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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 Winter in France – here’s our pick of some of the best and new events this season…

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, 2022

Children herding turkey in a strange festival, Licques

Fete des Dindes, Licques, Pas-de-Calais | 10-11 December 2022

A truly charming festival where turkeys are celebrated in the little town of Licques (around 30 minutes by car from Calais). There’s a gastronomic fair with wine tasting and food for all your Christmas luxuries and on Sunday morning around 11am, hundreds of turkeys are released to “rampage” through the streets accompanied by local brotherhoods and dignitaries in all their finery! paysdopale-tourisme.fr

Sarlat Truffle Festival, Dordogne | 14-5 January 2023

Indulge in truffle flavoured gourmet specialities at the big and festive truffle market on the  middle weekend of January in the enchanting medieval town of Sarlat. Music, workshops and a festive atmosphere make this a brilliantly fun sarlat-tourisme.com

Comic Festival, Angoulême, Poitou-Charentes | 26-29 January 2023

The 50th edition of 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

Nice Carnival | 10 – 26  February 2023

Nice Carnival is a joyous event! Processions, flower parades and flower battles, rock, pop, fireworks and giants. Blow the winter cobwebs away at one of the most colourful and glamorous of all the French carnivals. nicecarnaval.com

Major exhibitions

William Morris: Art in Everything,  La Piscine Museum, Roubaix, Hauts-de-France until 8 January 2023

The world famous museum La Piscine presents the work of William Morris (1834-1896) for the first time in France. Roubaix-lapiscine.com

New for  2023

The 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance car race will celebrate its 100th anniversary race in Le Mans, 10-11 June 2023.

Tour de France 2023 will take place from 1-23 July starting in Bilbao in Spain and ending as always in the Champs-Elysees, Paris. The riders will pedal right across France from Bordeaux through Limoges, volcanic Puy de Dome, Burgundy and the French Alps.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from 8 September – 28  October 2023. 20 countries will compete in more than 45 matches hosted in nine French cities and venues. The opening match will see the home team “Les Bleus” take on the formidable “All Blacks” of New Zealand at the Stade de France, Paris.

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