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June 13, 2024

The Top 15 Annual French Food Festivals

8 min read

We do not advise visiting France if you do not want to sample its famed gastronomic culture. Every area has something to offer, from the delectable pastries and Michelin-starred restaurants of Paris to the warm Mediterranean tastes of Provence and the incredibly fresh seafood of Brittany. You may satisfy your inquisitive taste buds at events all year long that are intended to highlight regional food, chefs, and goods. We’ve put up a month-by-month list of the greatest culinary festivals in France to help you organize your vacation around one or more of them.

January: Dordogne’s Sarlat Truffle Festival

Take a journey to the southwest and the Dordogne area to start off the culinary year. In addition to being well-known for its regional cuisine, the region is a significant hub for black truffles, or “black gold” as they are called in France. The highly scented fungus is featured in a delicious assortment of meals and goods during the Sarlat Truffle Festival, which takes place in mid-January.

The rich taste and scarcity of the black truffle make it valuable, unlike the chocolate confection made in the Belgian manner that resembles it. Visitors may peruse the shops and kiosks at the renowned truffle market during the festival in Sarlat-la-mayéda to sample a variety of items, including fresh pasta laced with truffle and infused oils, as well as delicate slices of truffe on toasted bread. Additionally, there are culinary classes, events, and demos that you may attend.

February: Loire Valley Wine & Gastronomy’s “Food’ Angers”

Situated among the Loire Valley, Angers serves as a regional center for exceptional gastronomy. The fourth edition of the Food’Angers festival honors the creativity of regional restaurants and chefs as well as the diversity and quality of Loire Valley wines, which are mostly whites and sparkling whites.

Indulge in culinary classes and demonstrations, wine, beer, and food tastings, and watch chefs compete in a live cooking competition.

French Cuisine Festival (Gout de France) in March or April

Every year, a number of cities throughout France host this massive celebration of French gastronomy. Travelers have plenty of chances to try both classic cuisine and creatively reimagined versions of them.

The schedule is relatively flexible, but you can anticipate food trucks, markets, and stalls along with cooking classes and demonstrations, meet-and-greets with well-known French chefs, and an emphasis on the unique delicacies of each area.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to France for the celebrations; French-style meals are held in local eateries and embassies in around 150 countries, potentially close to where you live.

April: Festival de la Coquille Saint-Jacques (Brittany Scallop Festival)

This one is for the fans of seafood and shellfish: two days devoted only to scallops and their culinary uses. Celebrated annually in one of three towns in the Brittany area of France, the festival features very fresh scallops that are caught locally and are prepared into delectable hot and cold meals.

You’ll be sure to have your scallops in their freshest form whether you want them grilled, sautéed, or tiny filets that perfectly compliment a meal of spaghetti. The most delicious scallops, caught right off of the Bay of Saint-Brieuc and its surrounding seas, are sold by local fisherman and seafood vendors in the port towns around the bay. Wander around the stalls and savor the delicate nuances of shellfish in all of its forms.

April: Bayonne Ham Festival, or Foire au Jambon de Bayonne.

Local artisan ham producers congregate in the ancient town of Bayonne during this event in the heart of the French Basque Country, offering a wide array of customary goods for sale. Sellers sell entire hams that have been cured and smoked in addition to a variety of treats that include the tasty meat (sandwiches, quiches, etc.). Every year, a single, proud craftsman wins the title of finest Jambon de Bayonne.

Celebrated for centuries, starting in 1462, this celebration provides a vibrant and fascinating glimpse into Basque customs.

May: Paris Taste

Snacking on hundreds of delicacies from some of the greatest bakeries, patisseries, restaurants, and food stores all in one place—what could be better? Visitors have just that chance at Taste of Paris. Every year in the spring, a four-day event including tastings, cooking demonstrations, “meet and greets” with renowned and up-and-coming chefs, and culinary seminars takes place beneath the magnificent glass rooftop of the Grand Palais, bringing together chefs and restaurateurs.

Spend an afternoon exploring the festival’s temporary eateries and booths, where you can savor small servings of popular meals from some of the most sought-after chefs, craftspeople, and food producers in the city. Approximately one hundred of them participate in the occasion, which began in 2015 and has since become a mainstay of the food calendar.

June: Bordeaux Wine Festival

Bordeaux is often associated with wine. This festival validates that mystique, but it’s not limited to wine enthusiasts: the banks of the Garonne river are turned into a lively promenade and fair, where nearby eateries and food vendors erect booths next to the vineyards. This is an interesting gourmet event in one of the major cities in France, so don’t come for the wine.

Of course, you have to attend this event if you’re interested in wine. You may sample dozens of wines from the Bordeaux region’s top appellations (winemaking districts), ranging from Sauternes to St-Emilion, at a fair price. For certain tastings, you also get a case and a souvenir glass.

At a special occasion, connoisseurs of fine wine may taste “Grands crus,” which are rare, costly wines from prominent wineries. This laid-back celebration is rounded off with live music and unique activities onboard elegant historic ships docked on the riverbanks.

