Events in France in January 2024 are impressive. January 1, New Years Day, is a public holiday in France as in so many countries around the world. Throughout the month carnivals cheer up the country, shaking off the winter blues. But there are festivals of music and comic strips, horse shows and circuses and France’s official sales.

Jan 6, 2024 Epiphany: This is the day when Christmas in France officially ends. The day when the Three Wise Men come from the east to visit the baby Jesus. This being France, it’s celebrated with a cake: La Galette des Rois which has a long and distinguished history. You’ll find the boulangeries full of these cakes. Most are modest, but check out the shops selling the best; some of the top French chefs make very expensive versions for those wishing to impress their friends.

Galette des Rois © Thomon Wikimedia

Jan 6-Apr 7, 2024: Dunkirk 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 withphoto looking up fromground to line of people dressed in weire costumes carrying poles with objects, flags and more
Dunkirk Carnival © Ville de Dunquerque

Jan 7-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

Limoux carnival with costumed figures inside and trombone and brass players facing them
Limoux Carnival © Jcb-caz/Wikimedia Commons

Jan 10-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

Jan 13-25, 2024: La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc is a truly great event. It’s known as one of the longest and most difficult dog sled races in the world, and takes place in Savoie and Haute-Savoie in the Alps. Then 11 days of high speed racing take the world’s best mushers and their dogs through 22 resorts – a distance of 750 kms. It opens in Megève with fireworks, walks and hikes, mulled wine, giant tartiflettes to eat, films, exhibitions, a kid’s introduction to sled driving, igloo-building and more.

La Grande Odysee Savoie Mont Blanc with snowy mountain slope and huskies pulling sledge uphill
La Grande Odysee Savoie Mont Blanc © Romain Tissot

Jan 16-25, 2024: Paris is all about fashion, so it’s right that the global capital of style celebrates its famous designers with Paris Fashion Week. Many of the events are open to the public.

The first fashion week is devoted to Menswear. Haute Couture gets its days of glory from Jan 16-21 2024.

Models on stage at chanel Paris Fashion Week show
Chanel Paris Fashion Show

Jan 17-21, 2024: Cheval Passion Horse Show in Avignon is a must for horse lovers. Over 1,200 horses and riders perform for a total of 90 hours in the Parc des Expositions, showing every skill from trick riding to Western competitions. One of the great events is the Crinières d’Or. Acts created specially for the event are exciting, daring and spectacular. In addition to the acts, there are 250 exhibitors, 12 corrals, 12 display halls and more. It’s great for children too with a special Poney Passion.

ChevalPassion Avignon western show with cows in front, cowboys on horseback in back under glass skylight and audience outside
Cheval Passion Western Show

Jan 20-21, 2024: The Fête de la Truffe is a glorious annual event entirely dedicated to the truffle. Held in Sarlat, Perigord, you get the chance to find out more about truffles with identification workshops, truffle hunting demonstration and cookery demonstrations from local chefs. Meet the truffle growers and gatherers and buy the famous ‘black diamonds’ in the main market place. And indulge your taste at one of the restaurants in the Place de la Liberté with ‘croustous’ tapas with truffle and foie gras.
The Intriguing Story of Food in France
Top Food Festivals in France

Truffle hunting pig sniffing ground in forest while man behinds digs up truffle
Truffle hunters © Robert Vayssie/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Jan 20-28, 2024: Premiers Plans Festival in Angers in Anjou is dedicated to new European talent in the cinema. Around 100 debut films are shown for a whole week. Over 70,000 people come to see the festival which is supported by the greats of French cinema from Gérard Depardieu to Jeanne Moreau.

Poster for Premiers Plans Festival in Angers 2023 showing young girl reaching out to tree to pick cherries
Premiers Plans Festival 2023

Jan 22-28, 2024: Rallye de Monte-Carlo Historique is a great international event, starting and ending this year in Monte-Carlo. Legendary cars start the race to Monaco and go through different cities on different dates. Like the Tour de France cycle race, it consists of different stages testing different skills.

The whole event ends with the Prize Ceremony and Gala Night in the Salles des Etoiles at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club.

Find more historic cars at the Top Car Museums in France, and at the famous Le Mans 24 Hour Museum.

Monte Carlo Rallye Hitorique 2024 poster with name on poster and dates and cartoon style pic of old car
Monte Carlo 2024

Jan 24-28, 2024: More film talent at the Fantasy Film Festival in the Gérardmer ski resort in the Vosges, Grand Est. Since 1994 the festival offers 100 screenings of 50 films. It includes around 40 new films plus retrospectives of different directors shown on 4 cinema screens.

Plus exhibitions, theatre and street performances, make-up stands, video games and window display competitions.

Fantasy Film Festival at Gérardmer

Jan 25-28, 2024: The International Comic Strip Festival is a great event where professionals from all over the world meet around 200,000 fans. Giant tents are full of stands taken by different publishers. There are signings, exhibitions, screenings, debates, conferences, meetings, concerts and competitions. For younger people, the youth area has a range of activities, games and all sorts of workshops.

4 people on stage at Angouleme Animated Festival with shorter girl in middle receiving prize and speaking into microphone. Very colourful with background cartoon
Angouleme Festival 2023 © Selby May/Wikimedia Commons

Jan 25-28, 2024: The Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (Global Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow) in the Place du Cardinal Lavigerie in the 23th arrondissement of Paris is one of the world’s biggest circus festivals. Tightrope walkers, clowns, jugglers, acrobats and trapeze artists from around the world contort themselves in ways you would not think possible and perform extraordinary tricks. The French love circus talent; the 14-year old daughter of a friend of mine goes to a circus school frequently during term time at her normal school. I look forward to seeing her in Paris one day!

cirque de Demain Paris showing one acrobat with multiple strings and circles juggling them
Cirque de Demain Hng Theang Leong © Laurent_Bugnet

Jan 27-28, 2024: Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Celebration is an annual event in Burgundy. Winegrowers in different villages gather to thank the patron saint, Saint Vincent, for the previous year’s wine harvest and ask for his protection for the future harvest. It’s taken place since the Middle Ages.

Each year it’s a different village, hence the name Tournante (‘in rotation’). In 2024 it’s in Chambolle-Musigny and Morey-Saint-Denis in La Côte de Nuits.Famous names like Chablis and Nuits-Saint-Georges are featured but also smaller lesser known vintages are presented.

Saint Vincent Wine Festival with villages walking at dusk away from a vineyard January
Saint Vincent Festival © Mpmpmp/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Jan 31-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.

Here’s an idea of what to expect:

Events in France in 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 February 2023
Events in France in March 2023
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
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