France in October is still full of festivals, events and of course, wine festivities. It’s also a delightful season when the leaves change colour but the sun still shines. Check out these events in October in France 2020.

Chartres lit up at Saint aignan church with facade totally covered in different coloured lights
Chartres lit up Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

To Oct 10, 2020: 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.  

Large wicker bowls full of plants at Chaumont Garden Festival
Chaumont-sur-Loire Garden Festival

To Nov 3, 2020: The International Garden Festival takes place at the beautiful Chaumont-sur-Loire château in the Loire Valley. It’s like the Chelsea Flower Show of France, except that it goes on for just over 7 months. The series of gardens from international designers always surprises.

Bottles of top Bordeaux wines with 2 glasses
Bordeaux Wines. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

October, 2020:  Wine harvest festivals across France. Check the local tourist offices for celebrations where you are.

Yellow lotus elise sport at the Paris motor show on a stand
Lotus Elise Sport Paris Motor Show Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Oct 1-11, 2020: The Paris Motor Show at Porte de Versaille is one of the major motor shows in the world. It takes place every 2 years.

La Rochelle at night with the towers lit up reflected in the sea
La Rochelle Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Early October: (Date to be confirmed) 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.

Facade of the Louvre in Paris lit up at night
Louvre at night Wikimedia CC BY-SA-30

Oct 5, 2020: (Date to be confirmed) 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 10, 11, 2020: The 25th Hour of the Book in Le Mans, Sarthe, has over 200 authors, 80 publishers and 30,000 visitors. It’s for French speakers only, but if you are a bibliophile and a French speaker, it’s the one to make for.

peppers hanging from a ceiling drying in bistro style restaurant in Bayonne
Peppers drying in a Bayonne Restaurant. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Oct 24-26, 2020: (Date to be confirmed) 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.

3 models in dresses made of chocolate
Chocolate frocks at the Paris Chocolate Fair

Oct 30-Nov 3, 2020: 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 irrestible, 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 October, this is the most wacky.

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

Oct 31-Nov 11, 2020: 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.

Events in France throughout 2020:
Events in April 2020
Events in May 2020
Events in June 2020
Events in July 2020
Events in August 2020
Events in September 2020
Events in November 2020
Events in December 2020

Read more about Christmas markets in France
Read more about Christmas markets in north France



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