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Best winter festivals and events in France

Snow covered houses and boats along the Annecy lake

There’s plenty going on throughout the cold months in France! Wrap up warm and check out our pick of some of the best winter festivals and events in France…

National Events

25 December Christmas Day – National Holiday
1 January New Year’s Day – National Holiday
2 February – La Chandeleur/pancake day
14 February Valentine’s Day

Major Events

View of the Christmas market in Metz, northeaster France

Christmas markets

This year the Christmas markets are back in full swing in France – full of festive, fabulous fun. Be aware that as part of the energy savings plan being encouraged in France Christmas lights are generally going to be turned off earlier than usual for instance in Paris where the Christmas display lights will be switched off at 11.45 pm instead of the usual 2am.

Read our ultimate guide to Christmas in France

Picardy: Parc Asterix theme park | 23 December 2023 – 7 January 2024

Parc Asterix (35km north of Paris) opens from 23 December 2023 – 7 January 2024 and puts on a Christmas show including circus acts, illusion, and Santa’s Village. Find out more: parcasterix.fr/en

Lyon: Festival of Lights | 10-12 December 2023

The people of Lyon will, as they have since 1852, light candles and put them in the windows of their homes and the city puts on a spectacular light show. It all started when the residents of Lyon placed candles in coloured glasses on their windowsills to celebrate the installation of a statue of the Virgin Mary on the Fourvière Hill. fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/en

Sarlat Truffle Festival, Dordogne | 20-21 January 2024

big truffle market tales place mid-January in the enchanting medieval town of Sarlat, Dordogne. Expect to indulge in truffle flavoured gourmet specialities, music and festivities including workshops. And take home a couple of truffles, you can get them at a good price at the market. Details: sarlat-tourisme.com

Comic Festival, Angoulême, Poitou-Charentes | 25-28 January 2024

The Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (Comic Festival) in Angouleme draws huge crowds of fans. Competitions for amateurs and enthusiasts, meet the professionals, watch them work and ask questions. The famous comic museum is an absolutely must see for all fans of the art. bdangouleme.com

Calais Wine and food fair | 2-4 February 2024

Pas de Calais Wine and Food Fair. A weekend extravaganza at the Forum Gambetta. Wine producers from all over France converge to present their wares supported by regional food producers. Get free tickets and a personal tasting glass here: salon-des-vignerons.com

Nice Carnival | 17 Feb-3 Mar, 2024

Processions, flower parades and flower battles, rock, pop, fireworks, and giants. Over a million people flock to Nice to join in the fun heralding the start of spring. One of the most glamorous of all the French carnivals. nicecarnaval.com

Menton Lemon Festival 17 Feb – 3 Mar, 2024

This amazing fruity festival features immense structures built with thousands of lemons and oranges. It’s one of the most popular festivals in the region and attracts many thousands of visitors from all over the world. fete-du-citron.com

Spring starts 20 March, 2024 – don’t miss the spring issue of The Good Life France Magazine – subscribe here for free!

Tour de France 2024 will take place from 29 June to 21 July starting in Forence Italy and ending in Nice! The first time in its history that it will end outside of Paris due to the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games in Paris.

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