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15 things to do in April in France

Gothic cathedral of Chartres lit up at night

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

chocolate fish and chocolate bar reads poisson d'avril for April Fools Day in France

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).

Paris Marathon

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!

Beach with hundreds of kites flying of all sizes including giant for a kite festival in northern france

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

Lots of antiques and bric-a-brac at a street market in France

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

Castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire surrounded by beds of pink flowers

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

Antiques outside a shp in the sun in Provence France

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

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