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Food events, wine events in France – Day-tripper.net the web magazine for visitors to France.
Making a note of festivals and events before you go away can add some value to your break. Here we list as many of those relating to food and wine and music we have come across.
Please check with the local the tourist office for dates and other news.
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A Fête is a festival, usually with eating, drinking, singing, dancing and often performances of some kind. A variations is a fête champêtre – a village festival, or the fête patronale, a celebration of the local Saint's day.
We have a page for Christmas shopping in Calais and the North of France. For local events we suggest you try the local tourist offices web sites.
– FNAC Spectacles, book a ticket for a wide variety of events in France. www.fnacspectacles.com
Wine fairs throughout France. www.vins-de-terroir.com
including markets, fireworks and antique fairs
Dates are in (brackets) where we have them, otherwise they are there to give an indication of when the event will be held
More useful information. www.whatsonwhen.com / www.sitesremarquablesdugout.com / www.slowfood.fr / festivals-de-l-ete.viafrance.com (summer Festivals) / fete-de-la-musique.viafrance.com (Music Festivals)
Marché aux truffes (Truffles). December to March, 1st Tuesday of month in the afternoon. Lalbenque, Lot, Midi-Pyrénées. There is a Truffle festival (Fête) in Lalbenque (late January). In the morning a truffle competition will be held, truffles are on the menu at lunchtime and during the afternoon there is a demonstration of truffle hunting with dogs and pigs. Throughout the day visitors can browse a market of local products and crafts. Hunting "The Black Truffle of Quercy" is possible from December to February and the weekly truffle market is held on Tuesday afternoons from December to mid-March. www.lalbenque.net
Marché aux truffes (Truffles). Annual truffle market at Le Rouret. As well as fresh black truffles from Provencal growers there are a host of stands selling truffle related products, direct from small artisanal producers. Truffle scented oil (drizzle a little on pasta), truffle butter, truffle paste and truffle/balsamic reductions that will lift the most ordinary plate of food. All of which will keep in the fridge for up to a year. And buying from the artisan not only supports this tiny industry but will save you a fortune compared to tracking these products down back home. www.mairie-lerouret.fr
Sounds good – we like the sound of this hotel. www.le-foulon.com
Winter sports. La Grande Odyssée is a sled dog race. It takes place in France (15 resorts), Suisse (4 resorts). At Le Domaine des Portes du Soleil, and at la Vallée de Haute Maurienne Vanoise. It is made up of 5 special "time trial" stages (against the clock) over a distance of 350km with a vertical range of 10 000 m. The first stages: Avoriaz – Avoriaz, Les Gets – Les Gets, Morzine – Champéry via the Col de Cou, Abondance – Abondance, Châtel – Avoriaz. The second part of next year's competition is a long-distance race of 550km in the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise area. www.grandeodyssee.com
Saint Vincent Tournante (January). Burgundy celebrates its scarlet nectar with an annual tasting fair known as the Saint Vincent Tournante. Named after the patron saint of winegrowers, the Saint Vincent fair gets its Tournante (or "turning") adjective from the tradition of changing location each year. Around 16 villages of the Hautes Côtes de Nuits celebrate one of the youngest Burgundy appellations, created in 1961. www.macon-tourism.com
The villages are divided up into four areas and each of those groups of villages will be decorated according to a main theme, one of the fours seasons. Winter: Rulle-Vergy, Messanges, L'Etang-Vergy and Curtil-Vergy. Spring: Chaux, Meuilley, Chevannes and Arcenant. Summer: Marey, Villers-la-Faye, Fussey, Echevronne and Magny-les-Villers. Autumn: Villers-Fontaine, Concoeur et Corboin and Segrois.
This event includes the traditional ceremonies such as the winegrowers' procession, mass celebration, enthroning of the oldest wine producers by the Brotherhood of the Chevaliers du Tastevin and lots of street entertainment. Visitors purchase the Saint Vincent souvenir glass and can then take part in the tasting. www.st-vincent-tournante.fr
Bordeaux (annual). National Antiques Market. Bordeaux-Lac Exhibition Centre.
Percée du Vin Jaune in the Jura (end January, beginning February). In the town of Jaune, the unique nectar of the Jura area in Franche-Comté, is aged in oak barrels for six years, losing 38% of its volume in the process. The "Percée du Vin Jaune" celebrates the breaking of its protective layer of yeast and the bottling of a new vintage. In around 50 cellars, 70 wine producers will welcome visitors for tastings. There will also be an auction of older vintages. Price: 10 euro for entrance (including a tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets). www.percee-du-vin-jaune.com / www.jura-vins.com
VFB Holidays do trips to this event. www.travelzest.com
– Choco Clermont. Three days of animations and events about chocolate.
Toulouse. International Violet Meeting. Toulouse, the "pink city" and world capital of violets (?), invites visitors from around the world to celebrate its favourite flower at the International Violet Meeting.
Transjurassienne, Franche-Comté. This cross country ski marathon takes place in the Jura mountains each February. The main event is the Lamoura-Mouthe Transjurassienne over courses of 50 and 76km, and there is plenty for visitors to enjoy during the weekend. www.transjurassienne.com
Games Festival, Cannes. www.festivaldesjeux-cannes.com
Mandelieu-La Napoule (near Cannes). Mimosa Festival.
Nice – Carnival de Nice. Mid February to ealy March. www.nicecarnaval.com
Cosec Orchid Festival. Tel: 0033 490 91 51 24. Boulevard Alphonse Daudet, Tarascon, France, 13150 Tarascon.
Paris. The Carrousel du Louvre hosts the aromatic Coffee Show, with three days of coffee tastings (from a choice of over 300 blends), along with discussions and demonstrations. Tel: 0033 1 45 03 21 26.
International Agricultural Show February to March. Porte de Versailles, Paris, France. Tel: 0033 1 49 09 60 00.
The Salon de l'Agriculture at the Porte de Versailles is a real institution in France. Various exhibits feature the top models of the animal world, meaty gastronomic delicacies from 22 French regions, leisure, hunting and fishing displays.
