There are so many great events in France in April 2024. They range from antique fairs to music festivals. Parks and gardens start to blossom and bloom and the wonderful, huge International Flower Festival opens in the Loire Valley at the Château de Chaumont. And Chartres starts the season by lighting up its iconic buildings.

April begins with…

April 1, 2024: April Fool’s Day, known as le poisson d’avril in France. Why fish? The origins of le poisson d’avril are veiled in obscurity like so many traditions, but it’s believed to go back to the practice of giving fish as a gift to celebrate the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter. There’s a tradition of sticking paper cut-out fish onto people’s backs without them knowing so watch your back.

Poisson d'Avril chocolate fish in wrapping with red ribbon for April Fool's day in France
Poisson d’Avril in chocolate © Grey Geezer/CC BY-SA 3.0

To Apr 1, 2024: L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Antiques Fair is one of the great antiques events of Europe and of all the events in France in April, it’s one of my favourites. It takes place in the pretty south of France town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, one of the antique capitals of France. It’s the place for a bargain or a masterpiece depending on your budget.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue antiques market with stalls laid out with goods
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue CC-BY-SA

To Apr 1, 2024: Easter Feria in Arles. This is the first event in the French bullfighting season. There are corridas in the arenas, but there’s much more: bull running (course camarquaise), street events, musical entertainment and abrivados where the bulls are led from the pastures to the arena and back by costumed guardians on horseback.  and more. But if you’re not a fan, keep away.

Arles Easter Feria showing guy on horseback getting horse to kneel
Arles Feria © Wikimedia Commons/Alain Mistral

To Apr 1: The International Kite and Wind Festival takes place in the seaside resort of  Châtelaillon-sur-Plage in Charentes-Maritimes. It’s a spectacular sight as over 800 kites fill the sky. To add to the excitement there are kite-surfing demonstrations, kite creation workshops for children and more.

Chatelaillon Kite festival shows huge kite flying high in sky with others below
Chatelaillon Kite Festival © Salix/CC BY-SA 3.0

To Apr 5, 2024: Banlieues Bleues Festival in Saint Denis, Paris. New jazz musicians from around the world come together in this popular festival. It includes takes place in different venues including Dynamo, the main venue open all year round.

Banlieues Blues Paris events France April 2024 with three dancers and singers on stage with arms raised above heads
Banlieues Blues © Wikimedia Circuito Fora do Eixo/2.0

To Apr 7, 2024Dunkirk Carnival in Nord-Pas de Calais is one of those events when the French appear to go totally bonkers. It’s an extraordinary 300-year old party taking the town over. The carnival celebrates the boats setting off for voyages to the rich fishing grounds off Newfoundland and Iceland – voyages which lasted for months.

Shrove Tuesday is the highlight with musicians dressed as fishermen leading the parades, complete with ‘giants’ and 450 kilos of wrapped, smoked herrings hurled from the balcony of the City Hall. As I wrote, bonkers.

The carnival is mainly at weekends, with some events on a weekday. Check the website.

Full face of lady in Dunkik Carnival with multi coloured hat, costume from shoulder up and face painted white with huge grinning red mouth
Dunkirk Carnival © OT Dunkirk

To Apr 7, 2024: Monte-Carlo Spring Festival is a classical music festival that runs from Thursdays to Sundays over the month. Founded originally by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace in 1970, it features some of the great European orchestras and takes place in different venues in Monte-Carlo. Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Hôtel Hermitage and One Monte-Carlo.

View from above and sideways of theatre stage with performers on it and audience out front at Monte Carlo festival
Monte Carlo Festival

To Sep 22, 2024: Impressionist Destination in Normandy celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Impressionists. Around 150 to 200 events are organised in the main cities celebrating the art: Rouen, Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Giverny, Honfleur, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, Fécamp and Saint Lô and in other smaller towns. The connection between contemporary art and Impressionism is also a theme in the concerts, major Impressionist exhibitions, installations, dance and more, including the exhibition Whistler, the Butterfly Effect at the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum) in Rouen (May 24-Jul 24), and a Gwen John exhibition at the Château-Musée in Dieppe from end June to end September.

Events in France starting in April

Apr 2-7, 2024: Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (European Days of Crafts) throws open galleries, studios and workshops across Europe, with exhibitions, installations, open houses, performances and more. Meet the artists and craftspeople, learn something of their craft and get inspired.

