For members


11 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring

The days are getting longer and the temperatures are starting to rise, so we've got some ideas for places to visit and things to do in France this spring.

11 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring
The gardens at Giverny re-open to the public in April. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Poetry, culture, art, music, food, wine and some lovely places to visit. There’s something for everyone as France wakes up from winter, and gears up for another busy summer.


Banlieues Bleues – March 24th – April 21st

Miles Davis, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Chuck Berry and John Zorn are among the jazz and blues greats to have played the Banlieues Bleues festival in the past.

Now in its 40th year, this annual event is a series of concerts running over several weeks in the Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Foire au Jambon – April 6th – 9th

Bayonne is more famous for its grand annual festival in July, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. But the earlier-in-the-year Foire au Jambon is centuries older.

The Fêtes de Bayonne was founded in 1932 – the Foire au Jambon in 1462. It celebrates every stage of the creation of the famous hams that proudly bear the Basque town’s name. There’s even an omelette and ham competition…

Festival international du cerf-volant et du vent – April 8th – 10th

Châtelaillon-Plage in the south-west département of Charente-Maritimes is a windswept delight of a beach and every year it hosts a kite and wind festival for three days every April. There’s big kites, little kites, competition kites, fighting kites. Plus, kite surfing and kite-building workshops. Basically, kites plus wind plus sand plus sea equals a whole lotta fun.

Printemps de Bourges – April 18th – 23rd

You know summer’s well and truly on the way when the outdoor music festivals start popping up on the agenda.

Enter the annual, eclectic Printemps de Bourges in the central French town of Bourges, which this year features Bob Sinclair, Jeanne Added, Benjamin Biolay, Izia – and numerous others.

Journées Romaines – May 4th – 8th

If you head down to Nîmes in early May, you may think you’ve also travelled back in time roughly 2,000 years as the town’s famous Roman amphitheatre hosts its annual high-octane historical renactment events.

This year, visitors will experience the greatest battles of the Gallic Wars which pitted Gallic leader Vercingetorix against Julius Caesar. 

Nuit des Musées – May 13th

At the time of publication, France’s Ministry of Culture was still busy collating information on which French museums across are taking part in this year’s Europe-wide Night at the Museum extravaganza. Expect, however, temporary exhibitions, themed guided visits, musical entertainment, lectures, concerts, food tasting, historical reconstructions and re-enactments, and film projections. Check out the website nearer the time for full details. 

Cannes International Film Festival – May 16th – 27th

The 76th film festival opens in the glamorous resort on the south coast of France in mid-May. It is, of course, all about the movies – Swedish director Ruben Östlund heads the jury this year – but it’s also about the glamour … and the star spotting.

And  a few places to visit

But you don’t need to wait for a festival to make a trip, France has a few destinations that are particularly special in the spring.


No one needs an excuse to visit the art-inspiring village of Giverny, Normandy, where father of impressionism Claude Monet lived and painted his glorious works of art for 43 years. The gardens open to visitors from April 1st, so you can wander through the beautiful gardens and maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own masterpieces? Booking in advance is highly recommended, even out of the peak season. 

Western isles

The three islands off France’s west coast – Île de Ré, Île d’Oléron and Île de Noirmoutier – are very popular with French tourists in the summer months, but they’re also great to visit in spring. Slightly less busy, you’ll still find places of places open to sample the islands’ famous seafood and wines, or take a walk or cycle around the coast. All three are accessible by car via bridges or causeways from the mainland.

3 of our favourite French islands


The south-west France historic city is a UNESCO world heritage site and can get very busy in the summer, so why not visit in the spring? Fewer people about means more space in those beautiful winding medieval streets but you’ll still find plenty of bars and restaurants open. The area’s culinary speciality – cassoulet – is best sampled in the cooler temperatures, which is another reason to go now.


In the spring the famous gardens of the former royal chateau are bursting into life, while the palace itself holds a series of cultural events which this spring include performances of the ballet Swan Lake and Purcell opera. From April 1st the musical garden events and ‘music and water’ performances take place outdoor. Full programme here

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Nuit Blanche 2023: What’s on and where to go in Paris

During this year's all-nighter event in Paris there will be film screenings and street art exhibits, as well as free museum entry at some of the capital's best art and culture venues. Here is the schedule for the 'Nuit Blanche'.

Nuit Blanche 2023: What's on and where to go in Paris

The annual Nuit Blanche celebration in Paris will take place on Saturday, June 3rd, and the city has plenty of activities to enjoy all night long.

This year, the event was organised by artistic director Kitty Hartl, who also coordinated the 2022 event. With nearly 200 cultural activities and art exhibits running throughout the night, everyone will be able to find something worth staying up for.

You can find the full agenda HERE.

Artistic exhibits

“Artistic posters for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games” – If you are not available on Saturday the 3rd, you can still see a special Nuit Blanche exhibit on Thursday, June 1st from 3pm until 8pm.

For each Olympic and Paralympic Games, artists are invited to contribute to the collective memory of the event by creating a body of original artwork intended to demonstrate Olympic values, such as inclusivity and innovation. Seven artists were commissioned to come up with Olympic and Paralympic posters, which you will be able to see during the exhibit. The event will be held at the Auai de la Mégisserie in Paris’ 1 arrondissement.

“Nuit Blanche at the Holocaust Memorial” – During Nuit Blanche, the Holocaust (Shoah) Memorial will present works of art related to the Armenian Genocide via the personal story of artist Melik Ohanian in an evening titled “Remember, It was tomorrow”. You can find more information here.

“Breuer.121” – Held at the Hungarian cultural centre, the Institut Liszt Paris, this exhibit will show the works of Marcel Breuer, who graduated from the Bauhaus school in the 1920s, and gained an international reputation for his tubular furniture. On the event of his 120th birthday, the exhibit will show Breuer’s entire body of work and discuss his influence on Hungarian Brutalism. It will run from 7pm until 11pm. More information found here.

“CAPITALE(S), 60 years of urban and street art in Paris” – Nuit Blanche will represent the final day of the “CAPITAL(S)” street art exhibit at Paris’ Hôtel de Ville, which will keep its doors open to the public until midnight during the event. The exhibit shows works from 70 prominent street artists, both French and international. The event will run from 6:30pm until midnight, and though it is free, you will need to reserve a ticket in advance. You can find more information here.


Several museums across the city will offer free entry during Nuit Blanche, and some have special exhibits going on for the night as well.

La Bourse du Commerce – During Nuit Blanche, entry will be free until midnight. There will also be a special event titled “Before the Storm” running from 7pm until midnight at the museum, which will show the works of 15 artists exploring tensions and impacts brought on by climate change. 

Picasso Museum – The Picasso Museum will also open its doors for free, with special events throughout the night. From 9pm until 11pm, there will be a DJ performance by the artist Radio Nova in the courtyard. You can find more information here.

Pompidou Modern Art Museum – The Centre Pompidou will offer immersive installations and performances starting at 6pm at the Piazza in front of the museum. The public will also be granted free entry into Galerie 3, where a light and sound performance by Camille Juthier will take place, as an exploration of the universe.

The Musée d’Orsay – Even though the museum will not allow people to take tours of all its galleries during Nuit Blanche, there will still be an event worth seeing, running from 7pm until 4am – an outdoor showing of the film “Le Fond de la Seine” which gives a portrait of the river using underwater and landscape images to show its history, connection to people and industry and how the water runs out to the ocean.


“The Orchestre Colonne” – one of France’s oldest orchestras, founded in 1873, the Orchestre Colonne will offer a show running from 8pm to 11pm during this year’s Nuit Blanche. The team of over 47 musicians will play Verdi, La Forza del destino (overture) and Brahms’ 2nd symphony. It will be held at 23 quai de Conti, in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. You can find more information HERE.

“Nour Kara & Juliette Capel – Women, Life, Freedom” – this experimental live music show will honour Iranian women’s struggle for freedom. Starring Nour Kara, Iranian electronic music producer, and Juliette Capel, cellist and percussionist, the show will offer a non-classical interpretation of the cello, partnered with electronic and experimental music effects. The event will take place at the Mairie of the 19e arrondissement, going from 9pm until 10:30pm.

“III Julien Signolet & Mathias Durand” – Enjoy an immersive musical experience with live performances by Mathias Durand. This installation will join visual effects, dance and sound. It will take place at the Collège des Bernardins at 20 rue de Poissy, in Paris’ 5th arrondissement, going from 7pm until 2am.

Activities for kids

“109 LOSANGES” – located along the banks of the Seine, the Federico-García-Lorca garden will host several open air art exhibit, with trees and pathways illuminated with lights to create a fun, immersive and colourful experience. It will run from 7pm until 3am, taking place on the Georges-Pompidou pathway in the 4th arrondissement.

“The Europa Experience” – Inspired by the world of gaming, this video event is a collaboration between two artists. In the exhibit, viewers will enjoy a 2D to 3D video as the character walks around video game landscapes and modernist paintings. The event will be held at 28 place de la Madeleine, in the 8th arrondissement. It will run from 7pm until midnight.

“Aiguillage galerie” – From the young comics collective, this multimedia event will allow you to discover comic books, immersive video projections, and fascinating animations. It will be held at 19 rue des Frigos, Building B, in the 13th arrondissement, running from 9pm to 1am.