Fête du citron (Lemons). Menton, Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur. 75 years old in 2008, this celebration of all things citrus, will see a parade of floats celebrating citrus fruits parade through the streets. A popular festival. www.feteducitron.com
Bayonne. Bayonne Ham Fair. Though less well-known than its rival Parma variety, the local Jambon de Bayonne is a delicious salt-cured piece of charcuterie for which the town remains notorious. The locals use it as an excuse to enjoy themselves at this annual fair, which means that there's plenty of good food and drink on offer, as well as music and dancing. www.bayonne-commerces.com
Black Pudding Fair. Over 50 years old, this Fair is held in Mortagne au Perche, Normandy. Over three days more than 100 exhibitors, traders, artisans and, of course, butchers come together and more than 5 kilometres of black pudding is sold! There are a number of different competitions at stake: the International Best Black Pudding award, the Best Black Pudding Eater award and finally, last but certainly not least, the Pig-squeal prize . . . that's if you're not squealing first!
Coulommiers. Coulommiers Wine and Cheese Fair. Another fine example of quite how seriously the French take their food and drink, this fair celebrates the Coulommiers cheese – which is similar to Camembert. There is also a "brie market" every Sunday in the center of town.
Great Wines Fair, Carrousel du Louvre, 99, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France, 75001. Tel: 0033 1 43 16 47 47.
The Salons des Grands Vins is held every year at the Carrousel du Louvre. Find out about the world's finest wines with a programme of tastings, conferences, exhibitions and demonstrations. Over 100 châteaux are represented, both established names and worthy newcomers.
International Agricultural Show Paris. This show is a real institution in France. Various exhibits feature gastronomic delicacies from 22 French regions. www.salon-agriculture.com
France – Wine Growers Fair. Various locations in France. www.salondesvignerons.com
Lyon, said to be the gastronomy capital of France, has an annual consumer trade show, the Foire de Lyon at the Eurexo centre. Exhibitors display a huge range of items for the home, with many special deals available. www.foiredelyon.com
Lille 3000 is a festival of cultural events focussing on a particular region, held bi-annually. Mid March to Mid July. www.lille3000.com
Bordeaux (annual). Bric-a-Brac Market. Parc des Expositions. The lively Foire à la Brocante (bric-a-brac market) takes place in Bordeaux's vast Parc des Expositions every spring.
Paris half marathon. Starts from the l'Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, the marathon takes in many of the popular sites and famous buildings of the capital. www.parismarathon.com
Spring poetry festival, Paris and across France. Although based out of Paris this celebration of poetry takes place across France, and even further a field. More than 5,000 events including readings, debates and workshops. www.printempsdespoetes.com
– French language week. www.semainelf.culture.fr
La Semaine de la Langue Française is an annual event (DGLFLF). March. The week is used to promote the French language, with local associations organising special events to emphasise the importance of languages. A key part of the festival is the announcement of ten words that, in 2010, they related to the environment, science, imagination and culture; baladeur, cheval de Troie, crescendo, escagasser, galère, mentor, mobile, remue-méninges, variante and zapper. www.dismoidixmots.culture.fr
– Rhone Exhaltation. Wine Festival. Avignon. www.rhone-exaltation.com
Les Vinées tonnerroises, Tonnerre, Burgundy. At Easter every year the Vinées Tonnerroises celebrates wine and winegrowers, mainly from Burgundy, who exhibit a range of regional specialities. There are tastings at the Hôtel Dieu in Tonnerre where inductions of new members from the Confrérie des Foudres Tonnerrois are carried out. www.vineestonnerroises.com
Benediction des chevaux (annual blessing of the horses). Easter Weekend. Cabriès-Calas, Provence. Taking place on the esplanade of the fifth century chapel of Notre-Dame de la Salette atop the Calas hill, the festival features events including the blessing of more than 600 horses, bull races, games, riding exhibitions and a street ball. This event has been held every Easter since 1958 in the small village of Cabriès, ten miles south of Aix-en-Provence. www.cabries.fr
Osenbach, Alsace. The Snail Fair here will delight all who find snails delicious as well as fascinating. After a session tasting snails cooked Alsace-style, you can appreciate their speed in the traditional tiercé (bet on the three winning snails!) on a specially designed race course!
– The Bruges Chocolate Festival. April/May every year, Choco-Laté. www.choco-late.be
– Aux Origines du Gout. Mid April. Montpellier. A "Slow Food" event. www.slowfood.fr
La Fête de la Coquille Saint Jacques, Saint Quay Portrieux, Bretagne. La Fête de la Coquille Saint Jacques allows you to take fishing trips or just feast on a scallop dish. Saint-Quay-Portrieux is an attractive resort on the Cote d'Emeraude (Emerald coast).
- United Kingdom – Rye, in Sussex has a scallops week in February every year. Unlike the Whitstable Oyster Festival, which takes place when local native bivalves are out of season, the Rye Bay Scallop Festival happens when this local delicacy is at its most plump and succulent. From 25th February to 4th March 2012, the mainly restaurant-based event will features cookery schools, cooking and scallop shucking demos. www.ryebayscallops.co.uk
Foire aux anguilles (last Sunday of month). Lac de Grand-Lieu, Pays de la Loire, and Lac de Grand-Lieu, Pays de la Loire.
