Festivals and Seasonal Events
- Habits de Lumiere
Epernay, the capital of Champagne, celebrates three glorious days of events, drinks and food along the famous Avenue de Champagne. There are extraordinary installations in the streets, an exhibition of vintage cars; street theater; son et lumiere; music and fireworks. Each day has different offerings but there is one thing that remains the same. Many of the major Champagne houses along the Avenue de Champagne are open to the public, with Champagne bars, illuminations and tastings.
In 2013, the dates are December 13th to 15th. For more information, check the Habits de Lumiere website.
- 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, 2013
Where Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
More on the Lyon Tourist Office website.
More about Lyon
- Images of Lyon
- Roman Theaters in Lyon
- How to get to Lyon
- St Nicholas' Day in Nancy, Lorraine
Since medieval times, the Fêtes de Saint Nicolas (Saint Nicolas Festivals) have filled the streets of Nancy on the first weekend of December. The fetival celebrates St. Nicolas Day on December 6th when the legend goes, three children got lost…were seized by an evil butcher…and finally rescued by St Nicolas. The celebrations take place in every large town and small village with the children receiving gingerbread and small gifts.
The biggest celebration is in Nancy, the capital of the Dukes of Lorraine, with a weekend of events attended by thousands of people. This year it's on December 7 and 8th. Check out the information on the Nancy Tourism website.
- 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
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 2013Picasso, Léger, Masson: History of a Gallery
The contemporary art museum, LaM, just outside the center of Lille, has an exhibition devoted to the Galerie Louse Leiris whose owner, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler was a particularly discerning collector of modern art. See the works of some of the great master like Picasso.
When September 28th 2013 to January 14th, 2014
Where LaM, Villeneuve d'Ascq
Information on the LaM website
More on the Lille Area
Taking place every two years, the 2013 event lasts from September 12th 2013 to January 5 2014. The multi-cultural event takes place over five different venues, including the old factory, the Sucrerie in the up-and-coming Confluence area.
More on the Biennale website.