Events in France in February 2024 show how inventive the French are with their celebrations of the arts, culture, mad and serious festivals. There’s so much more than Valentine’s Day to enjoy.

To Feb 4, 2024: Nantes’ classical music festival La Folle Journée has been held annually since 1995. For five days there are around 250 concerts of fairly short duration (45 minutes) at an affordable price, encouraging those new to classic music.

Folle Journee at Nantes. View from above onto octagonal stage with orchestra on it surrounded on four sides by audience
Folle Journée © perso/Wikimedia

To Feb 6, 2024: Les Soldes d’Hiver. This is the French sale season and the chance for some great bargains. And they are genuine as the January Sales dates are subject to strict law. You will however find that Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrenéees-Atlantiques set their own dates so if you’re planning a shopping bonanza in any of these departments, check first on the government website.
More about sales and discount shopping in France

Front of shop with windows with Soldes signs and two people walking out with red carrier bags, in Paris
Sales in Paris © Paris Tourist Office Amélie Dupont

To Mar 24, 2024: Limoux Carnival in the Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon kicks off the French carnival season in style. For over 700 years it’s been celebrating a group of local millers who, having paid off their taxes to the local monks, roamed through the streets, handing out flour and treats to the locals. And they’ve been doing it ever since. This fabulous costumed event, the longest carnival in the world, takes place every weekend to the end of March.

Here’s the Programme

Blue clown in beautiful costume gesturing to sky and filling whole page
Limoux Carnival wikimedia/tagon/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.

Dunkirk Carnival at night with snow falling, tree to right and many people dressed up carrying lanterns and banners
Dunkirk Carnival © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5

Events in France starting in February 2024

Feb 1-4, 2024: Bordeaux Show Jumping Contest is something every lover of such events should enjoy. Top class equestrian events feature international riders; amateur events give young riders the chance to excel. It starts with top French dressage riders, but also includes a variety of event from driving to jumping over cross-country obstacles, team competitions, poney events and more.  

Bordeaux show jumping final February events France 2024 with bay horse and rider jumping over obstacle in ring
Bordeaux Show Jumping International Final © Artiste Associé

Feb 2-4, 2024: 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 rest of the country. Try wines from Alsace to Champagne, the Jura to Burgundy. It’s a fun, fairly small, low-key event with tastings, the chance to talk to wine producers and good food.

Calais Salon des vignerons with man behind row of bottles and spectator with glass in hand
Calais Salon des Vignerons

Feb 2-10, 2024: The Festival de Court Métrage (International Short Film Festival) started in 1979 at a student film club in Clermont-Ferrand. Today’s it’s the world’s largest short film events. 13 cinemas show films to professionals, amateurs and film lovers. It’s seen the start of many a career for actors, directors, producers and technicians 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), what else can I do? It was filmed in Marseille and is full of delightful touches.

Here’s the film:

Feb 2-4, 2024: Enduropale, Pas de Calais: Wild bike racing on the beaches at Le Touquet, Stella and Merlimont attracts around 150,000 spectators to watch the dare devils race through the sand.

Le Touquet Paris Plage France events 2024 with motorbikes on sandy beach against backdrop of sea and sky
Le Touquet Rally © Wikimedia Commons/Ltqphg4.0

Feb 2-4, 2024: La Percée du Vin Jaune takes place in the Jura in a different village each year. In 2024 it’s in Arbois, capital of the Jura wines, and birthplace of Louis Pasteur. 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.

Percee du Vin Jaune Festival in Jura with 4 men carrying huge wooden barrel through streets France events 2024
Percée du Vin Jaune Festival © Wikimedia Commons/Samedi

Feb 2-18, 2024: Face Cachée (Hidden Paris) is a different way of discovering the capital of France and the surrounding departents of Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Essonne, and Seine-et-Marne. Around 100 sites usually closed to visitors or places that are open but are offering a different experience are accessible. Try the belfry at the Gare de Lyon for instance. But you don’t know which one until you buy your ticket. It’s very popular so buy your ticket as soon as they go online.

Paris Cachee (Hidden Paris) light installation with man at far end standing on huge steel structure of pipes and water underneath reflecting
Paris Cachée Lighting installation

Feb 9-13, 2024: The Granville Carnaval is, like the one at Dunkirk, all about fish and cod in particular. It began 150 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, with 40 or so floats, 3,000 participants and over 150,000 visitors. It rivals Dunkirk for its downright eccentricities.

