France in August is peak time for vacations as the French go on holiday. But that makes August in France a great month for events. While the seaside resorts and popular destinations like the Loire Valley are busy, you can always find peace and quiet in the deep rural countryside. Try the small villages in the south or take in the views, the air, and the space in the mountains of France.
In particular, August is the month when Brittany comes into its own with so many festivals celebrating Celtic culture.
And don’t miss the many vide-greniers fairs throughout the country in August. Half of France is putting on those brocante ‘open-attic’ fairs; the other half seems to be buying old plates, glasses, wooden furniture, old farm implements and more than you could ever imagine.
Brocante, bric-a-brac, vide-greniers and any old tat sales in France.
Check out these top events in France in August.
Events in France continuing into August, 2022
To Aug 5, 2022: Le Festival du film de Lama, in Corsica takes place in a medieval village. It shows around 20 feature film premières, programs for children, a short film competition and documentary screenings that take the theme of the rural world in France and abroad. The festival is at three different places: the swimming pool (great views of the mountains), Place de l’Umbria and the Mercatu in the village’s centre (cushions and pillows provided).
To Aug 6, 2022: Jazz in Marciac, Gers, Occitanie. This great jazz festival attracts over 200,000 people each year to listen to the likes of Melody Gardot and Jeff Beck, Anthony Strong and the Barcelona Jazz Orchestra, Jamie Cullum, Wynton Marsalis and Gilberto Gil. There’s also a fringe festival on the main square.
To Aug 6, 2022: Chorégies d’Orange Orange, Provence. This, the oldest festival in France started in 1869. Popular operas and classical music performances are held in the magnificent Roman Théâtre Antique, which seats 8,600 people and has superb acoustics. As the sun goes down you’ll be carried away.
To Aug 12, 2022: Festival Saint-Céré, Saint-Céré, Lot. The delightful town hosts a lyric festival with four alternating shows and 40 events performed in the town and throughout the Lot department. The productions then tour France during the following winter. For something special book at Castelnau Bretenoux Castle which hosts La Dame Blanche opera by François-Adrien Boieldieu, created in 1825 inspired by two Walter Scott novels.
From Saint-Céré you can see the towers of the Saint-Laurent-les-Tours castle where the artist Jean Lurçat lived and worked…and during World War II operated a secret radio for the French Resistance. He’s best known as a driving force in the creation of modern French tapestry in the 20th century.
Here’s the Story of Tapestry in France
To Aug 13, 2022: Menton Classical Music Festival, Menton, PACA. Great classical musicians and others less well known, perform in this glorious Mediterranean town. Concerts take place in the Parvis, outside the Basilica of St Michael and on the Promenade du Soleil.
To Aug 20, 2022: International Piano Festival, widely regarded as the most important piano festival in the world takes place in La Roque d’Anthéron, just 25 kms from Aix-en-Provence. Outdoor and indoor concerts.
To Aug 21, 2022: Paris Plage fills up the banks of the Seine with imported sand, parasols, volley ball, kiosks and a beach vibe.
To Sept 7, 2022: Paris Jazz Festival. 31 free concerts spread over weekends attract around 110,000 spectators. It’s held outdoors in the Floral Park in Paris. Some classical music but the focus is on jazz, world music, soul, blues and more.
Quick Guide to Paris
To Sept 11, 2022: Le Voyage à Nantes. Follow the urban trail past more than 100 works of art. Some of the works are odd; others more conventional but all are always interesting. They’re on the streets, in the squares, small streets and in places you don’t expect. The trail, a green line painted on the ground, starts at the former LU factory by the Canal Saint-Félix and takes in the famous Great Elephant, the castle of the Dukes of Brittany and more.
To Sept 25, 2022: Rencontres d’Arles. This large international photo expo is 50 years old. Most of the events take place in the opening week, but exhibits generally remain on view to the end of the show.
To Sept 30, 2022: Visions d’Orient at La Gacilly Photo Festival has been delighting and astonishing visitors to this small town in Morbihan, Brittany since 2004. See hundreds of large format photographs in the parks, green maze, squares and flowery streets of the small town. This year it focuses on the Orient.
