What’s on in France - July 2019

Our pick of what to do, where to go and what to see in France. This month,a theatre festival in an iconic city, the Tour de France of course, a frogs' festival and much more….

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Festival d’Avignon, Avignon, July 4 - 23

The popular summer festival was created in 1947, and it has become the annual meeting place for drama lovers, artists, comedians and other performers.

For almost three weeks, the beautiful Provence town comes alive with dramatic performances of all kinds.

Walk around the streets and you will see at least ten different artists trying to promote their show by doing a short street performance.

The full show then takes place in the evening in different venues around town.

It could be in the iconic Palais des Papes but also in a garden or school.

Some shows also take place outside the fortified ramparts of the city, and in the little surrounding communes such as Vedène and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

Dance, photography and painting are other art forms celebrated during the festival.

Among the notable, contemporary art exhibitions will be at the Collection Lambert and Jean Vilar museums.


Festival du lin, Le Bourg-Dun, July 5 - 7

The linen festival in Normandy returns this year with the special theme of passing on knowledge of the linen maker’s art.

The festival takes in the commune of Bourg-Dun but also nine other villages nearby, such as Angiens and St-Pierre-Le-Viger.

There will be thirty exhibitions all around the river Dun, including arts, photography and clothes displays.

It will also be possible to take part in expert-led embroidery and sewing classes.

Guided tours of linen fields will be organised so visitors will be able to learn all the secrets of the fabric, from farm to manufacture.

They can even meet the artisans who work with it.


Rencontres d’Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, July 1 - September 22

This photography festival of international renown celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Exhibitions all over the city of Arles are planned, as well as in other museums around the region.

In Marseille, Avignon, Nîmes and Cavaillon, photographers from around the world leave their snaps on display for almost three months.

There will also be photography courses for those who want to get better with a camera, as well as the chance to buy prints to take home. The city itself also happens to be very easy on the eye!


Carcassonne festival, Aude, July 2 - 31

Historic Carcassonne may not be a very big city, but its music festival always brings a good mixture of artists.

The event is divided in two parts: a festival in, where you need to buy tickets for the shows, and a festival off where everything is free.

There will be concerts, but also comedy shows as well as conferences, movies, opera and dramatic plays.

The Black Eyed Peas, Christine and The Queens, Liam Gallagher and Sting are among the artists set to perform.


Les tombées de la nuit, Rennes, July 3 - 14

Created in 1980, this Ille-et-Vilaine arts festival’s initial aims were to liven up the city centre and showcase young talents from the wider Brittany region.

Music, drama, games, circus acts... anything can happen in the streets, inside a famous building, or even on a roof.

Organisers want to take visitors out of their comfort zone, to excite their curiosity and to make them enjoy funny, original shows.

The bonus is that most of the performances take place outside and are often free.


Festival international d’art lyrique, Aix-en-Provence, July 3 - 22

A festival with a history almost as long as Cannes film festival, but in Aix it is all about lyrical music instead of cinema.

Over a fortnight, a series of high quality concerts will take place in the town’s array of theatres, with shows including Mozart’s Requiem.

Alongside these shows, there will be acclaimed orchestras performing every day from July 7-19.


Tour de France, July 6 - 28

Since 1903, the prestigious Tour de France cycle race has seen riders slog all around France over three weeks.

It has become so popular that people come from everywhere to see the cyclists passing by, along with locals residents and race fans who admire the spectacle.

This year, the tour takes in Toulouse, Nancy and Tignes before the final day procession to Paris to crown the winner.


Francofolies, La Rochelle, July 10 - 14

Held in the shadow of La Rochelle’s port towers, this music festival is one of France’s best-known summer events.

Every year, organisers choose the best trending artists of the year and blend them with classic acts.

This year, Aya Nakamura, Zazie, M and Dutch rockers Hocus Pocus are among those invited to perform on the seven different stages installed in La Rochelle.