Fête de l'asperge du Blayais à Etauliers, Haute Gironde. Asparagus. www.cc-estuaire.fr
Fête du Crottin de Chavignol – AOC Goats Cheese (End April) in the Caves de la Mignonne at Sancerre. www.crottindechavignol.com
Fête de Printemps (The Spring Festival). Saint Emilion (33 Gironde, Aquitaine), one of the best appellations for Bordeaux red wines. There is a colourful parade with a band through the town, and opportunities to taste some of the wines at any of the wine shops throughout the town. www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com
– Foire de Paris Covering the three areas of 'Home and the Environment', 'Well-being and Leisure' and 'Cultures of the World', the annual Paris Trade Fair takes place in the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Arena. It is the place to be to learn more about up and coming industry trends in these fields. The fair is open to business people as well as members of the public who come to learn more about the various exhibitors promoting products ranging from wine tourism and spa holidays to the latest innovations in home design. www.foiredeparis.fr
In there are various festivals celebrating the sea. Binic is a beautiful fishing port on the rugged Brittany coastline, where cod plays a major part in the local economy and is celebrated annually. The annual Fête de la Morue is not to be missed. All fishing vessels are scrubbed down and adorned with the brightest of sails and the local fishermen will serenade you with traditional sea shanties, getting you in the maritime mood while delicious cod dishes are cooked at the harbour side.
Normandy Festival of AOC products, Cambremer in Calvados – first weekend of May. The Appellation d'Origine Controllé Festival is a two day event which anyone with a taste of excellent food and top quality products will enjoy. There are traditional markets, tasting and sampling workshops, games for children and cooking demonstrations. www.pays-auge.fr (French)
Lille Festival of Flavours. Visitors can enjoy three days of culinary delights in the centre of Lille during the delicious Festival of Flavours. Local producers offer tastings in confectionery, cheese, beer, coffee and much more.
Lille. Every year. The Golden Ladle. That most soothing of foods, soup, is celebrated at La Louche d'Or in the Wazemmes quarter of Lille, with an annual festival.
Grasse. Fête de la Rose. The town of Grasse in Provence is known chiefly for its perfume industry, celebrated annually during the Rose Festival. www.grasse.fr
Albas (46 Lot, Midi-Pyrenees) Annual Fete du Vin de Cahors. A celebration of the arrival of Spring and the start of the growth of the vine for another vintage. The day includes open tastings, music, a banquet and other attractions such as a barrel-maker (tonnelier). www.feteduvin-cahors.fr
Rablay-sur-Layon (49 Maine-et-Loire, Val de Loire). A free festival of theatre, music and singing. The winegrowers of Rablay play an active part in preparing for the event and organise aperitif concerts and a vintage wine tasting area. www.rablaysurlayon.com
Marseille (13). Foire à l'Aïl et aux Taraïettes (garlic festival)
Strawberry Festival at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne (19 Correze, Limousin). Claims to be at the heart of "Strawberry Country" and hence celebrates its Fete de la Fraise every Spring. There are competitions for the best fruit, a massive strawberry tarte, producer's stalls, music and a parade. www.fetedelafraise-beaulieu.fr / www.beaulieu-sur-dordogne.fr
Grimaud (83). Wool Market (Foire à la laine).
Sedan (08). Medieval Festival. www.medieval-sedan.com
– Throughout France – free, family orientated events celebrating nature. www.onf.fr
– Throughout France – Fête des Voisins (neighbours). www.immeublesenfete.com
Dijon (annual). Salon des Antiquaires. Parc des Expositions. Dijon's largest antiques fair has been running annually for over 30 years at the Parc des Expositions.
Marsannay. "Oenofolies", Wine tasting at Domaine Sylvain Pataille, 5 wines, followed by a gastronomic meal with the wine grower. Information and reservation Tel: 0033 380 52 20 43.
Savigny at Savigny-lès-Beaune (21). www.bienvenue-a-savigny.com
Yonne Burgundy wine and flower market, Chablis (89).
Migé, Coulanges-la-Vineuse and Jussy (89). Wine Cellar Open Day in the Coulangeois vineyards.
Chalon-sur-Saône and a Côte chalonnaise. Hot Air Balloon Festival
Vézelay. Celebration of the 10th Millésime.
Music and Burgundy Wine Grands crus 2007. "Festival du Chablisien" celebration.
Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands Twice a year, May and November. Espace Champerret, Paris. www.salon-saveurs.com
Yonne Burgundy Wine vineyards in the Tonnerrois (89). 4th annual Discovery Rally.
Auxerre (89). "Fleurs de Vignes" Vineyard flowers Grand Festival.
Pauillac, Gironde. Spring Lamb and claret. The wines of the commune of Pauillac AC, a small village and port in the Medoc which also has the distinction of hosting 3 of the 5 "first growths" in the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines. There is a banquet, sheep dog demos, "meet the sheep", sheep shearing, a Spring market, boat trips, an art exhibition and a chance to buy a beret! Lamb is a speciality of the area, as there are marshy areas near the river which are totally unsuitable for vines, but excellent for rearing saltmarsh lamb. www.pauillac-medoc.com
Auxerre (89). "Le Printemps du Crémant" sparkling wine festival.
Saint Romain (21). "Printemps de vignes et villages".
Pailherols, Cantal, Auvergne (15). Celebrate Cantal cheese at this festival. There is a cheese market, where you can try this semi hard cheese from local producers (made from the Salers cows). There will also be a collection of tractors and a cow parade through the village. Other cheeses from this region include St Nectaire, Fourme d'Ambert and Bleu d'Auvergne. www.cantaltourisme.fr / www.auvergne-tourisme.info
Aurillac, Auvergne. Food Lovers Festival. Be prepared to diet before a visit to the Festival International du Casse-Croute et des Goudots, or food lovers festival, also known as the Euroean Taste Festival. The town of Aurillac promises to fulfil all your gluttonous desires. www.iaurillac.com
Bordeaux. Les Epicuriales. Les Epicuriales festival celebrates the flavours and cultures of the world along Bordeaux's leafy Allées de Tourny, with an invitation to some 300,000 people to wine, dine and dance.
