There are some wonderful events in France in October this year. And there’s the added advantage of being without the crowds of the summer vacation. Festivals range from film and art to music and gardens. The French celebrate the end of the annual wine harvest as autumn turns the vineyards deep orange. Check out these events in France in October 2023.
To Oct 1, 2023: La Gacilly Photo Festival is a wonderful outdoor photo festival. For three months, hundreds of large format photos are displayed in the parks, green maze, squares and streets of the small town in Morbihan, Brittany.
To Oct 1, 2023: Musica International Festival, Strasbourg, Alsace, Grand Est. If you love to explore contemporary classical music, this is the festival to aim for. It’s a rich introduction to 20th-century major works as well as works by new generations of composers and performers.
To Oct 1, 2023: What a Trip! Heyme Festival, Montpellier, Herault, Occitanie. The International Travel and Adventure Festival has everything: a travel village, world bookshop, workshops, adventure travel and an official film competition, free concerts, exhibitions, talks and more. It’s organised by people who love travel and is not like so many trade shows around the world.
To Oct 1, 2023: British Film Festival, Dinard, Ille-et-Vilaine , Brittany. Go British in Dinard at this great festival where awards are given and new films showcased. 5 different cinemas give you a comprehensive look at the British film industry. There are 6 films in the main competition, premiers, short films and more for the 30,000 fans at this event.
To Oct 8, 2023: Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, Saint Tropez, PACA. Around 300sailing 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. It’s a sight to see.
To Nov 5, 2023: International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire château in the Loire Valley is a fabulous, huge Festival, the Chelsea Flower Show of France. The Château and grounds are lovely and the festival of a series of gardens from international designers always delivers some surprises. This year’s theme is appropriately, the Resilient Garden.
To Dec 22, 2023: Paris Autumn Festival is a huge, prestigious arts events, taking in every discipline and taking place in different venues throughout Paris. Around 50 events cover 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.
To Jan 14, 2023: 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.
Events in France starting in October 2023
October, 2022: Wine harvest festivals across France. Check the local tourist offices for celebrations where you are.
Oct 1, 2023: Rederie d’Amiens. This great annual flea market takes over the city, occupying a massive 5km of pavements. It’s the second biggest in France after Lille. Part of a great long tradition in France of scouring markets for bargains.
Oct 1-2, 2023: Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Longchamp in Paris is the chic setting for the equally chic race. It’s a great racecourse with 500 screens for those not in the centre of the action. The ‘Most Beautiful Duo’ competition is worth winning; you get prizes which include a trip to Qatar and Longines watches. Racing is almost an afterthought.
Oct 1-Nov 5, 2023: Disneyland Paris begins its Halloween Festival with Disney villains roaming the streets. On October 31 Disney’s Halloween Party takes over the park from 8pm to 2am. Book early and expect very few children at this grown-up event.
Oct 11-15, 2023: La Fête des Vendanges is the extraordinary Montmartre’s annual Grape Harvest Festival attracting over half a million visitors. It has everything, from grape stomping to a Grand Parade, music, dancing, vineyard tours (who knew Montmartre had a vineyard?), a grand picnic and more. Montmartre was once the place for artists like Van Gogh who lived at 25 Rue Victor Masse. Van Gogh in Paris.
Oct 12-15, 2023: La Rochelle Jazz Festival, Charente-Maritime, Nouvelle-Aquitaine. 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 events complete the package.
Oct 27-29, 2023: La Grande Braderie de Saint Tropez is a popular event in Var on 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 21-23, 2023: The prestigious Paris Salon d’Automne art show began in 1903 with the likes of Guimard, Cezanne, Bonnard, Roualt, and Matisse. The idea was to shock the old and introduce the new. It continues today with works by 890 artists including 161 new participants from 43 countries. It takes place in the Petit Palais.
Oct 28-Nov 1, 2023: Paris Chocolate Fair at Porte de Versailles is just delicious…and always surprising. 700 or so chocolatiers, pastry chefs and other professionals take part. There are tasting sessions and cookery demonstrations, children’s pasty-making workshops and more. But most startling are the set pieces, the live performances and the fashion show which challenge your ideas about chocolate.
Oct 28-29, 2023: The Pepper Festival in Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques just east of St Jean de Luz in south west France (Pays Basque/Nouvelle Aquitaine) is a grand tradition. 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 on the plants 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 5, 2023: Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament is the final ATP World Masters event. Held in the Accor Arena on a hard surface, 48 players will compete. Currently Novak Djokovic holds the record with 6 titles; only André Agassi, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic himself have been able to win both Roland Garros and the Rolex Paris Masters tournaments in the same year. As Djokavic has just won Roland-Garros, he might well be on for yet another triumph this autumn.
Oct 31-Nov 2, 2023: 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.
Here’s more about how the French celebrate Halloween in France.
If you know of other events you think I should include, please do let me know!
Events in France in 2023
Events in France in January 2023
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 November 2023
Events in France in December 2023
To help you find those events, here are a couple of articles on the geography of France