September is one of the loveliest months to visit France. And there are plenty of events. The days are warm and the sea beckons; the trees begin to change their colour; the crowds have largely gone, and the country starts the first grape harvests.
Here are some great events in France in September 2022.
To Sept 7, 2022: Paris Jazz Festival. Held outdoors in the delightful, undulating Floral Park in Pairs, the 31 free concerts are spread over weekends. Around 110,000 spectators come for some classical music but mainly for jazz, world music, soul, blues and more.
To Sept 11, 2022: Le Voyage à Nantes. Over 100 works of art are scattered through the city. Some of the works are odd; others more conventional but all are well worth seeing. They’re on the streets, in the squares, small streets and in places you don’t expect. The trail, a green line painted on the ground, starts at the former LU factory by the Canal Saint-Félix and takes in the famous Great Elephant, the castle of the Dukes of Brittany and more.
To Sept 25, 2022: Rencontres d’Arles. This large international photo expo is 50 years old. Most of the events take place in the opening week, but exhibits generally remain on view to the end of the show.
To Sept 30, 2022: La Gacilly Photo Festival has been delighting and astonishing visitors to this small town in Morbihan, Brittany since 2004. See hundreds of large format photographs in the parks, green maze, squares and flowery streets of the small town. This year it focuses on Visions d’Orient.
To Nov 6, 2022: International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire château in the Loire Valley is equivalent in prestige to the Chelsea Flower Show. The festival shows a series of gardens from international designers. The theme this year is the Ideal Garden which has to be beautiful, good, organic, healing, comforting, innovative, and water and energy efficient all at the same time.
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 September 2022
Mid-September onwards: Wine harvest festivals are beginning all 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.
Sept 2-11, 2022: American Film Festival, Deauville, Calvados, Normandy. At this well-established event you get the chance to see around 100 American films – from blockbuster Hollywood productions to small independent films. They’re on at the Lucien Barrière casino and Le Mony cinema. The festival village provides information on all the events.
Sept 3, 2022: Nuits de Sologne starts at 5pm at Saint-Viâtre near Nouan-le-Fuzilier in the Sologne south of Orléans with musical entertainment and craft exhibitions, a bar and food stands. 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 3-4 2022: VVR (vignes vins randos). Over 15 walks are 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. 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’ve tasted on the walks.
Sept 5-6, 2022: The famous Lille Braderie takes over the city in Nord-Pas de Calais for a non-stop antiques and bric-a-brac fair that is quite a sight to see. It starts at 8am on Saturday and finishes at 6pm on Sunday. Wander among the streets of 10,000 amateur and professiona exhibitors. To keep up, eat endless portions of mussels and chips, then pile up the shells outside the restaurant. he competition for the largest pile is kept going by the 3 million or so visitors.
Sept 3-Feb 18, 2023: Paris Autumn Festival is a huge 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.
Sept 10-11, 2022: Crémieu Medieval Festival, Crémieu, Isère. Watch the Middle Ages come to life as around 200 professionals and 300 volunteers re-enact the past. Horse shows, jousts, jugglers, stilt-walkers, flag-twirlers, fire-eaters, musicians and magicians provide the entertainment.
To see how the great unwashed lived, visit the living camps and watch the occasional dispute and fight with swords, lances and shield. Walk along the street where old trades flourish: potters, bow-makers, chainmail-makers and spinners.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no firm date given, so check the website nearer the time.
Sept 10-18, 2022: The biggest Kite Festival in the world comes to Dieppe in Normandy every two years. It lasts nine days and attracts around 1,000 kite flyers from around forty countries. There’s a parade on the first Sunday with people in traditional costumes; a children’s day to teach them the skills, and a grand finale with a special display and sound and light show. And in between you can watch amazing kites as they swoop and swirl in the air above you.
Sept 14-18, 2022: 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. And it takes place just 25 kms from my house.
Sept 14-Dec 31, 2022: Contemporary Art Biennale, Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. This major event covers the artistic disciplines of painting, sculpture, photo and video. It takes over different venues from the Contemporary Art Museum and La Sucrière to La Veduta, a cultural laboratory with exhibitions and artists’ residences, and Résonance where the fringe events take place. This year’s theme is Fragility which gives plenty of scope for those impressive, if rather convoluted explanations about life and art which the French love.
The theme is wide-ranging and takes in the 1960s’era of Beirut’s so-called Golden Age’ which sounds intriguing and which fits with Lyon’s historic connections with Beirut centred around the 19th century silk trade, plus the French mandate with Beirut in 1920. No I didn’t know what that was either, but it’s part of France’s history after World War I.
This section of the biennale acquires added poignance in Lyon, given the city’s historical entanglements with Beirut centred around the 19th century silk trade, and the establishment of the French Mandate in 1920.
Sept 15-Oct 2, 2022: 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.
Sept 16-18, 2022: Bol d’Or, Le Castellet, Var, PACA. 100 years old this year, the Bol d’Or is the chance for endurance motorcyclists to compete with an international line-up. Lasting 24 hours, teams of three riders take turns during the competition. Races take in the Bol d’Argent, a 3-hour race for medium engine size motorbikes and the Bol d’Or Classic, which sees the great vintage bikes take to the track.
Enthusiasts can also see the race on a giant screen and check out the latest products from major manufacturers like BMW, Yamaha and Suzuki. And if that’s not enough, there are rock concerts, a funfair, paintball, freestyle demos and mini-bike workshops for those mini champions.
Sept 17, 2022: Techno Parade, Paris. Created in 1998 by Jack Lang, the electronic music culture event sees over 400,000 fans parading through the streets of Paris. They’re accompanied by mobile sound systems and around 12 floats representing a label, organiser or collective dedicated to the music. International DJs help the party along.
Sept 17-18, 2022: Les Etoiles de Mougins, Mougins, Alpes-Maritimes, PACA. Two glorious days devoted to gastronomy take place in this most gastronomic of Provencal villages. The streets and square are full of stalls and tents where top chefs show their skills to the 15,000 or so visitors. There are cookery demonstrations, concerts, signings and more. Refreshment stands and food trucks keepyou fed from 10am to midnight. It was launched in 2006 as a tribute to Roger Vergé, chef at the Moulin de Mougins. Each year there’s a special chef honoured; this year it’s Jacques Maximin.
Sept 18–19, 2022: European Heritage days (Journées du patrimoine). Monuments and historic site throughout France (and Europe) 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 21-25, 2022: 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.
Sept 24-Oct 8, 2022: 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.
Sept 27-Oct 2, 2022: The Great Bulwark (Grand Pavois), La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This impressive and important international nautical fair fills Minimes Harbour. Check out more than 800 exhibitors, look at the boats, try one out and buy it!
On Saturday Oct 1, there’s a huge pyro-digital show, Voiles de Nuit.
Sept 28-Oct 2, 2022: 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.
More about great Food Festivals in France