April is the perfect month to get out and about, take a well-deserved break and enjoy the spring sunshine in France.
Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art
European Days of Crafts – 22 March – 7 April, a chance for the public to meet artisans as 5000 events take place across France. Workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations of skill plus tours. Get up close to some of the country’s greatest craftsmen and women. www.institut-metiersdart.org/
Chartres en lumières | Light up your Life
April 2023 to January 2024, the city of Chartres (Eure-et-Loire) puts on the most amazing light show with its annual festival of light. Take a guided visit, or simply wander this ancient city on foot. Make sure you visit the famous Cathedral while you’re there (the candle lit tour is unforgettable). www.chartresenlumieres.com/fr/
Paris-Roubaix bike race
This race is known to be one of the most difficult one-day races and is nicknamed the “Hell of the North”. On 8 April 2023, riders must face the daunting cobbled streets of northern France – an integral facet of the legendary, tough race. If you’re watching from Roubaix, don’t miss out on a visit to one of the most beautiful museums in France – La Piscine. Details for the race: www.parisroubaixchallenge.com/en/
April Fool’s Day – | Fishy fun
1st April is called le poisson d’avril in France, April Fool’s Day in English. You’ll see fish-shaped chocolates and pastries in shops across France. It’s traditional to stick paper cut-out fish onto people’s backs and not let them know. The idea is for them to walk around unaware all day, entertaining onlookers. The origins of le poisson d’avril are not clear but it’s believed to go back to a tradition of giving fish as a gift to celebrate the beginning of Easter and the end of Lent.
Easter in France | Channel your inner Willy Wonka
Easter falls in early April 2023 making for a perfect spring break in France for the whole family. Buy a mouth-watering Easter egg at a chocolaterie, a scrumptious cake at a patisserie or join an Easter egg hunt – they take place all over France (check at local tourist offices for details).
On 2 April 2023, 50,000 runners from around the globe will take part in the 26 mile dash through the streets of the world’s favourite capital.
International Kite Festival Berck-sur-Mer | Let’s go fly a kite!
15 – 23 April 2023: A sight that you’ll never forget will greet you as you arrive at the little northern French seaside resort of Berck-sur-Mer (Pas de Calais). For almost 10 days, the sky will be filled with thousands of kites – the biggest and the best in the world as this important international festival takes place on the beaches. This is one for all ages with lots to do and see but – the kites are certainly the stars here! Details: www.cerf-volant-berck.com/
Puy du Fou | Let the Games begin…
Head to the historical theme park Puy du Fou (Vendée) which opens its doors on 8 April 2023. This extraordinary park puts on the most amazing shows from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vikings, immense performances, animatronics that are world famous, period villages, animals and more. www.puydufou.com/en
Bourges Spring Festival, Bourges, Loire Valley
19-23 April 2023: A major music event in France in Bourges which is a truly charming city with an ancient footprint. Details: www.printemps-bourges.com
Nantes Carnival Time
April 2023 – dates TBC: The Nantes carnival is fun and fabulous (Loire-Atlantique). While you’re there, don’t miss a trip to Les Machines de L’Ile – steam punk meets the imagination of the great French writer Jules Verne as a giant elephant roams the streets and rides made from enormous shellfish cause open-mouthed wonderment. www.nantes-tourisme.com
Amiens Rederie | Bargain hunters heaven
La Rederie d’Amiens, Amiens, Picardy 23 April 2023. This event takes place for just 2 days each year – April and October. The second biggest flea market event in France (Lille Braderie in September is the biggest). Thousands flock to the flea market in the shadow of the famous Cathedral of Amiens. It’s a great day out and you may just find the bargain of the year if you go early in the morning! Details: www.somme-tourisme.com
Seafood and eat it…
April 16 20232: La Fête de la Coquille St Jacques, Brittany sees two days of festivities honouring the humble scallop! In April, the ports of Saint-Quay-Portrieux, Loguivy-de-la-mer and Erquy hold a festival in honour of the queen of the sands. Boat rides, concerts, special menus and tastings. Details: www.erquy-tourisme.com
Get out the garden
April 2023: All over France gorgeous gardens will spring into bloom but if you’re seriously into glorious green-fingered beauty head to the International Garden Festival at the Chateau de Chaumont, Loire Valley. Kew Gardens meets Chelsea Flower show with a lot of French flair. Stunning permanent gardens, contemporary art exhibitions, a beautiful, historic chateau and each April, the opening of the International Garden Festival. This year’s theme is “Gardens of Paradise” – heavenly… www.domaine-chaumont.fr/en
Last Weekend of April– La Ferme de la Ferme
More than 600 farms across France will take part in La Ferme de la Ferme. On 28-29 April, 2023 there are open days at Farms everywhere – meet the farmers, find out what goes on, help out and try products! Details: www.defermeenferme.com
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue International Art and Antiques Fair
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Interantional Art and Antiques Fair 7-10 April, 2023. If you love antiques and bric-a-brac, you’ll love this one. In the gorgeous Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Provence, the capital of antiques in the south, hundreds of stalls set up in the sunny streets. Plus there are hundreds more permanent sellers in the town. www.oti-delasorgue.co.uk