The styles of music can vary from one day to another, from one stage to another and from one artist to another as some singers are into hip-hop, others rock’n’roll and others are pure pop artists. In the end, there is something for everyone.


Fête de la cuisse de grenouille, Mauges-sur-Loire, July 13 - 14

Every year, they celebrate frogs over Bastille weekend in Maine-et-Loire.

This 34th edition of the event starts on Saturday night with an orchestral performance and a frogs’ legs tasting.

Sunday sees many frog-themed activities, plus an exhibition, car boot sale and traditional artisanal market. At midday, the organisers offer a lively lunch while a band performs – organisers expect 82,000 frogs’ legs to be consumed!

The event is free and will conclude with an 11pm fireworks spectacular.


Les Fêtes du Grand Fauconnier, Cordes-sur-Ciel, July 13 - 14

This medieval festival was created back in 1971 to honour the fortified hilltop Tarn village of Cordes-sur-Ciel, whose construction began in 1222.

It is an annual tradition to lay on parades and displays that hark back to the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.

Over two days, there will be musicians, knights and troubadours as well as residents dressed up in medieval garb.

Among the acts are The Companions of the Dawn, a ‘medieval-Bolshevik street show’ that combines medieval music, juggling, dancing and interaction with the audience.

Two banquets are organised along a traditional market and kids’ activities.


Nice Jazz Festival, Nice, July 16 - 20

Nice Jazz Festival is one of the oldest jazz festival in Europe. It has evolved over the years to become more contemporary and it has now moved from the old area of Cimiez to the city centre to attract even more people – up to 30,000 every year.

The festival hosts international and national artists with Neneh Cherry, Angèle, Ibrahim Maalouf and The Black Eyed Peas performing.


Festival international des jardins, Chaumont-sur-Loire, until November 3

The international garden festival at the Domaine Chaumont offers a nice break in the heart of rural Loir-et-Cher and is a must-visit for horticulture lovers.

Lasting six months, it sees 30 different contemporary artists exhibit their garden design work in the 32 hectare park around the domaine’s lovely castle.

Mixing art and flowers is at the heart of the festival’s ethos, which focuses on the protection of nature this year. Organisers claim the festival is a ‘laboratory of contemporary creation in gardening’.

Visitors can also pick up tips from several gardening courses – see website.


Rose festival, Doué-la-Fontaine, July 12 - 15

Les journées de la rose – which take place in Maine-et-Loire – is an unusual floral event where artists from eight different countries create rose installations... in the famous troglodyte caves found in the commune of Doué-la-Fontaine.

As per every year since 1990, the artists – who notably come from Italy, Spain, and Japan – battle it out in the event’s international contest by creating giant floral displays with up to 1,000 roses apiece.

This year the competition’s theme is the 1960s and organisers tell us the floral creations will be very original.

Alongside the rose exhibitions, there are also plenty of activities on the floral theme to enjoy, plus a market in the town where dance and music shows take place over the long weekend.

Visitors can also play their part by choosing the most beautiful garden rose, by picking their favourite among all the different ones on display.

However, the prize giving will not take place until November during another floral event in the village, les Pépifolies.


Festival Equestria, Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrénées July 23 - 28

The Equestria festival celebrates horses by turning the Tarbes stud into a magical place, a hub for professionals to meet passionate amateurs via different events over a week.

The stud at Tarbes, which was built in 1806 by Napoleon, will host five night shows with dancers and horses, while guided tours of this historic building will also be organised during the day.

Meanwhile, professionals will offer activities and various horse-based events.

The festival also takes over the town of Tarbes itself. In the city centre, you will be able to have a ride on a horse-drawn carriage and children can enjoy riding ponies, and there will also be an artisanal market.

In total, the organisers have planned 200 hours of shows over six days and expect at least 40,000 visitors.

It is a family event where children and adults alike will be totally carried away by the extraordinary talents of horses.


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.