Voiles de St. Tropez Voiles de St. Tropez

What's on in France this autumn

A whole load of Francophile fun this autumn, with music, cookery, boating and festivals galore.

France is a veritable wonderland in autumn, when the tourists go home the locals come out to play across the country, celebrating harvest time, empty beaches and authentic French cooking. We've rounded up the best events across France to keep you entertained this season:

Les Voiles de St Tropez

Sailing fans and those who appreciate the charms of St. Tropez and the Mediterranean can join in the annual Voiles de St Tropez event. A regular thing since 1999, it comes 30 years after the Club 55 Cup challenge and showcases the best in high tech sailing in one of the world’s most sought after bays. Organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, it’s all about high performance sailing and showing off the most beautiful classic sailboats and yachts around. Don’t miss the cutting edge GC32 Edmond de Rothschild: a 10-metre flying catamaran that is sure to wow the crowds. It’s also a great excuse to head to St Tropez off-season, while the sun still shines and the crowds have long disappeared. Boat shoes required. 26 September - 4 October 2015 lesvoilesdesaint-tropez.fr

Les Vendanges étoilées de Cassis


Calling all gourmets! The picturesque little town of Cassis, near Marseille comes alive every September, after the tourist season is all but over, with a fabulous culinary festival to celebrate its vineyards’ harvest. With special menus in 20 odd restaurants, with matching AOC Cassis wine menus, it’s the place to enjoy great local food on an affordable budget. In addition to bespoke menus, you can also catch cooking shows at the market, and from Michelin starred chefs on Saturday 27th at the Oustau Calendal. There’s even a kids’ patisserie workshop, barbecuing by the Weber Grill Academy and ‘garcon’ waiter-classes on the quayside.

CalanquesCalanques © Camping Le Vallon

While you’re there, don’t miss a boat ride in the beautiful ‘calanques’, just out of Cassis’ harbour, without a doubt one of France’s most scenic spots. 20 - 28 September www.les-vendanges-etoilees.com

La Nuit Blanche, Paris

blancnuit-gost-Paris-Select-Book'Ghosts' during Paris Nuit © Paris Select Book

A must on the Parisian cultural calendar, the “White Night” concept started in 2002 and now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Paris’ finest galleries, museums, city halls, and even swimming pools open their doors all night to visitors, and without an entry fee! Catch performances, concerts and street art displays throughout the city. To make travel easier, some metro lines will run all night for free too. It’s the perfect opportunity to see some of Paris’ best sights under the cover of darkness. This year’s theme is the World Climate Conference CPP21 which will be held in the city at the end of the year, so expect art with an eco-conscience on display from international artists such as Zhenchen Liu, Zimoun, Friedrich Van Schoor, Berlinde De Bruyckere or Erik Samakh and Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves. 3 - 4 October quefaire.paris.fr/nuitblanche

Festival Lumiere, Lyon

Fete-des-Lumieres-Place-des-TerreauxFête des Lumières © Lyon Tourism

Where better to hold a film festival, than the birthplace of the Lumiere Brothers, who invented Cinematography in 1895? Thanks to the Institut Lumiere, France’s second biggest city comes alive every October with the Festival Lumiere with actors, cinematographers, historians and authors congregating to celebrate all things silver screen. Focussing on the history of cinema, looking at pieces from the past, retrospectives and tributes, the Lumiere Award (Prix Lumière) recognises the achievements of international personalities. Past winners include Hollywood living legend Martin Scorses, Milos Forman, Gerard Depardieu, Ken Loach, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood and Pedro Almodovar. October 12-18 www.festival-lumiere.org

Avignon Blues Festival

'Rhin of Rock' at ABF © Sylvie Declas'Rhin of Rock' at ABF © Sylvie Declas

The Voice of the Blues presents the 18th edition of the Avignon Blues Festival, bringing a very different atmosphere, come right from the USA’s Deep South to the city of ‘popes’. Featuring the likes of the "Godfather of British Blues" John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Gospel singer Craig Adams, trumpet legend Dalle Blade & The Voices of New Orleans, and Soul star Sean Taylor, the music is both energetic, spiritual and packed with emotions. In addition to concerts, the festival features films such as the documentary ‘To me that's Blues’ tracing its history and origins. A perfect introduction to Blues... October 15-17 www.avignonbluesfestival.com

1 Les Voiles de St. Tropez
2 Les Vendanges étoilées de Cassis
3 Blanc Nuit
4 Festival Lumiere
5 Avignon Blues Festival