Checking out local food festivals in France is a wonderful way to get to know a region.  And there are plenty of them. Here are a few of the large, small and quirky food festivals in France. You’ll come across many more. So please do let me know and I can add your favorites.

At the moment, in March 2020, many of these are in doubt. But France being France, they will do them in 2021 if they have to postpone. And they will follow the same format, tried and tested in many cases over decades.

I hope you enjoy reading about these food festivals in France and that they will give you inspiration to visit as soon as it becomes possible.

January Food Festivals

black slices of truffle on risotto
Truffles on risotto Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Truffe (Truffle Festival) Sarlat-la-Canéda, Périgord. Mid January
The ‘black diamond’ is celebrated in many places but this festival in mid January is well known throughout France. It’s held in the historic, picturesque town of Sarlat-la-Canéda in the heart of the Dordogne. The market takes pride of place, with local producers selling bread, cheese, meat, charcuterie, jams and preserves.
There are truffle identification workshops and truffle-hunting demonstrations for the uninitiated, plus demonstrations and cooking classes from local chefs.
Book at one of the restaurants for croustous, tapas-style snacks of truffle and foie-gras.
Make sure you see the prestigious Jean Rougié Award for truffle-cooking where young chefs from all over France pit their skills.
Fête de la Truffe

February Food Festivals

Rolling vineyards in autumn when the vines turn colour
A Vineyard in Autumn Public domain via Wikimedia

Le Salon des Vignerons et des Terroirs (Wine Growers and Terroir Show), Calais, Pas de Calais. End of Jan-beginning of Feb
Plenty of small vineyards from all over France set up stalls offering excellent wines and gastronomic treats from snails to cheese. It’s in the forum Gambetta. 
Le Salon des Vignerons et des Terroirs

March Food Festivals

Geese herd in middle of street in Sarlat at the Sarlat Goose Festival
Sarlat Goose Festival Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Sarlat Fest’Oie (Foie Gras Festival), Sarlat-la-Canéda, Périgord. First weekend of March
This rich area is famous for foie gras, celebrated in pretty Sarlat on Place de la Liberté on the first weekend in March. Lovers of foie gras can book for the banquet to taste the likes of grillon paté, stew or duck pot-au-feu. Or sample the Périgord Carcass soup made from goose at one of the stalls. There’s a large market to buy products and flocks of geese are ceremoniously, if noisily, guided around the city.
Sarlat Fest’Oie

April Food Festivals

Paimpol fishing port with fishing boats in harbour in foreground and old houses behind and one yacht to left
Paimpol, Brittany Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques (Scallop Festival) Paimpol, Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany. Late April
Scallop fishing is one of Brittany’s great industries. The scallop fishing season in St-Brieuc bay opens in October and ends in April. Even then, fishing is only allowed for 45 minutes twice a week. It protects the species but makes scallops an expensive delicacy. Remember as you taste the delicious shellfish that this is your last chance for the year.
At the festival, you can board a fishing boat and go out to sea to watch how they catch the scallops. You can also take learn-to-dive sessions. On land follow the ‘Knights of the Scallop’ parade then enjoy plenty of street music and entertainment. 
The three fishing ports of Erquy, Saint-Quay-Portrieux and Paimpol take it in turns to host the festival.
Both Brittany and Normandy take pride in their fishing heritage with an abundance of food festivals in France devoted to the sea.
Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques

Audresselles in north France with rocky shoreline on right stretching over to sandy bay and sea dashing on the rocks
Audresselles in north France Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Crabe (Crab Festival), Audresselles, Côte d’Opale, Pas de Calais, Mid April
For ten days each April the small fishing village of Audresselles honours the crab. Crabs and shellfish have provided the living for decades before fishing became industrial and the fishing industry slowed down. But still the fishermen bring back crabs in small fishing boats. The festival has meals, live music which includes old sea shanties, dancing, and excellent freshly cooked crabs served with warm freshly baked bread.
Fête de la Crabe

More Events in April in France

May Food Festivals

vasket of strawberries on pile of straw against green hedge
Strawberries © Dordogne Valley

Fête de la Fraise (Strawberry Festival), Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, Limousin, 2nd Sunday in May
May is the month for sweet, succulent strawberries. 60% of France’s strawberries are grown in the pretty small town of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne. The festival has stalls groaning with the glorious fruit, as well as sweets and cakes made from strawberries. In good French food tradition, a giant 8-metre wide tart filled with 800 kgms of fresh berries holds pride of place, cooked by the bakers and pâtissiers in the town.
Strawberry production became serious here in the 19th century after the vineyards were attacked by pheloxora.
As a piece of fun but fairly useless information, there are 500 varieties of strawberries; each of the around 200 tiny yellow seeds in each individual strawberry is technically an individual fruit in itself.  
Fête de la Fraise