Bordeaux. "The Week-end des Grands Amateurs". For its 6th edition (2011), "The Week-end des Grands Amateurs" has changed its name. Now known as "The Week-end des Grands Crus" it is where all Bordeaux wine lovers have a unique opportunity to taste more than 100 remarkable crus on one site, whilst talking with the women and men responsible for these great wines. www.ugcb.net
Terres en Fêtes is an agricultural show for the North of France, held in Arras each year. From the press release; "If you are a gourmet, there is another chance to sample or discover the traditional products of the region, in particular those under the "Saveurs en' Or" and "Saveurs de Picardie" trademarks. Pie dishes, leek cake, Maroilles cheese tarts and Flemish sugar tarts, waffles . . . authentic flavours that will make your day even more enjoyable!". www.terres-en-fete.com
Honfleur (14). Fête des Marins. Traditional Pentecost Festival in Honfleur, a Festival of Seafarers which exists in the town since 1861. Every year this pretty port renews its links with its maritime history and organises the traditional seafarers' pilgrimage. On the Sunday of Pentecost all the local fishing boats are decorated and gathered together in Honfleur's old harbour from where they process out to sea before coming together in a circle in the Seine estuary to receive the priest's blessing. On Monday there is a Pilgrimage in honour of Notre Dame de Grâce. Honfleur Tourist Officer – Tel: 0033 231 89 23 30. www.ot-honfleur.fr
Samer Strawberry festival. www.ville-samer.fr
Chantilly, Northern France (every two years). International Fireworks Competition. A spectacular competition that takes place in the grounds of Chantilly's Château. Nations compete from all over the world, in this world class event. Competitors vye for the much coveted ‘bouquet d'or’ prize. The tradition of fireworks displays dates back to 1672 when France's Dauphin (heir to the throne) was welcomed at Chantilly. Gates are opened at 8.00pm for the 9.30pm start of the display. www.nuitsdefeu.com (French).
The concept of "Fooding" was created 7 years ago by two French gastronomic journalists, Alexandre Cammas and Emmanuel Rubin. Their aim was to modernise the perception of French cuisine by giving it a new image through organizing big events open to all. 4 big events take place in summer in 4 cities, Toulouse, Paris, Marseille, Lyon (2007).
The best chefs from the French regions will organise big picnics which will be very festive events with DJ music, good wine, barbecues and will take place in the town centre on large areas covered with grass. The cost is 5£ per person which will be given to the Association "Action Contre la Faim" (charity fighting against hunger). www.lefooding.com (in French only)
Bordeaux Wine Festival (late June/early July). Held over a period of four days, where Bordeaux celebrates its wines and the wines of Aquitaine. You can buy a "Tasting Pass" for the full duration of the festival (you get a glass and a book of 11 vouchers to be exchanged against free tasting sessions on some stands). It also allows you to visit wine workshops, shows, a giant picnic on the quaysides and a firework display over the Garonne river (last day of the festival). www.bordeaux-fete-le-vin.com
Nuits Lumiere (Illuminated nights) Bourges, Cher (18). From May until September the medieval part of the town is lit up with a sound and light show. Just follow the suggested walk and take it all in. www.bourges-tourisme.com
Wimereux, Boulogne – Fête de la Moule Seafood Festival, Festival. Mussels.
Picardy. 1st Sunday of every July. There is the Red Fruit Fair in Noyon in the Picardy region. Since the 10th century this has been the centre of the red fruit trade in France. You'll find plenty of goodies to sample and take away including fresh fruit jams, syrups, coulis and compotes that will leave you licking your lips for more. A prize is awarded for the best display of fruit which ensures this day is a very colourful one.
– Rouen, Normandy. Every five years, next one in 2013. Sailing ships from all over the world gather in Rouen for the biggest international nautical event. www.armada.org
Fête de la Framboise (Raspberry Festival). July 11th each year, the tiny village of Concèze in France holds a Fête de la Framboise (Raspberry Festival). Every year the villagers come together to worship the fruit that has been growing there since the mid 1950's. You'll be amazed at the delicious products that can be made out of such a simple home-grown fruit. Visitors can lunch on raspberry inspired dishes including granitas, wines, champagne cocktails, veal, duck and snails cooked in raspberry vinegar, sweet liqueurs, tarts, coulis and terrines whilst enjoying the traditional street entertainment and the picturesque scenery – the perfect recipe for a summer's day!
Fete de la Rose, annual. Doué la Fontaine (49 Maine-et-Loire), near Angers. The Rose Garden of France. Apparently this is the largest rose growing area in the whole of Europe. www.journeesdelarose.com
Livarot Cheese Fair (14) (Foire aux Fromages). In the heart of Normandy's dairy region, Livarot hosts a festival devoted to cheese, including a competition to find whoever can swallow the most at one sitting. The Pays d'Auge is the centre of Normandy's food-producing area. At the heart of Camembert country, Livarot also produces its own eponymous cheese and hosts the Cheese Museum. This fair includes the best in the way of local creamy cheeses as well as selections from further afield. Contact: Livarot Tourist Office – Tel: 00 33 2 31 63 47 39
Cavaillon (84). Melon en fetes – melon festival
Le Touqet (place Quentovic) – annual Fireworks display.
Fete Saint Clair, Banneville-sur-Ajon. The pretty village of Banneville-sur-Ajon in Normandy celebrates the donkey in its annual festival devoted to Saint Clair. The village is known for its Cotentin donkeys, a breed only found in this area. Breeders gather from across Normandy to compare notes and show off their stock.
Toulouse: Bethmale Valley Cheese Festival. Castillon-en-Couseran has a population of less than 500 inhabitants and is nestled comfortably in the Ariège region of the Midi-Pyrenees. In July however this small town comes to life as it rolls out more than 265 different types of cheese with 400 of them on display.
Oyster Festival at Gujan-Mestras. A short drive south-west from Bordeaux is the natural harbour of the Bassin d'Arcachon, home to the Gujan-Mestras Oyster Festival.
Trouville (14). Fête de la Mer et du Maquereau. Every year this Côte Fleurie resort organises a celebration of the sea over a weekend period. On Saturday there is a mackerel festival with tastings and sea shanties. On the Sunday, in memory of fishermen lost at sea, there is a mass in the morning followed by a wreath-laying at sea. In the afternoon, boats give trips out to sea.
