This year, if all goes well and France remains open, July will be a glorious month. So here’s my diary for events in France in July 2021. Many festivals and events were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 so the celebrations this year will be truly spectacular.
To Jul 19, 2021: Le Tour de France: starts this year in Brittany after the starts in Copenhagen and Denmark was postponed to 2022. This most famous of cycle races is always exciting, always has upsets and always thrills. It ends on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
To Jul 20, 2021: Summer Sales throughout France. Read more about Discount shopping, malls, bargains and sales in France. And…Flea markets and brocante fairs are always great entertainment.
To Jul 24, 2020: The Festival of Nîmes kicks off with Sting and includes other top names like Taylor Swift, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kiss and more.
To July 31, 2020: Les Nuits de Fourvière in the Gallo-Roman theatres of Lyon is a magical feast of theatre, music, dance, opera and circus. Around 60 performances are watched by over 130,000 spectators. It’s the 75th edition.
To Jul 31, 2021: Chorégies d’Orange, the oldest festival in France is the time to enjoy, opera and music in the extraordinary Roman amphitheater in Orange, near Avignon.
To Aug 22, 2021: Saint-Etienne Design Festival. Every two years since 1998, the city of Saint-Étienne has hosted the International Design Biennial. It’s organised by the Saint-Étienne Regional School of Fine Arts and produced and managed by the Cité du Design centre. It promotes contemporary design in this unexpected former industrial city. Saint-Etienne in the Auvergne is the only French city designated as a UNESCO-listed Creative City of Design, joining Berlin, Bilbao, Montreal and Beijing.
Exhibitions throughout the city, workshops, conferences and meetings with design professionals make up an exciting programme.
To Sept 2021: La Gacilly Photo Festival has been delighting and astonishing visitors to this small town in Morbihan, Brittany since 2004. For three months, between May and September, the festival showcases hundreds of large format photographs in the parks, green maze, squares and flowery streets of the small town. Each new edition celebrates a guest country and revolves around a theme related to the social and environmental concerns of our society.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no definite date or confirmation on the website.
To Oct 10, 2021: Chartres en lumières sees this wonderful city illuminated for its annual festival of light. It’s nightly so there’s no excuse to miss it.
To Oct 18, 2021: Jeff Koons at MuCEM, Marseille. Some of the most famous works by American artist Jeff Koons come from the extraordinary private collection of François Pinault to Marseille. It explores the relationship between certain works and everyday objects, photographs and documents from MuCEM’s collection. It will include some of Jeff Koon’s best known works like his sculpture Balloon Dog, 1994-200, and the painting Dutch Couple 2007.
To Nov 2, 2021: International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire Château in the Loire Valley is like the Chelsea Flower Show of France, except that it goes on for just over 7 months. The Château and grounds are lovely and the festival of a series of gardens from international designers always delivers some surprises. This year the theme is really spot on: Biomimcry in the Garden. As the Director Chantal Colleu-Dumond says ‘Understanding and imitating living systems and, in particular, natural ecosystems is one of the keys to our future’.
July & August: Paris Plage fills up the banks of the Seine with imported sand, parasols, volley ball, kiosks and a beach vibe.
Jul 2-11, 2021: La Foire de Tours is a huge general fair with everything from furniture to gardens, a special gastronomic section and music.
PLEASE NOTE: The fair has been moved to July from May in 2021.
Jul 3-Sept 12, 2021: Le Voyage à Nantes takes you around this gorgeous west France city via works of art, some odd, others more conventional but always interesting. They’re on the streets, in the squares and in places you don’t expect. 30 works start at the former LU factory and take you on a tour of the city. In the evening…more concerts!
July 4-Sept 26, 2021: Rencontres d’Arles is a huge international photo expo, now 50 years old. Most of the events take place in the opening week, but the exhibits generally remain on view to the end of the show.
July 5-25, 2021: The Festival d’Avignon is an important, and wide-ranging, theater, music and dance festival throughout the city. You can get a day by day Spectators’ Guide at all venues in early July, and information on the Festival and Off Festival events at the Avignon Tourist Office.
July 7-31, 2021: The Avignon Off Festival starts with a parade of performers in costume from 8pm. They march up the Rue de la République and performing au chapeau (for tips in the hat) around the town. For information and tickets, check out the website or visit the off Village at the École Thiers, #1, rue des Ecole.
July 6-31, 2021: The Festival of Carcassonne takes place in this magical UNESCO city with 120 shows, including 80 free ones at the Off stages. Performers include James Blunt, Deep Purple, Evegny Kissin and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, plus many more. Quite a line-up!
July 6-17, 2021: Cannes Film Festival. The 74th edition of the most famous film festival in the world is for professionals. Prizes include the best film, best director, best actor, best actress, Jury Prize, Grand Prix and the famous Palme D’Or. Main screenings take place in the Festival Centre on the Boulevard de la Croisette. Many go to Cannes to try to see the stars, and watch films at the outdoor Beach Cinema, open to all.
The Director for the 2021 edition will be the great Spike Lee.
July 9-11, 2021: Electrobeach Festival of electronic music in Port-Barcarès, in Pyrénées-Orientales. Concerts on the beach and in the unusual setting of the gardens of the Lydia. Once an ocean liner from the 1930s and now anchored in the sand as a museum. One of Europe’s biggest electronic music festivals attracts an audience of around 150,000.
July 9-25, 2021: The 60th Annual Jazz à Juan Festival takes place in a stunning setting overlooking the Mediterranean in Juan-les-Pins on the Cote d’Azur. Lots of great Jazz Off free events throughout Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. It’s one of my favorites with the sea as a background. If you’re there on Bastille Day, some of the greatest fireworks over Cannes.
Find great budget places to stay in Antibes/Juan-les-Pins.
July 12-17, 2021: Nice Jazz Festival. This has always been one of the greats since it started in 1948. Two stages with simultaneous events just off the Promenade des Anglais, though I have to admit that I preferred it when it was in Cimiez.
July 14, 21 and 29 and Aug 7, 15 and 24, 2021: 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…
PLEASE NOTE: The official website is saying 2021 but has no dates. It usually starts on July 14 for 6 nights weekly.
July 14, 2021: Bastille Day is France’s greatest holiday with celebrations throughout the country. Watch out for local events and fireworks. And also start watching out for traffic jams; it’s traditionally the start of France’s national one-month long summer vacation. Of all the events in July, and throughout the year, this is the best known.
Jul 16-22, 2021: Cordes-sur-Ciel Music Festival. Chamber music, Romantic, Baroque and contemporary music in this most magical of small towns in the Tarn.
If you’re in the Tarn check out Toulouse-Lautrec and the Tarn. And don’t miss a visit to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi. And for a surprise, read about Toulouse-Lautrec’s recipe book, Art du Cuisine; the artist was quite a chef.
July 19, 2021: Gigondas sur Table is a wonderful meal cooked by five Provence guest chefs paired with top local wines from 40 growers. It takes place in the shaded square of Gigondas from 8-11pm. This year, Gigondas is celebrating its 50th anniversary so there are events going on throughout the year. Book on the website.
July 23-Aug 18, 2021: 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.
Jul 26, 2021: Basilic and Garlic Fair in the main square of Tours in the Loire Valley is a site to behold (and to smell). If you think you know your garlic, think again.
More Events in France in 2021
Events in France in January 2021
Events in France in February 2021
Events in France in March 2021
Events in France in April 2021
Events in France in May 2021
Events in France in June 2021
Events in France in August 2021
Events in France in September 2021
More about great Food Festivals in France