When it comes to festivals, France knows what it is doing. We go all out, whatever the occasion, with music, food, parades and more. But, there are a lot of festivals in France, ranging from celebrity-studded, glamorous events to religious ceremonies, steeped in tradition.
While all of the festivals have something fun and unique to offer, there are some that really stand out. Here are our suggestions of five of the best French festivals that you really should experience at least once in your lifetime.
Cannes Film Festival
This is an event like no other. This year, the festival will take place from the 8th until the 19th of May. For these 11 days, the entire city of Cannes will be completely transformed. The streets will be filled with celebrities and paparazzi and there is an incredible energy in the air as actors and cinephiles attend screenings from dawn til dusk.
In order to gain access to the screenings and parties of the Cannes Film Festival you need to gain accreditation. Also, be prepared to fork out some money. Part of the fun of being at the festival is indulging in some of the opulent parties on offer!
Bastille Day falls on the 14th of July every year and is a really big deal in France. But, make sure you have the right terminology before you attend. This holiday is only called Bastille Day outside of France – 'le jour de la Bastille' won’t mean anything in France. Instead, call this day either La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze Juillet.
La Fête Nationale is a celebration of a turning point in the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Bastille – a fortress in Paris. The event is commemorated with fireworks and a large military parade.
Rock en Seine
If you are a lover of music then make sure Rock en Seine is on your bucket list. This year the festival will take place from the 24th of August until the 26th. The event takes place at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud in the West of Paris and normally gets around 40,000 attendees on each day.
Former performers at this festival include the XX, the Shins, Cypress Hill, Flume and Franz Ferdinand. We expect the 2018 line-up to be just as impressive as previous years.
It’s not quite Rio, but it’s the next best thing. The Nice Carnival attracts thousands of visitors every year and is one of the most colourful and exciting events to take place in France. During the festival, the streets of Nice are filled with parades featuring extravagant floats accompanied by music and merry-making.
One of the most treasured parts of the carnival is the battle of the flowers, when performers on the floats throw flowers out into the crowds.
The Aurillac Festival
Have you ever heard of Aurillac? The answer is probably no – and it is understandable. Aurillac is a tiny town in the mountains of Auvergne. But, every year, this quiet town explodes with energy as the streets fill up with performers of every kind.
Theatrical troupes, singers, dancers, magicians and more all give it their best in front of hordes of international visitors during this exciting festival. It is roughly the French equivalent of the Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.