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From bagpipes to bicycles: up and coming arts and culture in France

We look at some of the events and happenings coming up this summer

Le Tour on Netflix is just one of the events coming up this summer Pic: Screenshot, Netflix / Youtub

1. Celtic celebrations 

Credit: Festival Interceltique de Lorient/Flickr

This year’s epic Festival Interceltique de Lorient, the annual celebration of eight Celtic countries’ music and traditions, takes place from August 4 -13 in the Morbihan coastal town. 

The chosen “country of honour” for 2023 is Ireland, with Clannad among the headliners, along with Suzanne Vega and other big names from the folk and pipe worlds. 

The festival’s statistics are impressive: 850,000 festival-goers will attend 300 concerts, with 5,000 artists performing across 12 stages. 

The event, first held in 1971, is made possible thanks to some 1,500 volunteers. 

Expect much bagpiping, parading, flag waving, dancing and serious Breton partying. 

Book tickets here

Read more: Celebrate haggis, whisky, and the Auld Alliance in France

2. Police and thieves 

Fans of gritty French TV policier series (crime dramas), or those perhaps mourning the demise, after eight seasons, of the superb Engrenages (Spiral) will welcome BRI, which has recently aired on Canal+. 

The show follows members of Versailles’ BRI (brigade de recherche et d’intervention, or investigation and intervention unit) that tracks gangs of serious criminals engaged in armed robbery, kidnapping and hostage-taking, as well as terrorists. 

The show differs from Engrenages in that the police officers are much younger and come from more diverse backgrounds, giving it a fresher feel with more contemporary slang dialogue. 

Read more: Make sense of French television’s role in social and cultural life

3. A very tasty exhibition 

Credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France

A wide-ranging exhibition for history-loving gourmands amid the splendid Gothic naves of the Conciergerie in Paris (birthplace, lest we forget, of the restaurant, the baguette and the croissant) runs until July 16, showcasing the role the French capital has played in the development of gastronomy over six centuries. 

Paris, capitale de la gastronomie, du Moyen Âge à nos jours (Paris, Capital of Gastronomy, from the Middle Ages to the present) is curated by François-Régis Gaudry, author and food journalist for France Inter and presenter of the programme Très Très Bon on Paris Première. 

The visitor tour takes in objects, rare documents, original menus, paintings, photos, videos and reconstructions – some loaned from the likes of the Louvre Museum, the BnF, the Carnavalet Museum and Château de Fontainebleau – with subjects ranging from the memorable banquet of Charles V (pictured) when the court still resided in Paris, to the contemporary success of the capital as a culinary hub. More details at 

Read more: What has been voted France’s favourite regional dish?

4. Le Tour gets Netflix treatment 

Sports fans – notably those of the armchair variety – are in for a treat this month with the release on June 8 of Netflix’s big budget documentary series about the Tour de France. 

The eight-part series, called Au coeur du péloton in France and Unchained in English speaking territories, was filmed from March to July 2022 and follows the fortunes of several teams as they prepare for and ride in the world’s most gruelling cycle race. 

Previous Netflix shows that documented Formula One (Drive to Survive) and golf (Full Swing) attracted swathes of new fans to the sports thanks to high production values and dramatic narratives based on inter-team and inter-personal rivalries, as well as casting light on the hitherto secret worlds of elite sport. 

The documentary is released in time to tease fans prior to the 2023 race, which will take place from July 1-23.

Read more: Tour de France 2023 route unveiled: Will it pass near you?

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