To Nov 6, 2022: International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire château in the Loire Valley is equivalent in prestige to the Chelsea Flower Show. The festival shows off a series of gardens from international designers. The theme this year it’s the Ideal Garden which has to be beautiful, good, organic, healing, comforting, innovative, and water and energy efficient all at the same time.
To Jan 14, 2023: Chartres en lumières sees this wonderful city in the Loire Valley illuminated for its annual festival of light. It’s nightly from dusk to 1am so there’s no excuse to miss it.
Events in France starting in August 2022
Aug 5-7, 2022: Font’Arts. Pernes-les-Fontaines, PACA. Free street theatre, juggling and slapstick circus shows in the Provençal village, plus great workshops for children.
Aug 5-7, 2022: Festival du Bout du Monde. The annual festival on the Crozon Peninsula, Finistère, Brittany, attracts the crowds for its music and its setting near the sea. International artists, some well known, some new ones, perform on 3 stages.
Aug 5-14, 2022: Festival Interceltique Lorient. Music and culture from the Morbihan Peninsula in Brittany plus the Celtic people of Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Ireland and northern Spain (Galicia and Asturias). Over 800,000 festival-goers flock here for 4,500 artists, 120 shows, 11 new creations, all performed on 11 stages. Booksellers line the quays along with the Celtic market. There are processions, fest-noz, traditional Breton games, a race and a dinner concert.
Aug 5-8, 2022: Relive the past at the Bridiers Historical Fresco with 400 actors, cavalry, horse-drawn carriages, pyrotechnics and more on the medieval site. They tell the story of over 6,000 years of history from prehistory to 1945. On the gallop through the past you take in Romans, Bacchus, marriages and exiles, Hermione, Lafayette and the US War of Independence, the trenches of 1917 and World War II. It’s a heady mix in the Creuse in Nouvelle-Aquitaine!
Aug 5-9, 2022: Corso of Lavender, Digne-les-Bains, Provence. Day and night parades, fireworks, a funfair on Place du Tampinet, a grand opening and more. It was originally held in 1929 to promote lavender production. Follow the bands through the streets and pick up the cotton bags filled with dried lavender flowers.
Throughout the weekend there are public serenades: bands wander through the streets in the town centre offering musical demonstrations to visitors. Thousands of lavender “purses”, small cotton bags filled with dried flowers, are distributed to spectators. Throughout the corso, the funfair welcomes children and adults on Place du Tampinet.
Aug 9-15, 2022: Confolens Folklore Festival, Confolens, Charente, Occitanie. 150,000 visitors go to the international music and dance festival where performers from all 5 continents put on shows that reflected the culture of the world.
Aug 8, 15, 24, 2022: The Cannes Pyrotechnic Festival has the world’s greatest creators making the show. Fireworks over the sea at Cannes, but not just any old fireworks…
Aug 10-15, 2022: Les Cultures du Monde Festival de Montoire, Montoire-sur-le-Loir. It’s the turn for international amateur artists at the World Culture Festival when 300 of them are invited to perform their dances, songs and world music. Plus courses, exhibitions, traditional meals, crafts, street theatre and more. This year see performers from Galicia, Ireland, Japan, France, Madagascar, Moldavia, Panama, Paraguay, Poland and Ukraine.
Aug 11-15, 2022: Festival des Filets Bleus, Concarneau. One of the biggest of the great traditional festivals in Brittany, it began in 1905. It celebrates all aspects of Celtic traditions from costumes and those great headdresses to music and dance, from sea shanties to nautical jousting. Costumed performers take to the streets and the quaysides; most activities are free.
Aug 11-15, 2022: Feria, Dax, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Dress in red and white and take to the streets to sing and dance with the crowds, and drink copious amounts of alcohol. There are folk music groups, horse shoes, sports events and parades. The bullfighting arenas are open – but host corridas and bloodless bullfights (landaise).
