Beaches, wine, good food and the occasional museum. These are holiday classics that never fail to satisfy the average holiday goer. They do however lack a certain originality. What else can one do in France in August? You may roll your eyes at this seemingly ridiculous question, but in a month when everything shuts down and Paris is left to the tumbleweed, you may find yourself at a loss. We’ve put together a list of five events happening in France during this summer that are sure to tickle your fancy and get you up off that beach bed and into a musical or visual adventure.
In August, experience this major Celtic music festival that takes place in Brittany. This year, the festival will focus on Scottish culture. Be serenaded by voices, and bagpipes alike. The likes of Amy Macdonald and Anabel Santiago will be playing, along with younger groups such as Alaw. I want to find out more.
If you like classical music, then this is the festival for you. The festival will take place 18 August-3 September in La Côte Saint André, situated between Lyon and Grenoble. This year the festival has a strong British focus, featuring work by Purcell, Handel, Elgar and Maxwell-Davies, renowned conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Douglas Boyd and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. If the idea of listening to classical music over a glass of wine in the heart of the French countryside brings you holiday fever; we definitely recommend you give this one a try! I want to find out more.
David Hockney Exhibition Pompidou
Should you pass by Paris on your way to somewhere along the coast, then make sure you stop by the Centre Pompidou. A collection of David Hockney’s work is being exhibited at this world-renowned museum until the end of September. The exhibition celebrates Hockney’s 80th birthday, retracing his entire career through more than 160 works (paintings, photographs, engravings, video installations, drawings and printed works), including his most iconic paintings as well as some of his more recent creations. (now closed)
Jeu de Paume
Having seen the Hockney exhibition, why not then saunter over to Concorde to the Jeu de Paume? This year Oscar Murillo, an artist originally from Colombia but now based in the UK, traces and documents a journey through Europe, Asia, North Africa and Latin America, exploring the importance of culture in relation to our sense of place, community and belonging. Going to both the Hockney exhibition and the Jeu de Paume are excellent ways to spend an August day in Paris, followed of course by a picnic along the Seine! The Jeu de Paume will be on in September, giving you plenty of time to discover its exhibitions.
Arles : Les rencontres de la photographie
Now we head to the very south of France. With more than 40 exhibitions and 100,000 visitors, the Arles festival promises to delight your visual senses as it exhibits photography from all over the world, as well as talks, workshops and guided visits. It will be running throughout the month of August until 24 September. Useful for those of you who want to avoid the summer crowds! I want to find out more.
Having covered the four corners of the hexagon, we hope our suggestions have equipped you with more than enough culture to nourish your summer holidays!
If you know of any other French cultural festivals taking place in August, let us know by sharing your suggestion with us below!