Events in France in October this year cover a whole host of festivals, art, film and of course, the celebration of wine. It’s also a delightful season when the leaves change colour but the sun still shines. Check out these events in France in October 2021.
Updated September 27, 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: This is the latest version of Events in France in October 2021. There have been some changes: one or two festivals have been postponed, and some have shortened their event. So if you’re in France in October, please check these events.
NB: You will have to have the pass sanitaire, or confirmation of your vaccinations against covid-19 for ticketed events or those indoors.
NB: If you are travelling to France, please check the rules under the covid regulations here.
To Oct 3, 2021: Festival of British Cinema. Go British in Dinard at the British Film Festival where awards are given and new films showcased. 5 different cinemas give you a comprehensive look at the British film industry. 6 films are in the main competition, there are premiers, 20 or so short films and more for the 30,000 fans at this event.
To Oct 3, 2021: The distinctly nautical town of La Rochelle hosts The Great Bulwark (Grand Pavois), an impressive and important international nautical fair at Minimes Harbour. Check out more than 800 exhibitors, look at the boats, try one out and buy it!
To Oct 3, 2021: The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris. The Pompidou Centre and the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) are showing the wrapping of this famous landmark. It’s by Christo (remember his wrapping of the Pont Neuf, the Reichstag in Berlin and the Gates of Central Park in New York?). Christo died in 2020 so this is being funded by selling his preparatory studies, drawings and collages of the project, scale models, works from the 1950s and 1960s and original lithographs on other subjects. It will take 24,000 sq metres of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 metres of red rope. Is this event in France in September 2021 the last Christo work we will see? Here’s a little more about this extraordinary art work.
To Oct 9, 2021: Les Voiles de Saint Tropez is an event to dream about, or participate in as around 300 sailing boats, both traditional and modern, gather to race in the Mediterranean. This is one of the last events in France in September so try to make it to catch that last summer sun.
To Oct 10, 2021: Musica Festival in Strasbourg. Contemporary music is at the heart of the international festival founded in 1982. It takes 20th century music with new generations of composers, with famous musicians known for their contemporary repertoire as well as more classical performances. The group illustrated here is Illuminated which takes Baroque and Renaissance music and reconfigures 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. The exhibition 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 Oct 31, 2021: La Gacilly is the largest open-air photographic festival in France. Created in 2004 by Yves Rocher in southern Brittany, it combines art and photojournalism. Large format photographs fill the parks, squares and streets with images.
To Nov 7, 2021: The International Garden Festival at the beautiful 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 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’.
To Dec 31, 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. It runs from dusk to 1am.
To Feb 18, 2022: Paris Autumn Festival is a huge arts events, taking in every discipline and taking place in many different venues throughout Paris. Around 50 events give a great introduction to the new and the avant-garde. It was created in 1972 by Michel Guy under the impetus of Georges Pompidou who wanted Paris to become a cultural capital. He succeeded; today around 150,000 people attend one of the events.
October, 2021: Wine harvest festivals across France. Check the local tourist offices for celebrations where you are.
Oct: The Paris Motor Show at Porte de Versaille is one of the major motor shows in the world. It takes place every 2 years.
PLEASE NOTE: The Paris Motor Show has been postponed to 2022.
Oct 2, 2021: La Nuit Blanche in Paris started in 2002 and the concept has made its way around the world. It offers a night time art trail taking you on and off the beaten track. Museums, cultural attractions and private and public spaces stay open all night, free of charge. There are installations, staged scene sets, performances, concerts and more.
Oct 13-17, 2021: Jazz between the Towers in La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast is a must for jazz fans. Well-known and new musicians, official concerts and a lively off festival complete the package.
Oct 23-24, 2021: The Pepper Festival in Espelette just east of St Jean de Luz in south west France (Pays Basque). Of all the food festivals in France, this is one of the oddest. But why not? Those spicy peppers make their way everywhere. And of course there’s Basque traditional dancing, and music, parades and pelota as well as a lot of spicy food. In 1650 a Basque navigator, part of Christopher Columbus’ crew brought chili peppers back home. And the rest is history. The first flowers appear in June and fruit in July. Harvesting takes place in mid-August then the houses are festooned with peppers hung out to dry.
Read about more food festivals in France.
Oct 28-Nov 1, 2021: Paris Chocolate Fair at Porte de Versailles is just delicious…and surprising. 700 or so chocolatiers, pastry chefs and other professionals set out their wares. It’s totally irresistible, and very expensive. There are tasting sessions and cookery demonstrations, children’s pasty-making workshops and more. But most startling is the fashion show where frocks made of chocolate challenge your ideas of frocks. Of all the events in France in October, this is the most wacky.
Oct 29-Nov 1, 2021: La Grande Braderie de Saint Tropez is a popular event in the Cote d’Azur. The main shops take their fashion items into the street and sell at very discounted prices. It’s one of the great fun events in shopping for bargains in France.
Oct 30-Nov 11, 2021: Dijon International Gastronomic Fair in Burgundy is a serious event. Plenty of demonstrations, tastings, workshops, stalls and of course a wonderful restaurant. Burgundy is well known for its top foods (Bresse chicken!), so don’t miss this one.
Oct 31, 2021: The Château du Lude in the Loir (without the ‘e’) valley opens the kitchen garden. There are events in the medieval kitchens and a Pumpkin Chase in the maze.
Oct 31-Nov 2, 2021: Halloween is not celebrated in France as it is in the UK or USA. But it remains a special time, with France taking All Saints’ Day on November 1 seriously.
For the frivolous, here’s more about Halloween in France!
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 July 2021
Events in France in August 2021
Events in France in September 2021
More about great Food Festivals in France