Festivals during summer have become ubiquitous in Britain, with a flourishing scene from Glastonbury in Somerset to the Latitude festival in Suffolk, whether there be rain or shine it seems that ‘us Brits’ can’t get enough. In many ways we are catching up with our European cousins who have for centuries used festivals to celebrate culture and preserve their way of life. Whilst it may be easy to identify Britain’s most popular festivals, we are going to turn our attention to France to see what is on offer, just a ‘short hop’ across the Channel.
1. The Cannes Film Festival
If you are able to identify a festival in France, then the Cannes film festival is likely to be it. This annual international film festival is a showcase for new films, culminating in the award for the Palme d’Or, the highest award at the festival. The essence of Cannes is vibrancy, celebrating new ideas through film set against the seductive warmth of late spring in the French Riviera. The lure is strong and attracts some of Hollywood’s most prominent luminaries to a resort that has swapped fishing boats for multi-million pound yachts. Cannes is now synonymous with luxury and has the usual accoutrements to support the jet-set on their annual pilgrimage to what is one of the premier film events of the year.
2. The Avignon Festival (Festival d’Avignon)
The Festival d’Avignon has become France’s most famous arts festival. With its origins going back to 1947 this festival has become the place to be for theatre lovers to enjoy a delightful three week sojourn every July. A focus for contemporary dance as well, Avignon provides an enchanting medieval setting for this prestigious arts and entertainment festival. Indeed, Britain’s return annually in their droves to enjoy the intoxicating mix of theatre, delicious food, great weather and fine wine. Ancient Avignon itself is situated in the south east of France by the Rhone in Provence. This idyllic part of France enjoys a Mediterranean climate and boasts a rich cultural history epitomised by the festival itself. This is a very popular event and we recommend that you get organised and book tickets well in advance.
3. Les Eurockeennes de Belfort (The French Glastonbury)
If music is more your thing, then Eurockeenes may be just the festival for you. With echoes of Glastonbury, this festival embodies rock and Europeanism and hence the name ‘Eurockeenes’. This large music festival is held close to the Swiss border near Belfort in north east France. Steadily growing in popularity over the past decade, Eurockeenes attracts many international artists (this year including The Cure) performing across multiple stages. Indeed, music is intertwined with Belfort which also holds a separate three day music festival in May, with 25) concerts (many free) across multiple locations as part of the Festival International de Musique Universitaire.
Additional French festivals include;
Les Vieilles Charrues (Music)
Angoulême Festival (Comic books)
Festival de la Tomate & des Saveurs (Food)
Have you been to a French festival? Leave a recommendation below!