– La Maison du Perlé. Currant Festival (around the third weekend in July). Fête de la groseille à Loison-sur-Créqouise. www.perledegroseille.com
Montélimar (Drôme) "Montélimar Couleur Lavande". The 5th edition of this Festival of Lavender and market of local flavours and lavender scents: a whole range of "lavender-based" products! Distilling of both lavender and hybrid lavender will be carried out the traditional way and a procession of floral floats will enliven the Sunday morning on the 22nd of July. New! A real artist's studio profiled against a virtual field of lavender. The biggest lavender party ever! (40.000 visitors). www.montelimar-tourisme.com
Les Gets (Haute-Savoie). "Billes de bois" – Wood festival. Part of the village's identity, wood is given a place of honour every 2 years as part of the "Billes de Bois" wood festival, a festive cultural event that features a wide-scale of entertainment based on mountain forests and wood, including entertainment and workshops for children, events for the public and street shows, art and crafts, wood exhibitions, wood-cutters competition. www.lesgets.com
Boulogne-sur-Mer. Fish Festival (Every 2 years, next one in 2012. Boulogne has long been France's largest fishing port, and this intriguing event commemorates the Route du Poisson which horse-drawn carts and fishmongers used to travel along daily in order to take their fresh fish from Boulogne to Les Halles, the market in Paris. www.tourisme-boulognesurmer.com
Aregno, Corsica. Almond Fair. Tradesmen and visitors alike enjoy the harvest of almonds at this Corsican fair, known locally as La Fête des Amandiers.
August and September – Foire de Chalons, promoting the Champagne-Ardenne region. www.foiredechalons.com
Arleux, Nord / Pas de Calais. Every year. Garlic Fair. Arleux celebrates the pungent bulb with wining, dining and fun in the streets. After a weekend of parades, a flea market and a disco, the festival culminates in the election of the Garlic Queen, who reigns over Arleux for the year.
Andouille Festival – Aire-sur-la-Lys (1st weekend of September).
Creances, Normandy. 2nd Saturday of every August. Carrot Festival. The small town of Creances in Normandy celebrates the apiaceae family – or the humble carrot. The town produces high-quality vegetables, and carrots in particular, and every year the local farming community congregates to celebrate its terroir and the local produce with performances, a market, food stalls and music.
Grasse, Alpes Maritime. Starts 1st Saturday of every August. Fête du Jasmin. Grasse is the centre of France's perfume industry and the birthplace of Chanel No5. Every year the town celebrates the floral base of so many of its perfumes, jasmine.
Lautrec, Tarn. Haute-Garonne 1st Friday of every August. Garlic Festival. This town is proud of its pink garlic (l'ail rose) and celebrates this every year in August with a Festival, market, competitions and music. www.ailrosedelautrec.com
Lautrec also holds an annual Bread and Windmills Festival (Fete des Pains et Saveurs), celebrating the making of bread from milling the wheat in a traditional windmill through to the finished product.
Sault. Lavender Festival. The Provence region wouldn't be the same without the fields of purple lavender, filling the air with their fragrance. Every year in August, the small town of Sault dedicates a day to a celebration of the plant.
Metz. Mirabelle Festival. The Lorraine region celebrates its favourite fruit – a small yellow plum – in Metz.
Morvillars, Franche-Comté. International Beer Festival. There's not just beer on offer during this ten-day event in Morvillars, but also local produce stalls, musicians from Munich, a Sunday parade and, most important, the search for Miss Franche-Comté amongst the Belles de Morvillars.
Villers sur Mer (14). Fête de la Coquille Saint Jacques. Seaside resort on the Côte Fleurie, Villers-sur-Mer annually celebrates the Coquille Saint-Jacques, a regional speciality, and organises a big market selling Coquilles St-Jacques, seafood, local products – all in a festive atmosphere and with a different foreign country invited to participate each year. Villers-sur-MerTourist Office – Tel: 0033 231 87 01 18.
Le Quesnoy, Pas de Calais. Milk Festival. Good breeding is to the fore at the Milk Festival in Le Quesnoy, be it in the bovine category or the female form. The event features over 150 cows of the local Bleue du Nord breed, as well as an election to find "Miss Protein" amid the young ladies present.
Calais. An annual flea market takes place on the first weekend in August (Sunday and Monday).
Agen – (1st Weekend). Plum (Prune) Festival. www.grandpruneaushow.fr
Andouille Festival – Aire-sur-la-Lys, (1st weekend).
Arleux, Nord / Pas de Calais. Garlic Fair. Arleux celebrates the pungent bulb with wining, dining and fun in the streets. After a weekend of parades, a flea market and a disco, the festival culminates in the election of the Garlic Queen, who reigns over Arleux for the year.
Bellegarde-en-Marche, Limousin. 1st Sunday of every September. Brotherhood of Goat Meat Eaters Festival. In the tiny commune of Bellegarde-en-Marche, they've got a bit of a thing about goats. Once a year on the first Sunday of September, the "Brotherhood of Goat Meat Eaters" assembles to induct new members, while the pride of the goat fraternity are paraded through the streets in costume.
– Bruges Beer Festival (September). Now in its fourth year (2010), this festival is organised by "The Bruges Autonomous Beertasters" in co-operation with the municipality of Bruges. A good opportunity to sample some of the country's most popular and most unusual varieties. In 2010 the festival features over 275 beers from 67 breweries across the country and tasting sessions took place throughout the weekend. As well as beer tastings, eight chefs were also on hand to demonstrate the best ways to use beer in cooking. Held in the historic Halle on Markt square. www.brugsbierfestival.be
Meat Festival (Le Festival de la Viande). Pays d'Evron, Mayenne – Loire Valley. Tel: 0033 243 01 63 75. www.cc-pays-evron.fr
Salies-de-Béarn, Aquitaine. Salt Festival. Inspired by finding a wild boar preserved by salt in the Pyrenean foothills, two 11th-century huntsmen founded the small town of Salies-de-Béarn. The salt festival, which commemorates the town's heritage, is its biggest event of the year.
