century (Rachmaninov and Chostakovitch).
August 27 to September 2
Folkloriades Internationales et Fêtes de la Vigne
Participants from around the world flock to this annual folkloric dance and music festival and wine fair.
Piano aux Jacobins
This festival of piano recitals is held at Toulouse’s prestigious 13th century Jacobins Cloisters.
Marathon des Chateaux du Médoc et des Graves
A unique marathon through the Bordeaux/Médoc area and its legendary wine villages, chateaux estates and vineyards the first and last to arrive at the finish line are honored in the same way: instead of a cash prize, they receive their weight in great wines. Music, costumed runners, partying, food and of course wine, are a regular staple.
International Biennal Dance Festival
This festival gathers the world’s finest choreographers in Lyon for 20 days of performances.
American Film Festival
Actors and producers are invited to participate in preview of the year’s best American films. There is a competition to choose the masterpieces of American independent cinema.
September 1 and 2
Grande Braderie de Lille
Every year, during the first weekend in September, the sidewalks of Lille becomes a massive bazaar where locals to buy and sell all manner of second hand goods. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the Grande Braderie is the biggest event in the region, and one that attracts some two million bargain hunters every year. From antique furniture to kitsch ornaments, there is something for everyone. Haggling is de rigueur of course, but even for those just browsing, the party atmosphere is contagious, making this a must see event for.
Journées du patrimoine
Visitors enjoy open houses and free admission to the nation’s historical monuments, including public and private buildings not usually open to the public.