Tourist Attractions in France, where to go and what to do…
Summer is here at last! July is one of the most popular times to visit France, and the weather this time of year can be glorious (and often quite hot).
Here are monthly high and low (approximate) temperatures for some of the main french cities:
Weather in France in July
|City||Average Low C°/F°||Average High C°/F°|
There is an amazing variety of events, celebrations and concerts going on in July so there will be no shortage of fun vacation ideas.
The country’s most important national holiday is on July 14th – Bastille Day. No matter where you are in France, there will be all sorts of parties, fireworks and parades taking place. Paris throws the biggest of course, with a military parade and airshow in the morning on the Champs-Elysees, followed by fireworks in the evening over the Trocadéro (across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower).
The longest organised picnic (The Incredible Picnic) in the world is also held on Bastille Day, stretching from Dunkirk down to the Spanish border.
The famous bicycle race, the Tour de France is also held in July (July 4th – 26th this year – 2009).
Tourist Attractions in France
If you are planning to visit France in July, keep in mind that the main tourist attractions in France can be very busy this year. Accommodation can get booked up well in advance, too.
Shops, banks and nearly all tourist attractions in France will be closed on Bastille Day.
All these things shouldn’t cause too much of a problem if you know about them and can plan around it. For example, if you would like to see some of the more famous tourist attractions in France, you might like to find out if they are open in the evenings (which might be less crowded); sometimes seeing them early in the morning or just before they close can be better. Some days may be busier than others for museums, too (often Sunday).
Another idea might be to check out some of the fascinating but lesser known places and interesting tourist attractions in France – see our Attractions page for some suggestions on places to visit.
Festivals in France
There are many festivals and events taking place in some interesting parts of France. How about:
- The Anjou Theatre festival, based in Angers (southwest of Paris), runs from June to July, offering both classical and contemporary performances that both the kids and adults will enjoy. Here is the festival website;
- Bayeux has a medieval festival with street entertainment, markets, concerts and parades, as well as a medieval ball – contact the Bayeux Tourist Office for more information;
- Alsace is also a great place to visit in July. The Colmar International Festival is held in a number of venues throughout the city, with concerts ranging from Bach and Hayden to Shostakovich; here is the festival website;
- For a french rural alpine experience, try Le Retour des Alpages in Annecy, where cows are taken ceremoniously down from their summer pastures by their herders in colourful costumes, to their stables for the autumn. It’s not a quiet event – expect to hear lots of cow bells ringing! You can also sample local farm specialities. Contact the Annecy tourist office firstname.lastname@example.org for specific dates;
- Love Mozart? Visit the tiny village of Saoû-soyans-Francillon for the Saoû Sings Mozart festival (running from June – July), with a host of concerts in churches, castles and village squares. Here is the festival website for more details;
The south of France is brimming with things to do.
- Nice has an excellent jazz festival (www.nicejazzfestival.fr), and is one of the best known jazz gatherings in the world;
- Aix-en-Provence has a few classical music festivals, such as the the Aix Festival (www.festival-aix.com) for classical and opera, or the Aix-en-Baroque (Baroque music festival) (http://www.orphee.org/);
- If you’re heading to the Riviera, the Antibes Music Festival has opera concerts at Villa Eilenroc on the Cap d’Antibes.
- The Jazz a Juan festival at Antibes-Juan les Pins is a very popular annual event, and takes place in the Pinède Gould (find out more on the Antibes website;.)
- The Avignon Festival is France’s equivalent to the Edinburgh festival, with anything from opera to dance and theatre, wonderful food and wine as well. Here is the festival website; there are also plenty of attractions, monuments and museums in Avignon to keep everyone happy;
- Les Chorégies d’Orange is the oldest festival in France, holding concerts in the town’s Roman theatre (www.choregies.com);
- The lovely town of Saint-Rémy de Provence also has a Wine and Crafts Festival in July, where you can sample local wine, olives and foie gras; as well as music concerts at night (http://www.saintremy-de-provence.com/);
If you’d like to visit other regions of France:
South of Lyon, Vienne hosts a jazz festival throughout June and July (Jazz à Vienne) and is one of the best festivals in France. Concerts are held in a roman amphitheatre and attracts more than 100,000 spectators each year. Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis have performed here. (http://www.jazzavienne.com/).
If you’re visiting the Dordogne, try the festival at Montignac, located on the Vezere river. This is a very traditional festival, with folk music and dancing. (http://www.festivaldemontignac.assoo.org/). There’s also a theatre festival, Festival des Jeux du Théâtre, in the lovely town of Sarlat, which has been running for more than 50 years. If you’re looking for interesting sites and tourist attractions in France, there are some great places to visit in this region. You might be interested in the Lascaux cave paintings and majestic Dordogne castles.
In Burgundy, there’s a Baroque Music Festival in Beaune in the Hospice de Beaune and the Collégiale Basilique Notre Dame (http://festivalbeaune.com/).