Livarot, Normandy. Livarot Cheese Fair. In the heart of Normandy's dairy region, Livarot hosts a festival devoted to cheese, including a competition to find whoever can swallow the most at one sitting.
Baccarat. Lorraine Pâté Festival. Pâté is the local Lorraine speciality, and a good excuse for the town of Baccarat to live it up for a weekend. The festivities are diverse, from wrestling to a car fair, but the main attractions are the giant pâté competition and eat-as-much-as-you-can contest on Sunday.
Fougerolles, Franche-Comté. Cherry Beignet and Kirsch Fair. Cherry trees proliferate over the western slopes of the Vosges mountains. Every year the village of Fougerolles holds a festival to celebrate the incredibly delicious beignets (fried doughnuts, as any native of New Orleans will tell you) and the kirsch that the fruit produces (with a bit of expert help).
Fashion week for the next Spring / Summer collections (February – Autumn-Winter Collections). www.pretparis.com
Le Quesnoy, Pas de Calais. Milk Festival. Good breeding is to the fore at the Milk Festival in Le Quesnoy, be it in the bovine category or the female form. The event features over 150 cows of the local Bleue du Nord breed, as well as an election to find "Miss Protein" amid the young ladies present.
Nieulle Festival, Armentières. The Nieulle is a tiny cake and for one weekend cake rules this town. Catch yourself a cake or two as thousands are thrown from floats and church towers to celebrate the reign of the town's new Queen.
Celebrate the tomato at this annual festival, held in the grounds of the Château de la Bourdaisière every September. Tel: 0033 247 45 16 31. Château de La Bourdaisière, 37270. Montlouis.
Festival International de la Gastronomie. Mougins, Provence. Taste to your hearts content. www.lesetoilesdemougins.com
Nîmes Wine-Harvest Festival. The corridas (bull running) and the wine festival in Nîmes are renowned throughout the country. Deeply influenced by all things Iberian, the city holds numerous bullfights and bull runs to get your pulse racing. This is all in the name of the grape harvest, so naturally there's plenty to drink, along with delicious tapas.
Arles (13). Fetes des Prémices du Riz (Rice festival).
Mouriès (13). Fête des Olives; Fête de l'Huile Nouvelle (the new olive oil). Fête des Olives Vertes (green-olives festival)
Held every three years the World Festival of Puppet Theatres takes over the Ardennes capital of Charleville-Mézières, and turns it into a daily – and nightly – spectacle. This is the largest event of its kind. The next festival is in 2012. www.festival-marionnette.com
Fête de la Beurière (Fishermen), Boulogne sur Mer. Revival of traditional seafarers crafts with events and entertainment.
End of September (Normandy) – Regional Nature Reserves Festival. Great country meeting in the 5 parks of the region: traditional games, a variety of shows, local crafts. Espace naturel Région al du Nord. Tel: 0033 320 60 69 34.
Lille. On the first weekend of September, the town becomes a huge flea market. Anyone can set up a stall, selling antiques to bric-a-brac.
Bordeaux (annual). Bordeaux's Grand Déballage de Brocante takes place on the Place Saint-Michel, near to the quayside and Saint-Michel Church.
Brussels, Weekend de la Biere, a large event attended by most Belgian beer makers. Open to the public. www.weekenddelabiere.be
Worth a browse – – 151 Reasons to visit Brussels. www.brussels151.com
Poperinge Hop Festival. Every three years, the next one is in 2011. Poperinge is the hop capital of Belgium. During the festival, you can visit a hop farm and see harvesting methods old and new. www.poperinge.be
Supermarket Wine fairs (Foire au Vin). These are usually held towards the end of September and run on into October. This is a good chance to buy reasonable wine at good prices.
Fetes de la Gastronomie (22Nd September 2012). An initiative from the French Government. "A time for people to get together, for French chefs and French citizens to go out into the street, with their dishes and saucepans, their produce and menus, or just with their knives and forks!". www.fete-gastronomie.fr
– Relais de Silence Hotels are hosting many events around the Fetes de la Gastronomie (Visit the gardens, harvest gourmet seasonal products in the area, Explanations on crops and local foods such as mushrooms, saffron and other local specialties, Participation in the harvest, visiting vineyards and cellars, wine tasting, Visit to farmers' markets, Cooking classes.). www.relaisdusilence.com
Event – Tous au Restaurant. Third annual event from 17th to 23rd September 2012. Described as a "week to discover the best restaurants in France". To encourage visitors to visit participating restaurants, they say "your guest is our guest (buy one get one free)". Online bookings start 5th September. www.tousaurestaurant.com
– Cuisine en Fete, celebrating home cooking is now in its 10th year (2012). There are cooking classes, demonstrations, workshops and competitions. www.cuisinesenfete.com
– Nord / Pas de Calais events. www.cuisinesenfete.com
All France. Tasting Week – La Semaine du Goût brings a mass of foody events to the whole of France, from degustations (tastings) to cooking workshops, demonstrations and gourmet exhibitions. www.legout.com
Tasting Week is about real food and is celebrated in France's key towns and gastronomic regions.
During this gastronomic event, top chefs and cooks, farmers, writers and restaurateurs work together to bring good taste, and the rich French gastronomic tradition, to the French public all over the country. There are lots of foody events, from dégustations (tastings) to cooking workshops, demonstrations and gourmet exhibitions.
Children feature highly during this event. A team of some 3500 chefs is sent to French schools to initiate children into delicious and healthy cooking. 400 restaurants also offer reduced price menus for students and special childrens' menus are served.
Another initiative is entitled "des repas entre voisins" (meals with neighbours). Each household cooks a meal and places a table outside in the street, for everyone to discover the joys of home cooking and local dishes.
Each region celebrates the joys of local produce and recipes with markets, cooking demonstrations, workshops and festivals.
Fromagerie Jousseaume (Goats cheese). Festival des Fromages, Place de la mairie à Meulan. www.goat-and-cheese.com
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Diksmuide Beer Festival, near Ostend. It's open every Saturday evening throughout the Month.
