Events in France in January 2021 will be patchy as the pandemic plays havoc with schedules. Events which were ready to go ahead have been postponed for another year. Here is a short list of events in France in January 2021. But keep your eyes and ears open for sudden changes.
PLEASE NOTE: I have researched as much as I can, and noted any changes.
If there is no note for the event, it is scheduled to go ahead as written and on those dates. But please keep clicking on the links to double check.
January 1st is a public holiday in France.
Jan 6th, 2021 Epiphany: The Feast of Epiphany on January 6th each year marks the official ending of Christmas in France. It’s the day when the Three Wise Men (or Kings, depending on which version you prefer) arrive from the East to see Jesus. It’s celebrated in France with La Galette des Rois special cake. The King’s Cake has a long history in France.
Jan 6th to Feb 2nd, 2021: Les Soldes d’Hiver. The January Sales dates are set by law for the whole country…except for Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrenéees-Atlantiques.
More about sales and discount shopping in France.
Jan 9th-20th, 2021: La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc is a dog sled race taking place in eastern France. One of the longest and most difficult races in the world, it takes place in the mountains where the altitude changes over 25,000 metres. The international mushers and their 8-dog teams travel nearly 750 kms/466 miles going through the famous resorts of Savoie and Haute-Savoie in the Alps.
Thousands of spectators gather at the start where the atmosphere, fireworks, mulled wine, fires, films and food, sled driving classes for children, igloo building and more keep them warm. And the good news is that France is opening its ski resorts from January 7th, 2021.
Here’s what the race is all about:
Jan 10th-Mar 21st, 2021: 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 street, handing out flour and treats to the locals. Well everything has to start somewhere, so why not?
PLEASE NOTE: The 2021 Limoux Carnival has been postponed to 2022.
Mid January: Fête de la Truffe. The Truffle Festival in Sarlat in the Dordogne is one of the great gastronomic events of France. Brush up on your knowledge about truffles with identification workshops and truffle hunting demonstration and cookery demonstrations from local chefs. The big market is the place to meet the truffle growers and buy fresh truffles.
Restaurants set up stands in the main square, Place de la Liberté, selling ‘croustous’ tapas with truffle and foie gras.
PLEASE NOTE: At the time of writing there is no formal confirmation one way or the other. But this may well take place. It’s in the open air and is one of the great French events; I can’t imagine them cancelling unless the situation is really bad. Check out the Tourist Office website for news.
Jan 30th & 31st, 2021: Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Celebration. Burgundy celebrates the patron saint of St. Vincent annually and why not? Burgundy is one of the major wine-producers of the world’s best wines and Burgundy food has a great reputation. There’s a procession, a mass, a huge meal and events to promote the wine. The ‘tournante’ in the title means ‘in rotation’. So a different village holds the festival each year.
PLEASE NOTE: The Saint-Vincent Tournante Festival has been postponed to January 29th & 30th, 2022. It will be held in Corpeau, Puligny-Montrachet and Blagny.
Jan to March, 2021: 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: This event seems to have been postponed. But there might be some activities, so check the Dunkirk Tourist Office website.
And to end the month:
Jan 29- Feb 5, 2021: Festival de Court Métrage. The prestigious International Short Film Festival is held in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne region. 1,192 short films were submitted for the 43rd festival and 51 have been selected. The festival started in 1979 as a student film festival and is now the world’s biggest event dedicated to short films. It’s held in 13 cinemas throughout the city and is the chance to see the start of many careers.
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 (and householder in the Auvergne), what else could I do? It was filmed in Marseille and is full of delightful touches.
Here’s the film!
I hope that there will be more events in January 2021 as France hopefully opens up once again.
More Events in France
More about great Food Festivals in France