European Craft Days showing man and woman with others behind in front of what looks like white metal cogs and wheels of a giant clock
European Craft Days © Florent Mulot

Apr 5-7, 2024Les Quais du Polar in Lyon sees international names celebrating authors and filmmakers of crime fiction. Around 60,000 fans come for the debates, meetings, readings, signing sessions, concerts, plays and crime film screenings that are chosen by the authors. The free events take place at city hall, the Opera and Palais de la Bourse. It’s one of the biggest crime fiction events in France.

Sylvain Forge at Lyon Crime festival showing her on stage with microphone and woman beside her and shelves of books behind
Sylvain-Forge at Lyon ©-BU-Sciences-Campus-Lyon-La-Doua

Apr 6, 2024: Paris-Roubaix cycle race challenges top riders during the race called the ‘Hell of the North’. It follows a circuitous route over 172 kms. In fact it’s three races so if you’re in the area, check first to make sure you don’t get caught up in it!

Paris-roubaix April cycle race with cyclists racing over cobbled roads and spectators waving flags
Paris-Roubaix Race © Felouch Kotek/CC-BY-SA 4.0

Apr 7, 2024: Paris Marathon is now one of the most important marathons in the world. 40,000 entrants from over 100 countries battle it out over the 42.195 km of this mythical athletics challenge.

Paris Marathon map 2024
Paris Marathon Map 2024

Apr 12-14, 2024: The Paris Book Fair is an important European event taking place in the Grand Palais in the centre of Paris and other venues like the Musée des arts et métiers. Over 1000 publishers and 2,000 authors meet the public at around 500 stands.

Paris Book Fair France events april 2024 with two older men signing books at a tablesigning
Paris Book Fair Signings

Apr 13, 2024-Jan 2025Chartres en lumières (Chartres Illuminated). This was the first city to light up its glorious buildings every night and it’s still one of the best light shows in France. Wander the streets to see monks walking, the theatre resplendent and the cathedral turned into the story of its past.

Chartres Cathedral illuminated at night with bright different colours on twoers and facade
Chartres Cathedral Illuminated © Chartres Tourisme/Groupement Martino

Apr 20-28, 2024: The famous north France International Kite Festival takes over the sandy beaches of Berck-sur-Mer as thousands of extraordinary looking kites take to the skies. If you’re in the UK this is one of the great events in France in April 2024 that is easy and quick to travel to.

Berck-sur-Mer kite festival April 2024 events France showing elaborate sand castle in front and large kite shaped like a colourful fish behind
Berck-sur-Mer Kite Festival

Apr 20-28, 2024: Festival de l’oiseau et de la nature (Bird and Nature Festival). Taking place in the beautiful Somme Bay, this is one to try to see. It attracts families with trips on foot, on horseback, in a carriage, a kayak or boat introducing you to the environment, the birds, seals in the Bay and more. Lots going on plus animal documentaries to watch on screen, exhibitions and more.

Beautiful poster of festival of the bird and nature 2024 in the Somme April events sowing two birds facing each other with words and dates
Festival of the Bird and Nature 2024

Apr 24-28, 2024: Le Printemps de Bourges. Both famous and young up-and-coming musicians come to Bourges for a variety of rock, rap, electro and more concerts. Don’t miss events like films and talks and there are free concerts on outdoor stages and in 20 or so bars. A fringe festival takes over the streets.

Le printemps de Bourges showing stage with two guys, oneplaying guitar onesinging
Le Printemps de Bourges © Cjp

Apr 24-Nov 3, 2024: International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire Château in the Loire Valley is an annual and fabulous, huge Festival, and can claim to be the Chelsea Flower Show of France. The Château and grounds are lovely and the festival of a series of gardens from international designers always delivers some surprises.

Long bed with flowers Chaumont
Chaumont-sur-Loire Garden Festival

Events in France in 2024

Have I missed an event you think I should include? Please do let me know.

Events in France in January 2024
Events in France in February 2024
Events in France in March 2024

Events in France in May 2024

I am updating the events in France in 2024 but have left 2023 as many of France’s major events occur each year, usually at the same time of the month.
Events in France in June 2023
Events in France in July 2023
Events in France in August 2023
Events in France in September 2023
Events in France in October 2023
Events in France in November 2023
Events in France in December 2023

More about great Food Festivals in France
Public holidays in France

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