Taste of Paris show with people at stalls in Grand Palais
Taste of Paris Show © Virgile Guinard

Taste of Paris, Grand Palais, Paris. Mid May
Since 2015 the Grand-Palais has hosted the ‘Taste of Paris’ festival. It’s the place for taster-sized signature dishes from the great chefs of France at pop-up restaurants, tasting sessions and free cooking classes.
Taste of Paris

More Events in May in France

June Food Festivals

Touraine-Amboise Vineyards with lush vines taking up half the picture and small stone hut in background
Tourain-Amboise vineyards Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Vitiloire, Tours, Loire Valley. Early June
This free event was started to promote Loire Valley wines. It’s a producers’ and crafts’ village with cookery demonstrations, a market, wine bars, bookshop, walks or cycle rides through the vineyards and dinner parties with dancing. And of course wine producers – over 150 of them.
Vitiloire

More Events in June in France
Events in July in France

August Food Festivals

Beautiful pink garlic head with white and pink clove looking like an Old Master still life
Pink garlic Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de l’ail rose (Pink Garlic Festival), Lautrec, Tarn – Early August
Founded in 1970, the Lautrec festival promotes the wonderful, protected pink garlic bulbs. There’s a market, soup tastings, contests for garlic peeling and plaiting plus a huge feast. And being France, the festival includes music and story-telling.
Lautrec Pink Garlic Festival

More about Lautrec in the Tarn
Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi

Toulouse-Lautrec’s great cookbook

Wicker basket full of bright orange carrots
Basket of carrots Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Carotte (Carrot Festival), Créances, Manche, Normandy. Early August
A festival of the normally un-feted vegetable, the AOC labelled local carrot, takes place in Créances in Normandy. This is the region that grows the prestigious ‘red label’ variety. There’s a lot of food, music, fireworks and brocante sales.
Fête de la Carotte

Tartiflette baked cheese, potato, onion in a cardboard take away case
Tartiflette Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête du Reblochon et de l’Artisanat (Festival of Reblochon and Crafts), La Clusaz, Haute-Savoie. Mid-August
For a true taste of tartiflette, the dish from Savoy made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions, go for this festival. There are cheese-making demonstrations, street parades and folk dancing. And of course, tastings and a giant tartiflette.
Fête du Reblochon et de l’Artisanat

Looking up branches of a mirabelle tree with sky background
Mirabelle plums © Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fêtes de la Mirabelle, Metz, Moselle – Mid-August
Try those gorgeous mirabelle plums at this festival. The large market gives you plenty of choice from different growers. There are fireworks, parades and concerts and the crowning of the year’s Mirabelle queen.
Fêtes de la Mirabelle

Close-up of e ripe purple plums
Ripe Prunes Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Le Pruneau Show d’Agen (Prune show of Agen), Lot et Garonne. End of August
The pretty town celebrates its status as the capital of prunes with an annual event. Taste the first prunes of the season, buy them at the market and enjoy the festivities. Agen makes it an excuse for excellent concerts and show.
Le Pruneau Show d’Agen

More Events in August in France

September Food Festivals

Alain Ducasse in jacket and shirt between 2 young chefs watching them as they prepare food
Alain Ducasse Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Gastronomie (Gastronomy Festival), France. September
Launched in 2011 by the French government and overseen by Alain Ducasse, the gastronomy festival is celebrated throughout France, and also internationally. Restaurants serve a special French meal and there are local events. This year, Centre-Val de Loire is designated as the honoured area. It’s appropriate; it was in Tours in the region that the European Institute of the History and Culture of Food began pushing for the Gastronomy of France to be included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
Fête de la Gastronomie

scallops on sale on market stall
Scallops on sale ©Mary Anne Evans

Fête des coquillages (Scallop Festival), Granville, Normandy. September 26-27
Granville is France’s major shellfish fishing port and it really celebrates its importance on this weekend. Naturally there’s a great market to buy every kind of shellfish, but there’s an educational (and fun) side to the festival as well. There are films, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops devoted to understanding more about the scallop. Great fun.
Fête des coquillages

Restaurant in rue Mouffetard, Paris outside terrace with board at front listing 15 euro menu and tables laid with white cloths, and lots of greenery
Restaurant in Rue Mouffetard, Paris Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Tous au Restaurant, Throughout France. Two weeks at the end of September and beginning of October
Started by Alain Ducasse, it’s a festival to show how diverse and deep the restaurant scene is in France and Belgium. Look out for special menus on a one-plus-one paying basis. It’s the chance to sample some of those high-end places less expensively. But look out for the menus at smaller bistros as well.
Tous au Restaurant

