What To Do in France in June

What To Do in France in June

The sun is warming up the earth, days are stretching and the terrasses are getting busier…it can only mean one thing: summer is coming and the festival season is upon us in France! Check out France Today’s round-up of events and new exhibitions in June 2023

100 years of 24h du Mans – June 1-11 

In the words of Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race is ready to celebrate “100 years of passion, a unique moment for hundreds of thousands of people who come every year to experience an exceptional moment, with emotions that are passed on from generation to generation”. The occasion will be marked with special events for fans, including a unique exhibition at the museum, opening on June 1 and bringing together more than 60 cars that have won or taken part in the race. June 6 is devoted to the public with visits to the pits, an autograph session, and a pit stop challenge. On the big day, June 10, the festivities include a parade of cars and drivers, the intrepid Patrouille de France air squad, plus a fireworks and drones show followed by a concert. 

Le Jardin du Michel, Toul – June 2–4 

The Meurthe-et-Moselle town of Toul is host to this music festival which welcomes 18,000 or so fans every year. All genres are covered, from rock, soul and hip hop to bluegrass, reggae, electro and folk. This year’s headliners include NYC punks Gogol Bordello, Breton rockers Matmatah, and Californian hard rockers Papa Roach.  

Festival de l’Histoire de l’Art – June 2–4 

Free and open to all, this three-day festival celebrates the history of art, bringing together amateurs and experts from a range of fields to explore the richness of the visual arts from all periods. There are exhibitions, films, book fairs, conferences, workshops and guided tours, all at the lovely Château de Fontainebleau, just a short way south of Paris. 

Saint-Denis basilica just outside Paris © shutterstock

Festival de Saint Denis – June 2-27 

Highlighting Saint-Denis’ remarkable basilica and maison d’éducation de la Légion d’Honneur, this festival organises classical music concerts within the walls of these two major heritage sites. 

Festival de musique Baroque et Sacrée, Froville – June 3–July 9 

This is the 26th edition of Froville’s celebration of Baroque and church music. The town, a short way south of Nancy, has skilled musicians putting on the works of great composers such as Bach, Debussy, Satie, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi. 

Festival Chopin, Nohant – June 3 – July 26 

Celebrating the immense composer, this festival is holding its 57th edition along the theme of ‘Frédéric Chopin’s travels’. Renown performers alongside rising stars will interpret the works of the classical composer across over 35 concerts, shows and events held in the domaine George Sand, in the heart of the Berry county. 

Rouen Armada, June 8-18 

Along the banks of the Seine in Rouen, come and admire some of the world’s finest tall ships. Along with the ships, enjoy concerts, conferences, animations and more, all for free! 

Provins’ medieval fair

Les Médiévales de Provins – June 10–11 

“The biggest medieval festival in France,” is how the organisers describe it. That’s a bold claim, but when you see the knights, wenches, dancers, musicians, minstrels, acrobats, jousters, troubadours and fire-eaters, all of whom bring this joyous festival alive, you’ll see why. The beautiful medieval town of Provins (a UNESCO World Heritage Site southeast of Paris) is the backdrop to all these celebrations, including a concert, a ball and a parade through the streets with 700 people in medieval costume 

Orange Night Run, Paris – June 17 

As a taster for the Marathon pour Tous scheduled for the Olympics in August 2024, the Orange Night Run is a team relay-race – an ekiden. The Olympics committee and Orange have entered 1,000 runners’ bibs for the big August race in a draw that lucky runners could win. 

Les 24h du Temps, Besançon – June 17-18 

To celebrate the craftsmanship of Besançon’s clock-makers, this year’s festivities are combining those of the outdoor festival Grandes Heures Natures, creating one big themed event around time and sport. Conferences, workshops, animations, sporting challenges as well as an exhibition of about thirty clock-makers in the courtyard of the Time Museum will take place over a packed weekend. 

Festival International Montpellier Danse, June 20–July 4 

You’ll see just about every form of contemporary dance you can think of at this amazing annual festival in Montpellier. Now on its 43rd edition, it stages shows at venues around the city.  

Fete de la Musique © Thierry Dorlhiac via Flickr

Fete de la musique, France-wide – June 21 

Over the past 40 years, the annual Fête de la Musique on June 21 has become one of the most popular cultural events of the year, bringing together generations of revellers for free concerts in the streets, cafés, and public venues across France. 