August 15, 2022: Assumption. France takes another public holiday when shops and banks close, but happily not attractions, restaurants and bars.
Public Holidays in France
Aug 21, 2022: Festival de Saint-Loup, Guingamp, Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany. The National Championship of Breton Dance runs from 10am to midnight. Founded in the 19th century, the age-old festival also has the dérobée – a folk dance procession. Also see wrestling, traditional costumes, shows with bagads (regional pipe bands) and fest-noz.
Aug 16-20, 2022: Jazz a Ramatuelle, Var, Provence. From 1986, the festival has concentrated on swing jazz of French and American players. Concerts with new and well-established musicians, plus a famous fringe festival with free concerts. It’s held nightly in Les Jardins du Théâtre.
Aug 17-20, 2022: Aurillac International Street Theatre Festival, Aurillac, Cantal, Auvergne. This is one of the best street theatre festivals in France taking over the whole town. Around 500 troupes from around the world perform outdoors and in the evenings, there’s a big party helped by some pretty wild percussion sounds. There’s also an event before, Les Préalables, where troupes are welcomed in the local communes.
Aug 18-31, 2022: Berlioz Festival, La Côte-Saint-André, Isère, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. One of the biggest classical music festivals in the birthplace of Hector Berlioz. There are around 50 events for the 20,000 spectators mostly in the courtyard of the Louis XI chateau. Also recitals, chamber music and contemporary music in the medieval hall, churches and chapels of the neighbouring communes.
Aug 17-20, 2022: La Route du Rock, Saint-Malo, Brittainy. Beautiful setting and top musicians in Fort Saint-Père in Saint-Père-Marc-en-Poulet, and other venues. There are some pretty diverse groups playing with an emphasis on British bands, from the Irish Fontaines D.C to Yard Act plus others like New Zealander folk diva Aldous Harding.
Aug 17-21, 2022: Le Cabaret Vert, Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes. This unusual, diverse festival takes in a remarkable line-up of musicians from rock to reggae. This year the Pixies and Liam Gallagher perform alongside Madness and a host of rap, electro, grunge/soul artists. And there are recycling workshops, short films, street art and exhibitions. Particular emphasis is on the environment and eco solutions to the world’s problems.
The name Le Cabaret Vert refers to a poem by Arthur Rimbaud, the 19th-century poet who originally came from the town.
Aug 18-23, 2022: Saint-Louis patronal festival, Sète, Hérault, Occitanie. It began in 1666 when the port opened. This is no refined rowing or sailing festival but a full-on battle of water jousts between boats on the royal canal. It’s non-stop eating and drinking in between the sports tournaments and fireworks.
Aug 18-28, 2022: Le Festival de Musique, La Chaise-Dieu, Haute-Loire, Auvergne. This festival is close to my heart; it takes place in a beautiful small town near where I live and you’ll find performances in different villages and towns. It has some of the best classical music you can find and the settings are magical, from the abbey in La Chaise-Dieu where the painted Dance of Death sends shivers down your spine to local medieval churches and the cathedral in Le Puy-en-Velay.
Aug 26-28, 2022: Les Fêtes d’Agen, Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Famous for its prunes, the town puts on a culture and gastronomy festival each year. You can taste the first prunes, buy at the regional gourmet market, enjoy street performances and hear some great music at the concerts.
Aug 27-29, 2021: Rock en Seine, Paris, Île-de-France. The last great rock event to be held in France, this is a real crowd drawer. Over 100,000 gather in Saint-Cloud, on the western outskirts of Paris to hear music on four stages. It’s a wonderful setting in grounds designed by the 17th-century garden designer Le Nôtre for great music at the end of the summer.
If you know of other events you think I should include, please do let me know!
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Events in France in 2022
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Events in France in February 2022
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Events in France in May 2022
Events in France in June 2022
Events in France in July 2022
Events in France in September 2022
Events in France in October 2022
Events in France in November 2022
I will update Events in France in December 2022 very soon.
Events in France in December 2021
Food Festivals in France