More Events in September in France

October Food Festivals

Honfleur Normandy port with port in forground and yachts at anchor and quayside in background with bright awnings over restaurants in tall building
Honfleur Port Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête de la Crevette (Shrimp Festival), Honfleur, Normandy. Beginning of October
The Shrimp Festival in Honfleur covers more than shrimps; it’s dedicated to fishing and the sea. The main shrimps here are the petite grise variety, little grey shrimps. Old ships fill the harbour, there are concerts, cooking demonstrations and of course a huge fish market selling the treasures of the sea.
Fête de la Crevette

Chef with huge toque in front of tables with kids behind at table height learning how to cook
Lyon Food Festival Kids Class © OT LYon

Lyon Street Food Festival, Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône Alpes. Early October
Lyon regards itself as the most important city in France for food…way better than that place…what’s it called? Ah yes, Paris. When you go there you see why. Its restaurants, particularly the famous bouchons are a revelation. So it’s appropriate for them to hold this festival. Filling the former Fabor Brandt factories in the Gerland it’s full of Michelin-starred chefs and small bouchons serving haute cuisine cooking and bistro-style dishes. Over 100 chefs hold cooking demonstrations; workshops let you try your hand. It goes on til midnight each day and there are evening concerts to keep you entertained.
Lyon Street Food Festival

Close-up of sweet chesnut in broken open casing with two sweet chestnuts inside
Chestnuts Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Foire de la Châtaigne (Chestnut Festival), Mourju, Cantal, Auvergne. 3rd weekend of October
This chestnut fair is one of the best, held in the little village of Mourjou in the Auvergne since 1990. There’s a huge market with stalls selling different foods made with chestnut. You’d be surprised at how versatile the chestnut is, appearing in food from bread to chocolate, as chestnut liquor (of course, this is France), and in jam. During the festival around 4,500 pounds of chestnuts are roasted, washed down with cider. This is the event to stock up with raw chestnuts. It’s one of the smaller food festivals in France, but well worth the detour.
Foire de la Châtaigne

Countryside with fields in foreground, red tiled roofed Normandy farmnouse
Normandy landscape. CDT Calvados

La Fête du Ventre et de la Gastronomie (Festival of the Stomach and Gastronomy), Rouen, Normandy.
The well-named Festival of the Stomach is understandably in Rouen in Normandy, a region well known for its superb food. Rouen fills up with market stalls selling local produce, from oysters to honey, apples (of course) to andouillette. It’s remarkably colourful, with stall holders dressed in traditional Normandy clothes; women wear veiled hats.
La Fête du Ventre et de la Gastronomie

azay-le-Rideau kitchens with bunch of flowers in front and old fashioned wooden shelves and pegs with gleaming copper pots and pans
Azay-le-Rideau Kitchens © Mary Anne Evans

Foire aux Pommes (Apple Festival), Azay-le-Rideau, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley. Late October
Azay-le-Rideau is a lovely little town with a château that is one of the great treasures of the Loire Valley. Combine a visit there with their Apple Fair, one of the smaller but delightfu food festivals in France. Who could have known there were so many apple varieties in France? The fair has stalls selling all those varieties, cider-making demonstrations, music and of course a grand feast.
La Foire aux Pommes

Peppers drying in Bayonne hanging from the ceiling of a restaurant with chalked blackboard menu at front
Peppers drying in Bayonne Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fête du Piment d’Espelette (Espelette Chili Festival), Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Late October
This Basque village in south west France is the home of spicy dried red peppers. There’s even a brotherhood, the Confrérie du Piment who of course take pride of place in the pepper procession. Chilli peppers first appeared in 1650 when a Basque navigator in Christopher Columbus’ ship brought them back. Harvested in August, the peppers are then hung inside and outside the houses to dry. You get a real flavour of Basque country here with music, dancing, peppers galore and games of pelota.
Fête du Piment d’Espelette

Vineyard near Chablis from one bank of the river Yonne looking over to vienyards on gently sloping hill
Vineyard near Chablis Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

La Fête des Vins (Wine Festival), Chablis, Burgundy. October 24, 25
There are so many wine, as well as food festivals at this time of year that I haven’t tried to cover them. I am including this one as most people know Chablis and it’s in Burgundy, well known for its wines. Apologies to the other regions and festivals! Around 40 producers from Chablis and the Grand Auxerrois region set out their posh wares, offering tastings from different appellations and vintages. There are stands run by local food producers, organised walks in the vineyards and more events. It has one special ceremony: the baptizing of the new vintage by a godmother and godfather.
La Fête des Vins

