Festivals and Seasonal Events
- Brittany Film Festival of Dinard
Now in its 23rd year, the attractive port of Dinard might seem an odd place to watch British films. But it’s well known for its film festival and its annual Golden Hitchcock Award. the festival takes place in five different venues, with some free films on offer. Expect both classics from Shallow Grave to Billy Elliott to premieres of new films by young film makers. It’s great fun, and you don’t have to have subtitles.
Before the festival starts there are three days of recent British films to enjoy for free.
When October 3rd to 7th, 2012
Where Dinard, north Brittany
More on Brittany
- Brittany's Best Beaches
- Guide to Brittany
This is a, well…fantastic event. Parades, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, theatre, circus, dance, clubs comics and cooking all feature in this 4-month long celebration. You know this will be different when you arrive at Lille train station and there’s a delightful flying saucer hovering above you beaming light down. Go outside and get caught up in a parade to see all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures.
Fantastic Lille takes place both in the lively city and also in various locations around, 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 Area
- Guide to Lille
- La Piscine Museum, Roubaix
- Lille Museum of Contemporary Art
Jazz between the Two Towers, La Rochelle
At the beginning of October, La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast swings along to some great jazz. This year's jazz festival starts with China Moses and Raphael Lemonnier and then has music by the likes of Antoine Hervier, Mestica, Trio Swing, Patrick Artero, Thierry Bouyer and Andrew Davies. Women in Blues Quintet pays homage to Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone and more of the great female singers and players. Rio Jazz do Brazil plays at a dinner concert; there’s a homage to Louis Armstrong, big bands and small duos. Free concerts from young musicians give you the chance to see the stars before they become famous.
When October 6th to 13th, 2012
Where Various locations in La Rochelle, Atlantic Coast
Amiens’ great flea market attracts over 80,000 visitors. The streets in the center of the city fill up early in the morning with over 500 traders and 1,500 private sellers from France as well as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy and Australia. They set out their tempting wares to open at 5am for the truly devoted customers.
When October 7th from 5am to 6.30pm
Where Around Rue du Marche Lanselles, Amiens, Picardy
Amiens Tourist website
Les Orgues International Festival, ToulouseMore on Toulouse
This annual festival shows just how diverse organ music can be. The concerts might take place in some beautiful churches, from the Basilique Saint-Sernin to the unexpected surviving cloisters in the Musee des Augustins as well as the Music Conservatory, but the music is not all classical and conventional. Started in 1996, the festival now offers around 60 events both in Toulouse and the surrounding Midi-Pyrenees region.
There are 3 to 4 concerts a day, ranging from Bach to Berlioz. But also expect the unexpected: the festival begins at 8.30pm on October 10th with Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, transcribed for a four-hand (and feet) recital. It takes all that to interpret the great orchestral work for one organ. There’s jazz, improvised music and dance and choral works, as well as organ music and poetry and organ music and a Whirling Dervish.
When October 9th to 21st, 2012
Where Churches, the cathedral, theatres and concert halls throughout Toulouse, Midi-Pyrenees
Tickets to the Festival
Tourist Office Website
- Guide to Toulouse
- Toulouse Attractions.
Jazz Pulsations, Nancy
The annual jazz festival takes over seven main locations in the city of Nancy in Lorraine. It’s a multi-faceted festival with all kinds of musicians and music. Canned Heat; Band of Gypsies and the National Orchestra of Barbes and Charlie Winston all make an appearance on the main stages. There’s also a program taking music out to many of the surrounding towns and villages with groups that run from Gospel from New Orleans; Mike Bono from Boston to Zydeco from Lousiana.
There are free concerts in public spaces and gardens and parks and jam sessions in bars and brasseries. Rap, R&B, Blues, Afro-beat and folk are all there.
When October 10th to 20th, 2012
Where Nancy and many surrounding villages and towns
National Taste Week
If you’re in France don't miss this glorious, and serious week on food which is celebrated and organised throughout France. Its aims are worthy – to promote French food, to support regional French cooking and showcase chefs. So wherever you are you’ll probably come across all sorts of events, locally arranged, from workshops and tasting session to special restaurant promotions.
The website is in French only and is pretty dense with information, so your best bet is to go to the local tourist office and ask them for details.
When October 15th to 21st, 2012
Where Throughout France
National Taste Week website
Grand Lyon Film Festival
It’s appropriate that this important film festival takes place in the city where the Lumiere brothers made the first films.
It’s an interesting, different week with 200 screenings. Don’t miss the classic silent film evening on October 17th when Lulu will be shown, accompanied by musicians from the National Orchestra of Lyon playing a specially commissioned score. The 1929 German film of Georg Wilhelm Pabst turned Louise Brooks into an international star. The All-Nighter is on October 19th and finishes with complimentary breakfast.
When October 15th to 21st, 2012
Where Lyon, Rhone
Tourcoing Jazz Festival
Tourcoing, a suburb of Lille, has one of the autumn’s best jazz festivals. It takes place in various different venues in and around Tourcoing. Large venues like theaters and small clubs in back streets play host to the stars of the jazz world. Some are full price, but get the program or check at the Tourist Office as many charge just a few euros and some are free. The festival kicks off with Melody Gardot (piano, voice) backed by a violin, saxophone, percussion and drums, guitar, double bass and bass. Her Brazilian/Portuguese mix is superb, taking different cultures and mixing them – jazz, pop, samba and fado. She’s followed by the likes of Roberto Fonseca, Marcus Miller, Jerome Sabbagh Quartet featuring Jozef Dumoulin and Yom and the Wonder Rabbis.
When October 20th to 30th
where Venues throughout Tourcoing from the Municipal Theatre to small clubs and bars
Exhibitions in October 2012
International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire
The International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire is a major event in the gardening calendar. Each year a separate theme is chosen; this year it's Gardens of delight, Gardens of delerium with 24 gardens built around the theme. All of them really do get your imagination going.
When To October 31st
Where Chaumont-sur-Loire, Loire Valley
Read more about the Festival
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.
When To November 11th
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 October 6th, 2012 to January 13th, 2013
Where Palais des Beaux-Arts (Lille Fine Arts Museum), Lille, North France