Festivals and Seasonal Events
- Andros Ice Driving Trophy
The world’s premier ice driving championship is exciting to watch. It takes place at ski resorts throughout France, with star drivers coming to compete in the dangerous conditions. Companies like Skoda, Renault, Dacia and BMW are involved, with cars driven by the likes of F1 World Champions Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve, and Olivier Panis, the 1996 Monaco GP winner. There are two races on each weekend from December 8th, 2012 to February 16th, 2013 when the winner is declared.
Venues and dates
Val Thorens, Savoie, December 8th and 9th 2012
Andorra, December 14th and 15th
Alpe d’Huez, Isere, December 21st and 22nd
- Lyon Festival of Light
This is the time of year when Europe flocks to the famous Festival of Light in Lyon. The city is magically illuminated, but often not as you would expect. The city becomes a stage set, a place of weird images and strange perspectives.The festival dates back to December 8th, 1852, when the good residents of Lyon put candles on their windows and balconies to mark the installation of a new golden statue of the Virgin Mary on the Fourviere hill that dominates the city. There are different routes you can follow, with different themes from a family walk to one around the main buildings of the city.
When December 6th to 9th, 2012
Where Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
Map of Illuminated Sites in Lyon
Lyon Tourist Office
More about Lyon
- Christmas Lights in France France sparkles like a huge Christmas tree throughout December with the light displays that transform many of the major cities. The French are extremely good both at lighting and at light installations, and you'll see some spectacular sights.
More on Christmas Lights in France
- Christmas Markets
France is a great place for Christmas markets. Some start in the last week in November; others wait until December. From large cities like Lille and Strasbourg, to small towns like Castres in the Tarn and Le Puy-en-Velay, the streets sparkle with lights and stalls line the squares selling one-off wooden toys, local produce, sweets, food, gingerbread, Christmas decorations and more.
More on Christmas markets
More on other cities with Christmas Markets
- New Year in France
New Year's Eve, December 31st, is big news in France and you need to book a restaurant way in advance, particularly in the big cities. All restaurants, even the smallest ones in little villages, will serve a special menu, often very expensive ones. But dining on New Year’s Eve is a big public event, with everybody joining in the celebrations.
New Year in Paris & France
Exhibitions in December 2012
This is literally a fantastic event. It's all happening in Lille with parades, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, theatre, circus, dance, clubs comics and cooking all featuring in this 4-month long celebration. You get the idea as soon as you arrive at Lille train station and there’s a delightful flying saucer hovering above you beaming light down.
Fantastic Lille takes place both in the lively city and also in various locations just outside the center, such as La Piscine in Roubaix and at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
When October 6th, 2012 to January 13, 2013
Where Throughout Lille and the surrounding towns and region
Fantastic Festival website
More on the Lille Area
- Guide to Lille
- La Piscine Museum, Roubaix
- Lille Museum of Contemporary Art
- Roulez Carosses (Carriages)
Arras is a lovely town and this exhibition of ornate and beautiful royal carriages has rolled into town to lodge itself in the old arcades of the Saint-Vaast Abbey. It’s the first exhibition in France devoted to carriages; all of these come from the Chateau in Versailles. Many have historical references, like the carriage that took Napoleon Bonaparte to his marriage to Josephine. Beside the gilded carriages, there are paintings, sculptures, sleighs, sedanchairs and horsetack.
When To November 10th, 2013
Where Saint-Vaast Abbey, Arras
More about Arras
While Rene Lalique might be a household name, the same cannot be said for his daughter, Suzanne Lalique. Or not until now when an exhibition at the Lalique Museum has brought her considerable talents to major public view. An artist in glass and porcelain (not surprisingly), she was equally at home with textiles, theater costumes, set designs and paintings. Various institutions, from the Cité de la Céramique in Sèvres, the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts and the Comédie Française to the Limoges Fine Arts Museum have loaned pieces as well as the Lalique family and private collectors.
Where Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder, Alsace
Read more about the Museum
Read more about the Exhibition
Les Fables du Paysage Flamand au XVI Siecle (The stories in 16th-century Flemish Painting)
This major international exhibition takes all those fantastic and fabulous elements that make the Flemish paintings of the 16th century so enduringly fascinating. The cosmological and extraordinary aspects in the art of Bosch, Brueghel, met de Bles, Bril and Patinir are just as powerful today as they were 500 years ago. The exhibition goes a little way to exploring and explaining the odd world of those Old Masters.
The grotesque, strange paintings fit perfectly with the Lille Fantastic Event (see above).
When To January 13th, 2013
Where Palais des Beaux-Arts (Lille Fine Arts Museum), Lille, North France
- Edward Hoppper Restrospective
The Grand Palais is putting on the first ever retrospective on Edward Hopper (1882-1967) in Paris. It's an amazingly popular exhibition, with major works by the American artists whose iconic paintings were deceptively simple. It's divided into two parts, with the first showing his formative years, including the time he spent in Paris (a year in 1906 then shorter visits in 1909 and 1910). The second section looks at the mature artist.
When To January 28th, 2013 Where Grand Palais, Paris Grand Palais Website