September is a lovely month to visit France. The days are warm and the sea beckons; the trees begin to change colour; the crowds have largely gone, and the country starts the first celebrations of the grape harvests. Here are some great events in France in September 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: Some events might be cancelled or postponed if France has to shut down again due to Covid-19. I will keep this as up to date as I can, but do please double check if you are planning to attend any of the events.
Mid-September onwards: Wine harvest festivals across France. Check the local tourist offices for celebrations where you are as the wine harvests are always one of the major events in September in France.
To 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!
To 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 remain on view to the end of the show.
To Sept, 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.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no definite date or confirmation on the website.
To Oct 10, 2021: Chartres en lumières sees this wonderful city in the Loire Valley illuminated for its annual festival of light. It runs nightly from dusk to 1am.
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 Nov 2, 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’.
Sept 3-12, 2021: The American Film Festival at Deauville in Normandy is a well established event. It shows around 100 American films from blockbuster Hollywood productions to small independent films. They are show at the Lucien Barrière casino and Le Mony cinema. There’s also a festival village for more information and events.
September, 2021: Every two years in September, Dieppe in Normandy hosts the biggest Kite Festival in the world for nine days. And about 1,000 of them come from around forty invited countries. They gather on the seafront lawns and fly kites which swoop around the sky. There’s a grand parade on the first Sunday when people dress in traditional costumes; a children’s day teaches the skill to youngsters and it ends with a grand finale with a special display and a sound and light show.
PLEASE NOTE: There are no dates yet set on the website but it usually begins the first weekend of September.
Sept 4, 2021: Nuits de Sologne starts at 5pm at Saint-Viâtre near Nouan-le-Fuzilier in the Sologne south of Orleans. There’s also a whole side show of musical entertainment and craft exhibitions, a bar and food stands. You sit on seats on the grass and wait for the first part of this spectacular show. At 8.45pm, there’s a projection onto an enormous façade. At 9.30pm the big fireworks start, synchronized to music. This might be a bit off the beaten track but it’s one of the events in September in France to try to see. You must buy tickets in advance from the website.
Sept 4-5, 2021: The famous Lille Braderie takes over the city for a non-stop antiques and bric-a-brac fair. It starts at 2pm on Saturday and finishes at 11pm on Sunday. Wander among the streets of 10,000 exhibitors, both amateur and professional. To keep up your stamina, eat endless portions of mussels and chips, then pile up the shells outside the restaurant. It’s a competition for the largest pile, kept going by the 3 million or so visitors.
Sept 4-5 2021: VVR (vignes vins randos). Over 15 walks organised in the vineyards of Anjou, the Loire Valley and Touraine by Val de Loire. Each walk lasts around three hours and is guided and hosted by a winegrower. You stop on the way to taste local products and visit local heritage attractions. Plus cooking demonstrations and events for children. And of course you can buy the wines you have tasted on the walks at special wine sales areas.
Sept 15-19, 2021: Fête Renaissance du roi de l’oiseau in Le Puy-en-Velay, Auvergne. This Festival of Renaissance Arts just gets better each year. The whole town goes back in time, with most of the residents dressed up in costumes they have been making all year. There are parades, archery contests, camps and much more.
Sept 17-26, 2021: Festival Mondiale des theatres de Marionnettes, Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes. The FMTM biannual event is a must for puppet lovers. 250 troupes from around the world present their puppets and shows. Founded in 1961, this is an important festival. Around 200 shows happen in the main event; there’s a fringe festival street shows and more as well. It ranges from traditional puppets operated with glove and string, to modern techniques like marionettes portées controlled by rods at the back. Some are fun; others distinctly sinister. It’s a whole different world where marionettes and shadow theatres take you on a fantastic journey.
Sept 18–19, 2021: European Heritage days (Journées du patrimoine) when monuments and historic site throughout France put on a special show. You can get inside buildings not normally open like the Élysée Palace and private villas and castles. It’s not just about seeing the places; there are guided tours, skills demonstrations, theatre and music.
Sept 18-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?
Sept 25 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.
Sept 28-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!
Sept 29-Oct 3, 2021: 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, short films and more for the 30,000 fans at this event.
Events in France in January 2021
Events in France in February 2021
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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
More about great Food Festivals in France