Honfleur, Normandy. Shrimp Festival (Fête de la crevette). One of the few remaining old-style ports in Normandy, Honfleur celebrates its lifeline with a large shrimp festival. Of course, there'll be plenty of the little things available to eat, but who's going to peel them all? The organisers have cunningly arranged a shrimp-peeling competition, so that visitors don't have to get their hands dirty. Honfleur Tourist Office – Tel: 0033 231 89 23 30
Limoges, Limousin. Frairie des Petits Ventres. This ancient food fair, dating back to 930AD, sees the butchers of Limoges taking to the streets to show off their speciality meats in the Rue de la Boucherie (Butcher Street) during a day-long market.
Mourjou, Auvergne. Chestnut Festival. The inhabitants of Mourjou en Chataigneraie, who claim that their little village is chestnut central, celebrate their chestnut heritage at this annual festival.
Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, Aveyron. Chestnut and Cider Festival. Why mourn the passing of summer when autumn can be this good? If you're a fan of rustling leaves and falling fruit, visit the charming town of Sauveterre. The central square (Place aux Arcades) here is studded with huge chestnut trees, whose grilled nuts (as well as the produce of the area) are consumed over the course of this festival.
Steenvoorde. Houblon (hops) Fair. The end of the houblon harvest is celebrated in the north of France and in the Flandre region of Belgium. Steenvorde hosts a fair with a parade, activities and tasting sessions of the local drink. The end of the houblon harvest is celebrated in the north of France and in the Flandre region of Belgium. Steenvorde hosts a fair with a parade, activities and tasting sessions of the local drink.
Vimoutiers, Normandy. Starts 3rd Saturday of every October. Apple Fair. Vimoutiers pays homage to the apple during this tasty weekend. Over 15,000 visitors flock to munch apples and glug cider. Meanwhile, the locals compete to win the Most Beautiful Apple and Most Delicious Cider competitions. Each year, a theatrical "scene" is made entirely from apples.
Nuits Saint Georges Wine Festival. Coup d'Oeil. Every year the Hospices of Nuits -Saint-Georges hold a charity wine auction (Enchères des Vins des Hospices de Nuits -Saint-Georges), at the end of March. This event is marked by the organisation of an exhibition/tasting of many hundreds of wines from all over Burgundy. A good opportunity to taste the wines of participating vineyards. Just buy a glass for 3 euro. www.nuits-saint-georges.com / www.ot-nuits-st-georges.fr
Dijon. Flea Market. Early October (annual). Parc des Expositions.
Lyon (annual). Red Carpet Antiques Festival. Rue Auguste Compte. On the first Thursday of every October, a huge (2500 square-metre) red carpet is flung down on the rue Auguste Compte in the heart of Lyon's antiques quarter.
– Salon del Gusto, Turin. Italy. Huge event, with a vast range of interesting foods on dislay for tasting and buying, from Italy mostly, but from many other countries as well. www.salonedelgusto.com
– Salon du Chocolat. Now in its 16th year (2010). Paris end October, early November. www.salonduchocolat.fr
– La Grande fete du Chocolate (Usually held in October – no event in 2009). In many towns in France chocolatiers particpate with a series of events. www.lagrandefeteduchocolat.fr
– October every year, Choco-Late. The Maastricht Chocolate Festival (October). www.choco-late.be
– Vignerons Independents. Regular wine events (Salons des Vins) held throughout France for independent wine makers (mostly in October and November each year) and open to the public for a small charge. The French independent wine grower; Vinifies his own wine, bottles it on site in his cellar, is responsible for commercialising his range, hosts wine tastings and welcomes enthusiasts to his vineyard. www.vigneron-independant.com
Rennes (35 Ile-et-Villaine, Bretagne). Lyon (69 Rhône, Rhône-Alpes)
Reims (51 Marne, Champagne-Ardenne). Lille (59 Nord, Nord Pas-de- Calais). Paris (Porte de Versailles)
Beaujeu en Ligne, Burgundy. 3rd Wednesday of every November. The small town of Beaujeu hosts a party known as Les Sarmentelles. At midnight on the third Wednesday of November they open huge barrels of Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujeu) ***
Les 3 Glorieuses, Beaune (Burgundy) (13th to 17th November). The oldest traditional wine auction starts this year with a street festival in Beaune and an open house wine tasting and finishes on the Sunday with the world famous auction in the Hospices de Beaune. For the sportiest tourists a half-marathon race is organised on the Saturday afternoon in the vineyards surrounding Beaune. If you want to enjoy the pleasure of this atmosphere for one more day, on the Monday Meursault organises the "Paulée" – a `Winegrowers' banquet to celebrate the end of the grape-harvest. www.beaune-burgundy.com / www.ot-meursault.fr
17th November 2011. First Beaujolais Nouveau. The first wine of the year is released, to great fanfare, at midnight on the third Wednesday of November in the capital of Beaujolais territory, Beaujeu en Ligne.
Entrevaux, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Every 2 years. Mushroom Days. Mushroom-lovers converge on Entrevaux in October. Guided picking excursions and seminars are on offer for visitors regardless of levels of knowledge – whether you are a mycological novice or a confirmed expert, you will be welcome.
(In English) www.rogersmushrooms.com
Étaples, Boulogne. Fête du Hareng (Herring). Étaples celebrates the herring. Fishermen and cooks dressed in local costume serve the fish, available smoked or grilled. Packed with protein and goodness, they are extremely filling, so you'd do well to pace yourself.
– Cantillon, Belgium. The brewery opens to the public when you can watch the beer brewing process in action. www.cantillon.be
Fetes de la Pommes (Potato). Gonnehem. Tel: 0033 321 54 60 70. www.cc-artois-lys.fr
La Rochelle. Gastronomic Fair. The Parc des Expositions in La Rochelle hosts this annual Foire de Gastronomie. More than 60 vendors from all over the country bring their regional products to sell. Expect top quality wines, foie gras, duck, truffles, chestnuts, chocolate and more.