Stall selling shellfish with shellfish in plastic boxes and two people serving
Coquille Festival, Villers © OT Villers

La Fête des coquilles Saint-Jacques et les fruits de mer (Scallop and Seafish Festival), Villers-sur-Mer, Normandy. Oct 24-25
Another fishing village celebrates scallops and seafood in typical Normandy generous fashion. Two days of a great market, demonstrations, local specialties, a themed craft village, parades in the streets and of course, lots of entertainment.
La Fête des coquilles Saint-Jacques et les fruits de mer

Paris chocolate show with model in dress made of chocolate
Paris Salon du Chocolat ©Julien Millet

Paris Chocolate Fair, Porte de Versailles, Paris. Oct 30-Nov 3
Food festivals in France don’t get much more self-indulgent that this one in Paris where 700 of those masters of fine chocolate, pâtissiers and professionals show off their best. It’s extraordinary to see what can be done with chocolate (watch the fashion show to be amazed). Tasting sessions are popular, naturally; there are cooking demonstrations, children’s workshops and of course chocolates to taste and buy.
Paris Chocolate Fair

More Events in October in France

November Food Festivals

Seafood platter with lobster, crabs, lemon, seaweed and oysters on metal plate on wooden table
Seafood platter © Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Le Goût du Large (Taste of the Sea), Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, Normandy. Nov 7, 8
Food festival fans love this one; it’s a great seafood festival with the professional fish market open to the general public. There are special scallop and seafood recipes devised by the fishermen’s wives to try, guides explaining how scallops are fished, and fascinating demonstrations of how fishing net menders go about their skilled task. Another delight is the festival of European maritime songs and old sailing boats in the harbour.
An interesting aside about Port-en-Bessin-Huppain. It was the actual linkup point between the American and British forces on June 7, 1944.
Le Goût du Large

Cote du Rhone vineyards Montmirail long view with mountains in background, green and yellow fields and vines in front
Côte-du-Rhône vineyards Montmirail Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Millévin, Avignon, Provence. Nov 19
Avignon hosts the celebration of the new vintage of Côtes-du-Rhône valley wines. Good food like aligot, oysters and cheeses accompanies excellent wine from around 30 winemakers. And this being a serious business, there’s a parade of Brotherhoods through the centre of this magnificent city.
Millévin

Dijon market covered 19th century steel and glass building with food stalls
Dijon Market © Alain Doire; Burgundy Tourism

Foire Internationale et gastronomique de Dijon (International Gastronomic Fair), Dijon, Burgundy. End Oct to Nov (2 weeks)
This is a thoroughly serious event and the one to go to if you’re anything of a gourmet. Great stalls, demonstrations, tastings, workshops and a restaurant.
Foire Internationale et gastronomique de Dijon

More Events in November in France

December Food Festivals

epernay Festivities in December with lit up figures in white in the streets
Epernay Festivities. Michel Jolyot

Les Habits de Lumière (Clothes of Light), Épernay, Champagne. Dec 13-15
This pre-Christmas, thoroughly enjoyable celebration of Champagne in the second of the region’s great bubbly centres (after Reims) takes over the city. Lights twinkle and glow in the streets and Champagne houses, there’s a parade, fireworks, music and dancing, cellar tours, cookery demonstrations and lots of bubbly tasting. Don’t miss the vintage car parade on Sunday.  
If you’re in Reims, consider a visit to one of the great Champagne houses in Reims.
Les Habits de Lumière

Bocognano, Corsica. Long view with snow covered mountains in the background and the small town in a valley below surrounded by trees. Red rooves and old houses
Bocognano, Corsica Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fiera di a Castagna (Chestnut Fair), Bocognano, Corsica. Mid-December
The Chestnut Fair in Corsica includes all the local specialties grown and produced in Corsica. Taste and buy cheeses, olive oil, honey, wine and more. In fact all the goodies grown and produced in Corsica. There’s music, crafts and more. And of course, there are those chestnuts.
Fiera di a Castagna

And then there’s Christmas! No food festivals, but a cornucopia of ingredients in the big supermarkets to assemble that Christmas Eve feast.

More Events in December in France
Christmas Markets offer local specialties

More about French Food

Discover the best Regional Food of France
The Art of Cuisine – Toulouse-Lautrec’s cookery book
Food Of Provence
Food in Burgundy