Events in France in March 2023 are glorious and plentiful. The weather is changing with Spring arriving and the gardens and parks are showing off their new colours. A great month to visit.

To Mar 5, 2023: Porte de Versailles International Agricultural Show. The biggest agricultural event in France launched in 1964. For anyone interested in agriculture it’s a must with over international 1,000 exhibitors from around the world, 3,000 animals, a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables, 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.

To Mar 12, 2023Dunkirk Carnival in Nord-Pas de Calais is one of those events when the French appear to go totally bonkers. Go there to appreciate the extraordinary 300-year old party as it sweeps through the town. 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 on weekends only with a grand ball on Saturday night and music in the streets on Sunday.

Dunkirk Carnival. Two men almost kissing with faces made up white with colours and crowd behind. Everyone dressed in wierd costumes
Dunkirk Carnival © Ville de Dunquerque

To Mar 26, 2023: Limoux Carnival in the Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon. 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 takes place every weekend to the end of March.

Blue clown in beautiful costume gesturing to sky and filling whole page
Limoux Carnival Wikimedia/tagon/2.0

Events starting in March 2023

Mar 3-5, 2023: Annecy Carnival. This 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 with two figures in red with fabulous hats with decorations in narrow alley with canal behind
Annecy’s Venetian Carnival lefondre

Mar 4-5, 2023: The Violet Festival has taken place in Tourrettes-sur-Loup since 1952. Begun in 1880 when the village in the Alpes-Maritimes in southern France became famous for its violet growing farms, fhe festival celebrates the end of the violet season with serenades, dances, a floral procession and finally a flower battle for everyone.

Tourrettes sur Loup violet festivalwith man leading donkey decorated with saddle of violets through the streets with crowd behind
Tourrettes Violet Festival © CujoJnr/CC-BY-SA 4.0

Mar 4-5, 2023: Sarlat Fest’Oie (Goose Festival) is known throughout France. It takes place in the picturesque town of Sarlat-la-Canéda in Périgord, an area famous for its geese. There’s an all-you-can-eat banquet, naturally, and the chance to savour street food like goose soup from one of the stalls. Buy products in the bustling market and follow flocks of geese as they are led through the city.

Geese herd in middle of street in Sarlat at the Sarlat Goose Festival
Sarlat Goose Festival Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Mar 8-Apr 2, 2023: Monte-Carlo Spring Arts Festival is a classical music festival that runs from Thursdays to Sundays over the month. Founded originally by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace, it features some of the great European orchestras and takes place in different venues in Monte-Carlo.

View from above and sideways of theatre stage with performers on it and audience out front at Monte Carlo festival
Monte Carlo Festival

Mar 9-12, 2023: Orchid Festival at the Abbey of Vaucelles near Cambrai in the Nord department. Thirty participants fill the vaulted rooms of the 12th century building. Outside there is an installation about the lives of the monks here.

Abbey of Vaucelles with old abbey buildings on left partly hidden by hedges and trees as photo from garden with green lawn and feeling of peace
Abbey of Vaucelles © Chatsham/CC-BT-SA 3.0

Mar 11-27, 2023: Les Printemps des Poètes. Poetry festivals, large and small take place all over France, from a reading in a cafe to a fully fledged festival. And the one in Nice on the Côte d’Azur is one of the best known. The theme is Frontiers, partly inspired by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This very French festival is the most esoteric of events in France in March 2023. Not for the faint-hearted!

Printemps des poetes 2023 poster with twoeyes superimposedon fantasy background of bridge with people and words describing the festival
Printemps des Poetes poster

Mar 12, 2023: La Trace du Fromage on the Aubrac plateau in Aveyron gives you the chance to walk, cross-country ski or snowshoe over the extraordinary Aubrac landscape on the search for cheese, mulled wine, gentian, fouace and aligot. Organised by the Cooperative Jeune Montagne you walk from buron to buron – small sone shelters where shepherds live with their herds during the summer and make cheese by hand.

Aubrac Plateau in summer showing high desolate landscape with a stone shelter buron to one side
Aubrac Plateau © Benjamin Claverie/CC-BY-SA2.0

Mar 17-18, 2023: The Rallye Le Touquet Pas-de-Calais starts the 2023 French Rally Championship. Over 150 drivers wizz through the countryside and along the coast.

Le Touquet Rally © Felouch Kotek/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Mar 24-Apr 21, 2023: Banlieue Bleue Festival in Saint Denis, Paris. New jazz musicians from around the world come together in this popular festival. It includes takes place in different venues including Dynamo, the main venue open all year round.

Banlieues Bleues festival with Solstg on stage, small group on blue/licallit stage with audience in front. Photo from back of club
Banlieus Bleues Festival © Solstag/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Mar 27-Apr 2, 2023: Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (European Days of Crafts) throws open galleries, studios and workshops across Europe, with exhibitions, installations, open houses, performances and more. Meet the artists and craftspeople, learn something of their craft and get inspired.

Workshop at European Craft Days

Mar 31-Apr 2, 2023: International Cheese and Wine Fair at Coulommiers in the south of France. Exhibitors and craftspeople set up their stalls in the forecourt of the sugar factory offering local product tastings, a livestock exhibition and contests as well as the chance to buy all those tempting goodies.

Bottle of Gigondas wine in background and many different cheeses on plateau
Gigondas wine and plate of cheeses © Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Mar 31-Apr 2, 2023: Les Quais du Polar in Lyon sees international names celebrating authors and filmmakers of crime fiction. Around 60,000 fans come for the debates, meetings, readings, signing sessions, concerts, plays and crime film screenings that are chosen by the authors. The free events take place at city hall, the Opera and Palais de la Bourse. It’s one of the biggest crime fiction events in France.

Sylvain Forge at Lyon Crime festival showing her on stage with microphone and woman beside her and shelves of books behind
Sylvain-Forge at Lyon ©-BU-Sciences-Campus-Lyon-La-Doua

Events in France

Events in France in January 2023
Events in France in February 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

French Public Holidays

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