Le Havre, Normandy. Rural and Organic Food Festival. Local foods and specialities are on display to buy and taste at Le Havre's annual Salon Qualité de la Vie et Terroirs, held at the Docks Café.
Lieurey, Normandy. Herring Fair. Lieurey is famous for its annual Herring Fair, an event celebrated on 11 November, St Martin's Day. This tradition started during the Hundred Years War and the siege of Orleans, when carts loaded with herrings from the port of Pont-Audemer were stopped at Lieurey because of a snowstorm. To avoid the loss of the fish, they were sold on the spot.
Past and present vegetables. Domaine de Saint-Jean de Beauregard. Saint Jean de Beauregard, France, 91940. Tel: 0033 1 60 12 00 01.
The Flame of Armagnac. November to February. Various towns (weekends only). The harvest is complete, and across three French departments – The Landes, Gers and Lot-et-Garonne – distillation takes place. This is the best time to visit Armagnac producers, many of whom open up their cellars to explain how Armagnac is made, offer tastings, and celebrate this age-old tipple (which predates Cognac) with sporting, cultural and gastronomic events.
Carpentras Truffle Market. From November to March. Friday only. Carpentras holds an exciting truffle market on a Friday in which the rich, aromatic tubers are sold for astonishingly high prices by those with a stomach for the finer things in life.
Foire des rois (Brive Foie Gras Market). November to March (4 times). Brive-la-Gaillarde, Limousin. Held on a Saturday morning once a month. www.brive-tourisme.com
First Sunday of every month – Apples are on order at the St. Opportune la Mare's market in Normandy. Held on the first Sunday of every month the market offers local produce of everything appley, and a little bit more. From cider to pies this really is indulgence at it's finest – even the fussiest of eaters will find some delight to sample.
Le Creuset Factory sale – annual. Usually takes place around the third weekend of the month (November).
La Rochelle (annual). Antiques Fair. The Parc des Expos in La Rochelle hosts this annual Antiques Fair (Salon des Antiquaires), at which more than 100 dealers from all over the country are joined by over 100 brocanteurs.
Toulouse (annual). Toulouse Antiques Fair. Parc des Expositions. One of the top antiques fairs in France returns. Every November, 300 of the best dealers in the country descend upon the lovely southern city of Toulouse and its Parc des Expositions.
St Julia du Gras Capou, Haute-Garonne. Capon Fair. The village of Saint-Julien de Gras Capou has always been associated with capons (very fat chickens), which are reared there. Once a year, the fattened birds are sold at a traditional village market, just in time for Christmas dinner.
Roubaix Braderie de l'Art. First weekend of December. Everything sold here has to be made from recycled materials.
Hesdin – (annual). Weekend of tripe and pork. Fêtes artisanales et gastonomiques. This 450 year old event centres around tripe and pork meats. Restaurants and brasseries in Hesdin all particpate. www.tourisme7vallees.com
Bourg en Bress (Ain). Celebrate the famous yellow corn-fed chickens from Bourg en Bresse. The Glorieuses de Bresse is held every December before Christmas. There is a market as well as other festivities in Bourg-en-Bresse, and the neighbouring towns ofLouhans, Pont de Vaux and Montrevel-en-Bresse. www.glorieusesdebresse.com
About the chickens – www.pouletdebresse.fr
Licques Turkey Festival – The Knights of the Order of the Turkey parade their produce through the village on the last Sunday before Xmas. This town is legendary for its turkeys. www.licques-volailles.fr
Aix-en-Provence. New Oil and Truffle Fair. What more delectable fare could you think of to celebrate at Christmas than olive oil and fresh truffles? The first pressing of the year's olives provides a sought-after virgin oil, which is sold alongside local truffles at this fair in Aix-en-Provence's Place de la Rotonde. Producers from all over the province exhibit their wares.
from Sitesremarquablesdugout.com (it is not clear if these events occur annually)
March – 3rd weekend. Foire au boudin (Black pudding), Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandie.
March – Around Easter. "Nos restaurateurs nous font un bœuf (Beef)", marché de l'Aumaillerie, Fougères. Bretagne.
April (17 and 18th) – Salon de la Gastronomie Ostréicole. Bouzigues, Languedoc-Roussillon.
April (3rd weekend) – Foire de Beaucroissant. Rhône-Alpes (also mid September).
June – Fête de Kougelhopf. Ribeauvillé, Alsace.
June (3rd Sunday) – Marché sur l'eau (Water). Amiens, Picardie.
Summer – Four fairs volailles (Poultry). Challans, Pays de la Loire
2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesday ever month, and 3rd August. Veal market. Objat – Limousin.
August – Fête du Charolais. Saulieu, Bourgogne.
August (2nd weekend) – Garlic fair. Billom, Auvergne.
August (last Sunday) – Sugar fair. Pays d'Erstein, Alsace.
August (2nd Sunday) – Concours de bovins (Cattle) de boucherie au marché aux bovins – Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais, Bourgogne.
August (1st Friday) – Pink garlic fair. Lautrec, Midi-Pyrénées.
August (15th) – Onion Fair. Thairé, Poitou-Charentes.
August (29th) – Onion Fair. Tournon, Rhône-Alpes
September (2nd weekend) – Grand fair, millénaire de la Sainte-Croix – Lessay – Normandie
September (2nd Sunday) – Plum fair. Saint-Aubin, Aquitaine.
September (last Saturday) – Chop (côtelettes) Fair. Luz-Saint-Sauveur, in the Villeneuvois.
Twice in winter – le marché au gras (Fat) et aux volailles (Poultry) de Sarlat, Aquitaine.
January (3rd Sunday) – Messe des truffes (Truffles). Richerenches, Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur.
3e lundi de février – Foire de l'andouille (Sausage). Val d'Ajol, Lorraine.
Février – Fête du citron (Lemons). Menton, Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur.