November is a good month to visit France and there’s plenty to do. Photography is to the fore, with top exhibitions in Paris and other cities. November celebrates Armistice Day at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the peace treaty was signed ending World War I.
Updated on September 27, 2021
NB. You will have to have the pass sanitaire, or confirmation of your vaccinations against covid-19 for ticketed events or those indoors.
If you are travelling to France, please check the rules under the covid regulations here.
To Nov 1, 2021: Paris Chocolate Fair at Porte de Versailles is just delicious…and surprising. 700 or so chocolatiers, pastry chefs and other professionals set out their wares. It’s totally irresistible, and very expensive. There are tasting sessions and cookery demonstrations, children’s pasty-making workshops and more. But most startling is the fashion show where dresses made of chocolate challenge your ideas of frocks.
To Nov 7, 2021: The International Garden Festival at the beautiful Chaumont-sur-Loire château in the Loire Valley is like the Chelsea Flower Show of France, except that it goes on for just over 7 months. The Château and grounds are lovely and the festival of a series of gardens from international designers always delivers some surprises. This year the theme is spot on: Biomimcry in the Garden. As the Director Chantal Colleu-Dumond says ‘Understanding and imitating living systems and, in particular, natural ecosystems is one of the keys to our future’.
To Nov 11, 2021: Dijon International Gastronomic Fair in Burgundy is a serious event. Plenty of demonstrations, tastings, workshops, stalls and of course a wonderful restaurant. Burgundy is well known for its top foods (Bresse chicken!), so don’t miss this one.
To Dec, 2021: Chartres en lumières sees this wonderful city illuminated for its annual festival of light. It’s nightly so there’s no excuse to miss it. It runs from dusk to 1am.
To Feb 18, 2022: Paris Autumn Festival is a huge arts events, taking in every discipline and taking place in many different venues throughout Paris. Around 50 events give a great introduction to the new and the avant-garde. It was created in 1972 by Michel Guy under the impetus of Georges Pompidou who wanted Paris to become a cultural capital. He succeeded; today around 150,000 people attend one of the events.
Events starting in France in November
November 1, 2021: All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint). It’s a great public holiday in France when many go away for the whole week before shutting up their second homes for the winter. Many shops, banks and businesses are closed. It may not be Halloween as the UK and USA know it, but nonetheless popularity is growing for dressing up, pumpkins and witches. It’s becoming a significant event in France in November. Here’s how the French do Halloween!
Nov 11, 2021: Armistice Day is a public holiday in France. Every village, town and city has parades to honour the L’armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale commemorating the end of World War 1. At exactly 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, Armistice Day, one-minute’s silence is held and France stops as people reflect on the past. Here is where the Armistice was signed, at the Armistice Museum in the forest of Compiegne in Picardy.
Nov 11-14, 2021: Paris Photo in part of the Grand Palais has over 140 galleries from 33 countries showing exceptional works. The largest international photo fair, there are talks and awards for photo books along with interviews and discussions with artists, gallery owners, collectors and the enthusiastic public. Even the catalogue is a work of art. Other galleries and museums in Paris highlight their photographic collections.
Nov 13-14, 2021: The Herring and Coquilles Saint-Jacques Festival in Dieppe is a fabulous (and odorous) celebration of these famous fishes, so necessary to Normandy. Join the 100,000 odd enthusiasts for two days of tasting, discussing the merits of, and enjoying every kind of cured herring and Coquille Saint-Jacques.
Check the website above for other herring festivals in Normandy.
Nov 13-15, 2021: Fotofever in the Carousel du Louvre in Paris showcases contemporary photography and has the aim of turning you into a collector. 900 international photographers with just 30-copy editions in all formats included works under 1,000 euros. A prize is given annually to a young art school graduate.
Nov 18, 2021: At midnight the famous Nouveau Beaujolais is released. The Nouveau Beaujolais est arrive sign appears in restaurants all over the world and though the wine is not the greatest (far too young), it’s a fun evening. The best place to celebrate is Lyon, capital of the Beaujolais region in the Place des Terreaux. Organised by young wine producers, it’s a festival with fireworks, tastings, street theatre and more. All the local bouchons (restaurant in Lyon) offer special menus. The celebrations run over 5 days throughout the country. It’s one of the major global celebrations of events in November in France.
If you’re not in France, you can officially buy the wine wherever you are at 12.01am on the day of release.
Nov 18-21, 2021: The International Festival of Animal and Nature Photography takes place in Montier-en-Der in Haute Marne, Grand Est, north east France. It’s a must for fans of nature, taking major environmental themes each year. Images are displayed inside and outside and there are talks and video screenings.
Nov 21, 2021: The Beaune Wine Auction is the most famous in the world. Taking place over a weekend, it’s not just the wine auction, conducted by Christie’s that is the attraction. All the major vineyards open their cellars for tastings, and there’s plenty to see and do. You must book tickets in advance.
Nov 27-Dec 12, 2021: Cannes Dance Festival. You might think Cannes is just about film, but Cannes is also known for dance, cemented by the opening of the Rosella Hightower International Dance Centre in 1961 which trains young talent. The annual dance festival is quite superb with an exciting line up of contemporary dancers and spectacle.
Late November–December 31, 2021: Christmas Markets take place all over France. Strasbourg is particularly important; in north France make for Arras. It’s a good way to celebrate events in November in France just in time for Christmas.
More Events in France in 2021
Events in France in January 2021
Events in France in February 2021
Events in France in March 2021
Events in France in April 2021
Events in France in May 2021
Events in France in June 2021
Events in France in July 2021
Events in France in August 2021
Events in France in September 2021
Events in France in October 2021
Events in France in December 2021
More about great Food Festivals in France