Events in France in February 2022 are exciting. And everyone is hoping they will go ahead after two years of uncertainty and disappointments. But please do check the websites if you are planning to go to make sure the event is taking place. The Dunkirk Carnival was cancelled at the last minute because of Covid19 fears.
At least we have St. Valentine’s Day!
To Feb 2, 2022: Rallye de Monte-Carlo Historique in Reims, Champagne, is a great international event. Legendary cars start the race to Monaco in front of the cathedral in Reims at 7pm. At the same time, other cars start from Bad Homburg and Milan taking different routes. Like the Tour de France cycle race, it consists of different stages testing different skills.
The French route runs around Valence, through the Ardeche and over famous passes and cols. Stops are made for lunch at different now legendary places (like Antraigues-sur-Volane where the Jouanny family serves its renowned apple pie to all the crews!)
The final leg takes place during the night starting at 9pm on Feb 1, scheduled to finish around 1:10am on Port Hercule in Monaco on Feb 2. The whole event ends with the Prize Ceremony and Gala Night in the Salles des Etoiles at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club.
The next Rallaye Historique de Monte Carlo will take place from Jan 24 to Feb 1, 2023.
To Feb 5, 2022: The Festival de Court Métrage (International Short Film Festival) started in 1979 at a student film club in Clermont-Ferrand. It’s become the world’s largest short film festival and has become the second biggest film festival in France after Cannes.
As in previous years, please indulge me. I am ruthlessly promoting it as my son starred in a film which was shown here in 2008: Ralph, First Love Hurts. He’s no longer in the acting profession but as a proud mum (with a house in the Auvergne), I am going for it. It was filmed in Marseille and is full of delightful touches.
Here’s the film:
To Feb 8, 2022: Les Soldes d’Hiver. Now is the time to go shopping! The French sale season is the chance for some great bargains. And they are genuine as the January Sales dates are subject to strict law. But please note that Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrenéees-Atlantiques set their own dates. If you’re planning a shopping bonanza in any of these departments, check first.
More about sales and discount shopping in France
To Apr 4, 2022: Limoux Carnival in the Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon has been taking place for over 700 years. Its origins are the stuff of folklore: after a group of local millers finishing paying their taxes to the local monks, they celebrated through the city streets, handing out flour and treats to the locals. Well everything has to start somewhere, so why not? It takes place every weekend.
Events starting in February
Feb 1, 2022: Chinese New Year. The parades that take place, particularly in Paris, home to Europe’s largest Asian community, are usually spectacular. They’re spread out around Paris, so check the website for events where you are.
2022 is the year of the Water Tiger (year 4720 according to the Chinese). Local celebrations begin on Jan 31 but the main parades are a day later.
Feb 3-6, 2022: Bordeaux Show Jumping Contest is a weekend of top class equestrian events featuring international riders. Events include Driving and the Devoucoux Indoor Derby taking the riders over cross-country obstacles in an indoor ring. The World Show Jumping Cup is the major event; the Jumping l’Expo horse-themed general show involving around 100 exhibitors is always exciting.
Feb 4-6, 2022: Salon des Vignerons. Held in Calais (one of my favourite French cities), this is the chance for those in the north of France (not a wine-producing region) to taste great wines from the main areas, from Alsace to Champagne, the Jura to Burgundy. It’s a fun, low-key event with tastings, the chance to talk to wine producers and good food.
Feb 4-6, 2022: La Percée du Vin Jaune takes place in the Jura in a different village each year. In 2022 it’s in Lons-le-Saunier. If you haven’t tasted the famous yellow wine of the region, now’s your chance. It’s a very specific taste, reminding me more of a fortified wine like sherry. There are four appellations: Château-chalon (AOC), Arbois (AOC), l’Étoile (AOC) and Côtes-du-Jura.
Your ticket gives you admission, a tasting glass and ten tasting tickets at any of the cellars that are open. There are brass bands, regional specialities, an exhibition and concerts.
Feb 14th, 2021: St Valentine’s Day. This is as well celebrated in France as elsewhere; after all the country is known as a pretty romantic place. Check for special events where you are.
Strasbourg is planning celebrations with Strasbourg Mon Amour from early February to the day. It showcases how pretty and romantic the city can be with sparkling lights in the streets of half-timbered houses. Events run from pop-up bars to concerts; photo exhibitions to odd tours of the museums. Events take place at the Café des amours on Place Kléber and around town in different venues.
PLEASE NOTE: I cannot get confirmation of the Strasbourg event, so please check the website if you plan to visit.
Roll on the day when we can meet each other, eat chocolate and drink bubbly! In the meantime, plan a visit to a Reims Champagne house.
Feb 11-27, 2022: Nice Carnaval. The theme for 2022 is Roi des Animaux. The Year of the King of the Animals takes over the streets and squares of Nice, the Queen of the Riviera. The Carnival procession and the Battle of the Flowers have to be seen to be believed. Place Masséna is at the heart of the celebrations as extraordinary floats parade past the stands while street art, bands and performances entertain.
Feb 12-27, 2022: The Menton Lemon Festival which began in 1934 is as colourful as ever. Over 300 professionals using 145 tonnes of citrus fruits (yes, that’s right) create extraordinary citrus-themed floats. They parade around the Promenade du Soleil on citrus-themed floats. Dancers and folk groups entertain and throw tons of confetti. The central Biovès Gardens are transformed with temporary sculptures in those bright orange and yellow coloured fruits, some as high as 10 metres. This year will be dramatic; it’s an Opera and Dance theme.
Feb 15, 2022: Dunkirk Carnival. It’s madness in Nord-Pas de Calais as the extraordinary 300-year old party sweeps through the town. It’s to celebrate the boats setting off for voyages lasting months to the rich fishing grounds off Newfoundland and Iceland. It takes place at weekends only with a grand ball on Saturday night and music in the streets on Sunday.
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. Lovely.
PLEASE NOTE: Sadly the Dunkirk Carnival was cancelled on Monday Feb 7, 2022.
Feb 25-27, 2022: Cannes Festival International des Jeux (international Games Festival) began in 1987. Meet game designers, publishing companies and fellow game-players. They’re here for traditional games, classics, board games, videos, simulation games, collectors items and more. Watch the gaming competitions and get your games signed.
Feb 25-Mar 1, 2022: The Granville Festival is, like the one at Dunkirk, all about fish and cod in particular. It began 146 years ago when the local fishermen set off for the Grand Banks fisheries off Newfoundland and partied before they went It’s a great event, rivalling Dunkirk in its exuberance and downright eccentricity. It’s great fun.
Around 40 floats (described as ‘satirical’ which is a good start), 3,000 participants, over 150,000 visitors and tons of confetti help the whole thing along. There are concerts and ad hoc fanfares, a children’s ball, night procession and more.
Feb 26-27, 2022: Bormes-les-Mimosas Flower Procession. The traditional floral procession in the medieval village of Bormes-les-Mimosas with its dozen floats on the last weekend in February is a sight to see. 12 tonnes of branches and 80,000 flowers are woven into the decorations on the floats. A brass band helps it all fly along. There’s a small charge and the festivities go on well into the early hours, ending with the flower battle.
Feb 26-Mar 4, 2022: Porte de Versailles International Agricultural Show is the biggest agricultural event in France. It’s been held since 1964. For anyone interested in agricultural it’s a must with over international 1,000 exhibitors from around the world. They show off 3,000 animals, a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables, as well as agricultural items and more. Four areas take in livestock farming and its related industries; gastronomic products from France and elsewhere; cultivation and the plant industries; and agricultural services and trades.