Festival Django Reinhardt, Fontainebleau – June 22–25, 2023 

Named after the legendary Belgian jazz guitarist (who famously damaged his playing fingers in a fire in his Romani caravan), this festival in the park at the Château de Fontainebleau features artists such as Gregory Porter, Thomas Dutronc, Fatoumata Diawara and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Day passes start at €34; four-day tickets €110. 

Bordeaux wine festival ©Vincent Bengold

Bordeaux Fête le Vin, June 22-25 

Bordeaux Fête le Vin returns and thanks to the resounding success of its 2022 edition it will now come back every year instead of biannually. Just like last year, impressive tall ships will drop their mooring lines alongside the promenade on the mighty Garonne, with wine growers, professionals, artisanal producers, cultural sites, restaurants, and cellars all joining in the festive spirit. This winning combination of wine and music sees the famous promenade turn into a veritable wine route, with the chance to appreciate the diversity of the region’s wines and rich heritage.  

Reopening of the Provençal farmhouse of naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre – June 23 

In the Vaucluse, adopted land of nature scientist Jean-Henri Fabre, celebrate the bicentenary of his birth at L’Harmas, his Provençal farmhouse and beautiful garden entirely dedicated to biodiversity.

Music in and around the Nîmes amphitheatre

Festival de Nîmes, June 23–July 22 

For 21 nights over June and July, the Nîmes amphitheatre is host to musical acts of all genres. This year the line-up includes the blue-eyed soul of Simply Red, the indie rock of Placebo and the Arctic Monkeys, the crooning of Sam Smith, as well as the heavy metal of Slipknot. Something for everyone then. 

Festival de Carcassonne, June 26–July 29 

This summer festival at the Théâtre Jean-Deschamps in marvellous medieval Carcassonne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) features music, theatre, dance and comedy. There are some pretty big names playing this year, including Bob Dylan (on the opening night), Steve Hackett, José Carreras, Lang Lang, Tom Jones and Joe Bonamassa. Prices vary depending on the acts. 

Eurockéennes, Belfort – June 29 to July 2 

With Indochine, Orelsan, Skrillex and Sigur Rós, among many other big names on the line-up, this year’s edition of Eurockéennes in Belfort promises to be a truly electrifying experience. 

The Eurockéennes festival © Eurockeenes

Exhibitions starting this month 

Révélations, the International Fine Craft and Creation Biennial, Paris – 7-11 June 

Over 4 days, Révélations brings together more than 300 exhibitors in the Grand Palais Ephémère in the heart of Paris: creators, fine craft workers, manufacturers, galleries, designers, foundations, schools… to unveil unique and daring pieces specially created for the occasion. This 5th edition puts the African continent in the spotlight throughout the show. 

Leonardo and Anatomy, Clos Lucé – June 9 – September 17 

The exhibition, presented at the Château du Clos Lucé in the Loire Valley, takes visitors right to the heart of the De Vinci’s years as an anatomist and the emergence of new scientific methods such as dissection. The exhibition combines period books, sixteenth-century original drawings of Leonardo’s disciples, facsimiles, anatomical models, dissection instruments, installations and animated 3D video, allowing visitors to discover the anatomy of the human body in Leonardo’s footsteps. 

Lead photo credit : The epic 24-hour Le Mans race is celebrating its 100th anniversary © Jonathan Biche

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Sophie is Digital Editor for France Today. Raised in Burgundy to British parents, she grew up bilingual in a small village where summers were about forest walks and lazy swims in the river. A Franco-British citizen, she studied literature, then journalism in Paris and Cardiff before quickly dipping her toes (and quill) into travel writing. She’s been specialised and writing about France since 2016 and now works from her home office in north-east France.

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  •  Muhammad Khurram Alam
    2023-06-04 06:23:11
    Muhammad Khurram Alam
    Many many thanks for the newsletter I like your post very much plus very very happy to read it. It is an excellent platform to share culture, festivals tourism, health tips, travel guide etc. Helpful to close and understand eachother. People of France plays a significant role to strengthen relationships between the Countries. People to people contact is necessary to develop Peace Harmony Strength Unity Patience develop ability to move forward in difficult days. Many thanks Best Regards Khurram