Granville Carnival France events 2024 with huge float with white polar bear on top in crowded streets
Granville Carnival © Norbert Delauney

Feb 9-18, 2024: Strasbourg Mon Amour held around St Valentine’s Day is a real mix of over 40 different events, from quirky nights out to different tours of Strasbourg’s museums, gourmet events and more.

Temple of Love Strasbourg France Events 2024 February with small temple with open sides in snowy park in front of lake
Temple of Love in Strasbourg © Wikimedia Commons/Laurent Jerry

Feb 14, 2024: 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. Champagne corks pop and the restaurants fill up. If you’re in Champagne, visit charming Epernay. Of if you’re in Reims, visit one of the Champagne houses.

Top of Dom Peerignon statue in Epernay with plaque behind with description of the inventor of champagne
Dom Perignon © CRTCA

Feb 14-18, 2024: Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu La Napoule. This popular event in Mandelieu near Tanneron the largest mimosa forest in Europe has taken place since 1931. Flower and light parades,  Miss Mandelieu contest, a concert and of course a special dinner. Each year has a theme and in 2024 like so many other carnivals it’s inspired by France’s biggest 2024 event: Les Jeux Olympiques en Folie (The Mad Olympic Games).

Mimosa Festival Mandelieu France events 2024 with woman in blue on float covered in yellow mimosas going past crowds on the pavement, bright sun and blue skies
Mimosa Festival © Mandelieu

Feb 14-18, 2024: Mulhouse Carnaval in Alsace fills the streets with decorated floats and bands of pipes and drums. Events include a ball in a marquee, an international cavalcade and of course the election of the carnival king and queen. This year’s theme is Olympic Games in the the Rheinland.

Mulhouse Carnival Events France 2024 with close up of band of grass instruments
Mulhouse Carnival © Mulhouse Tourist Office

Feb 17-18, 2024: Le Corso Fleuri 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.

Bornes-les-Mimosas Festival south France showing train made of flowers in procession
Bornes-les-Mimosa Festival

Feb 17-Mar 3, 2024: Nice Carnaval, PACA. The theme for 2024 is the King of Pop Culture which is refreshingly different from other carnivals which take the Paris Olympics as their inspiration. Plenty to do and see in the Queen of the south of France. Taking over the streets and square, 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.

Nice Carnival France events February 2024 at night with huge figure pulled through main sqaure in Nice, coloured purple like a devil and crowds on pavement around it
Nice Carnival

Feb 17-Mar 3, 2024: 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 the theme is the Olympics.

Menton Lemon Festival poster France events 2024 with bright coloured drawn lemons and Olympic theme
Menton Lemon Festival poster

Feb 23-25, 2024: Cannes Festival International des Jeux (International Games Festival) began in 1987. Game designers, publishing companies and fellow game-players come here for traditional games, classics, board games, videos, simulation games, collectors’ items and more. Watch the gaming competitions and get your games signed in the Palais des Festivals.

Cannes Congress and Festival Palais France events 2024 February modern building seen from sea in sunshine
Cannes Palais des Festivals et des Congres © Wikimedia Commons/Timantha

Feb 23-25, 2025: The Annecy Venetian Carnival is a spectacular carnival set around the lake and in the town in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. It’s not nearly as old as its inspiration – the Venetian carnival (1162!) but began in 1996.  Masked figures, many dressed as Commedia dell’arte figures parade the streets, parks, gardens and quays…in silence. It’s very beautiful, and rather sinister.

Annecy Venetian Carnival poster events France 2024 showing woman in fabulous blue and gold dress standing on bridge in frontof old houses
Annecy Venetian Carnival 2024

Feb 24-Mar 3, 2024: Porte de Versailles International Agricultural Show is the biggest agricultural event in France. It’s been held since 1964. For anyone interested in agriculture 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.

Donkey reaching out to eat hay showing just his head at the Versailles international food show
Donkey rearing on display from the Pays Basque

Events in France in 2024
Events in France in January 2024
Events in France in March 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 April 2023
Events in France in May 2023
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
Here’s a quick guide to France, its regions and departments to help you find where the events are taking place.
Regions of France
French Departments

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