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What’s on in France - May 2019

Our pick of what to do, where to go and what to see in France. This month, a mix of sport, glamour, art and more...

FISE Xperience, Canet-en-Roussillon, May 18 – 19

The FISE Xperience festival of wheeled freestylers will stop in Pyrénées-Orientales as part of its 2019 French tour.

It is free and offers spectacular shows over two days as riders on skateboards, scooters, rollers and BMX bikes compete to win an invite for the FISE world tour in 2020.

Taking place 12kms from Perpignan, it provides youngsters with a great opportunity to discover more about riding sports – there will be various demonstrations for both amateurs and beginners, alongside activities and trial experiences for children.

The festival takes place at the Théâtre de la Mer near the beach at Canet-en-Roussillon, a popular, family-friendly seaside resort that has 9km of beautiful fine sand.

It will then move on to different cities such as Monteux, Le Havre and Reims.


Forom des langues, Toulouse, May 26

The language forum is organised every year by the association Carrefour Culturel Arnaud-Bernard, which aims to show that all cultures and languages are equal.

For the big day, different stands will be set up on Toulouse’s place du Capitole to encourage people to discover new things about languages.

No language is forgotten – regional dialects are also covered.

There will be games and activities for everyone, while experts and people who participate will be able to debate about the main theme: ‘Does every language have its own vision of the world?’


Fête du Luma, Cluis, May 1 - 5

Luma is the scientific name for a snail (escargot), and in Cluis (Indre) they celebrate these gastropods every year.

For the packed festival, the little commune organises different events day and night on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be parades as well as a fair and a ball.

Snails are obviously the main theme and you will be able to taste them if you go to the festival farmers’ market.


Chefs-d’oeuvre du Guggenheim, Hôtel de Caumont-Centre d’Art, Aix-en-Provence, May 1 - September 29

For the first time, emblematic art pieces from the collection of art dealer Justin K.Thannhauser and other pieces from the Guggenheim museum of New York are being exhibited in Europe.

The exhibition started in Bilbao, Spain but paintings, photographs and books from the collection of Justin Thannhauser are at Aix-en-Provence’s art centre for the next few months.

Although the exhibition focuses on Mr Thannhauser’s collection and his influence on art, other pieces from Van Gogh, Picasso and Manet are exhibited.


Les Grands Jeux Romains, Nîmes, May 3 - 5

About 500 performers from France, Italy, Croatia and Germany will gather to offer a spectacular show in the famous Roman amphitheatre of Nîmes.

The show, which will last an hour and half, will transport viewers back to European Antiquity as Romans, emperors and horsemen put on a show with gladiator fights, races and horse acrobatics. This year the theme of the show is barbaric kings.

During the weekend, there will also be events in the city centre of Nîmes with different guided tours, parades and activities for children.


Jazz in Arles festival, Arles, May 9 - 18

The 24th festival of Jazz in Arles is, as it is every year, expected to be full of surprises when new musicians share the stage with well-known jazz figures in the majestic Chapelle du Méjan.

Free concerts, exhibitions, readings and meetings will take place during ten days dedicated to jazz lovers.

Pianists, trumpeters and guitarists will perform several shows every day before the finale show on the last day, when different jazz groups will perform.


Cannes Film Festival, Cannes,  May 14 - 25

May is the month for cinema and glamour in Cannes, as professionals from the cinema industry plus A-list actors flock to the Riviera to promote movies.

A panel of professionals, with Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu heading the jury, rewards the best films in competition.

The festival, now in its 72nd year, is best known for its emblematic red carpet where celebrities put their best foot forward in front of the world’s media on the glitzy Croisette.


Internationaux de Strasbourg féminin, Strasbourg, May 18 - 25

This international women’s tennis competition is seen as the perfect warm-up for Roland Garros, which starts the day after. It is also the biggest sporting event of the year in Grand Est.

  Great players such as Amélie Mauresmo and Caroline Wozniacki have played here while previous winners include Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova.

Different activities take place around the tennis courts such as games, a chance to meet with the players, and children’s activities. Tennis fans can even get the chance to play against one the top players.


Le Grand Prix de France Moto, Le Mans, May 17 - 19

This prestigious motorbike race has taken place on the Bugatti circuit of Le Mans since 2000.

For three days, thousands of visitors come to enjoy not simply the on-track action but also its wide array of accompanying events. There will be two concerts on Friday and Saturday night, before the last day of the race on Sunday.  

There will also be a parade of bikes and the chance to meet some of the riders on the Friday and Saturday.


Marathon du Mont Saint-Michel, Mont Saint-Michel, May 25 - 26

Every year 5,000 runners from around France and beyond gather at the iconic Mont-Saint-Michel for the 26-mile race.

The action starts in Cancale and you have to go through several villages before arriving at the finish line near the river Couesnon, just at the bottom of the famous tidal island with its abbey.  

Four different races can be entered: one for children (le marathon des loustics), one only for women (la malouine), one for beginners (10kms), and a relay race for two people.  

Supporters can also enjoy the marathon from the beautiful setting of the island itself, where a small ‘village’ with different stands is set up for the occasion.


Vitiloire, Tours, May 25 - 26

The festival of Tours celebrates wine and highlights the traditional gastronomy of the Val-de-Loire region.

Several chefs and artisans are on hand to share their best recipes and encourage  you to taste to traditional products such as foie gras, cheese and sweets.

Wine tasting will be mandatory for those with designated drivers!


Les Nuits Sonores, Lyon, May 28 - June 2

The popular music festival offers a range of live shows in several emblematic places in Lyon (museums, theatres, town hall...).

The festival mixes urban culture, electronic music and visual arts – as well as a concerts held every night there are  art exhibitions and musical ‘apéro’.  

This year British singer James Blake and  Canadian entertainer Chilly Gonzales will take part in the festival alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and Bonobo.     


Festival de la Camargue et du delta du Rhône, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, May 3 - 9

Wild and beautiful, the Camargue region attracts visitors all year long thanks to its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

This cultural heritage will be celebrated for an entire week in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône when several events, including treks and conferences, will take place in the city every day.

This year the festival hopes to raise awareness on climate change and the dangers it presents to the protected region of Camargue.

Around 100 nature excursions will be organised with specialist guides, to help visitors to get to know the wildlife better.

A village for children, which will feature an array of craft activities, will also be set up to help them discover more about the importance of nature.

Also for the first time, an outdoor photography exhibition on animals will take place in Port-Saint-Louis, le Domaine de Méjanes and Pont de Gau.  Four artists will showcase their work, while a photography contest will also be organised with a prize awarded for the best picture of ‘wild nature’.


Grand Prix de Monaco, Monaco, May 23 - 26

Organised since 1929 in the Riviera Principality of Monaco, le Grand Prix de Monaco is well known for being among the longest and hardest contests on the Formula One calendar.

Drivers can reach speeds of over 300kmph on the iconic harbourside track, where 19 narrow turns are waiting for them.

The course is 3km long and circuited 78 times.

Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Graham Hill are among the previous winners and for this 77th edition, Daniel Ricciardo will return to defend the top spot he won in 2018.

Among his opponents will be local Monégasque driver, 21-year-old Charles Leclerc, driving for Scuderia Ferrari.

The first days of the weekend are for practise and qualifying while the main event, in the presence of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, takes place on the Sunday afternoon.

Plenty of festivities and sports activities will take place around the famous port of Monaco, made all the more special as the Grand Prix celebrates its 90th anniversary.


The Connexion works with local tourist offices for the information on this page. Due to possible last-minute changes to programmes and event timing we recommend that you always check with individual organisers before making a trip.

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