The Savoie Cheese Festival is in June or July.

Would you be up for a summertime trip to the French Alps? Warm days spent exploring the mountains covered with wildflowers may become even more perfect when you add some delectable regional cheese into the mix.

From Reblochon to Bauges, this yearly event visits many of the area’s historic cheesemaking villages and cities. Meet some of the greatest producers in the area as you peruse kiosks piled high with mouthwatering local cheeses.

Try some of your favorites: Emmental (known for its holes), Raclette (perfect for melting and savoring with heated potatoes), Tomme de Savoie (a pressed cheese produced with sheep’s or cow’s milk), and the very scented and heady Reblochon.

August: The Oyster Festival in Arcachon Bay

Unite, oyster lovers! France’s southwest Atlantic coast, and more especially the placid, temperate waters of Arcachon Bay, are key hubs for exquisite, freshly harvested oysters.

The annual Fete de l’Huitre (Oyster Festival) takes over many villages around the bay, including Arès, in mid-August. Experience the huitre (pronounced whee-truh) in its purest, most basic form, served uncooked on the shell with buttered toast and lemon, and a glass of cold local white wine. Or sample them in a variety of prepared meals, such as spaghetti and stews.

October: Paris’s Veggie World

Travelers who are vegan or trying to cut down on their intake of animal products should go straight to this yearly festival, which takes place in October at the 104 (Centquatre) arts and cultural center in Paris.

The expo this year is aimed mostly at vegan food experts, but on some days it’s also available to the general public. This is a fun chance to sample vegan food items and goods from across the globe, as well as take part in cooking classes and other activities. This place is a gastronomic wonderland, offering everything from delectable vegan cheeses to burger patties and sweets.

Lyon Street Food Festival in October

Lyon is a gastronomic powerhouse that many travelers seem to miss. This southeast French city is home to the renowned chef Paul Bocuse and has an unusually high number of Michelin-starred restaurants in addition to one of the top food markets in the nation.

For those of us with more restless wallets and inquisitive tastes, there’s fortunately also an annual street food festival. The event, which bills itself as a “culinary road trip,” brings together some 100 chefs and food artisans from France and across the world to the Rhone-Alpes capital. Events include culinary seminars and workshops, get-togethers with notable chefs, tastings, and live music. There’s a world of flavour to savour here, with everything from Hong-Kong-style food trucks to exquisite French pastries and tastes of creative regional specialties.

Additionally in October: Paris’s Vendanges de Montmartre

Have you ever wondered whether the French capital makes any wine at all? The response: Not much at all these days. However, this traditional harvest celebration provides the unique chance to sample some for the inquisitive among you.

First held in 1934, the Vendanges de Montmartre is a celebration of the city’s only surviving vineyard, located at 14–18 Rue des Saules, amid the high heights of Paris’ Montmartre area. It continues to produce around 1,500 bottles of gamay and pinot noir wines annually.

This event serves as a poignant reminder of Montmartre’s previously prosperous agricultural region outside the city boundaries, a region once covered in grapes. At the Vendanges festival, you may taste a range of wines along with some regional cuisine. Live music, seminars, and peculiar rites and processions with colorfully regalia-clad local leaders are also available. Briefly put? If you are ever in Paris in October, think about setting aside some time to enjoy the harvest.

November: Paris’s Salon du Chocolat

Though I don’t want to celebrate Halloween, I do appreciate that chocolate is involved. If you’re craving something sweet, here’s how to make the most of late October through early November in the capital: visit the annual Chocolat Salon.

Explore the stands to sample delicious chocolate-based confections, such as dark, premium bars, chocolate truffles, pralines, cakes, and patisseries, as well as savory sauces made with the substance. Is there a better method to regain your bounce amid the gloomy days of November?

There’s even a yearly fashion event when models wear outfits decorated with chocolate and walk down a catwalk.

November also brings the Dijon International Fair.

This massive trade expo in the Burgundian town of Dijon, renowned for the sharp mustard that bears the same name, has an expansive area devoted to food and cuisine.

Over ten days of culinary classes conducted by local chefs, gourmet tastings, and cooking demonstrations are available to visitors, among many other activities.

Given its proximity to Paris, a detour to Burgundy and a visit to the quaint medieval town of Dijon may make the most of a November vacation to the French city.

December: Visit French Christmas markets to sample traditional treats

Festive Christmas markets appear all throughout France at the end of the year, from Provence to the Loire Valley, and from Alsace to Paris. Joyful wooden kiosks in the Alsatian tradition provide a variety of seasonal pleasures. Imagine freshly prepared, warm crepes covered with Nutella or dusted with sugar and lemon. Warm spiced wine, poured into paper cups, simplifies the process of remaining warm. Most stores include pretzels, toasty almonds, cakes and pastries, dried fruits, and a plethora of other seasonal delicacies.

In the meanwhile, if you happen to be in Provence, be sure to sample a couple of the renowned “13 desserts of Christmas.” Almonds, white nougat, candied fruits or confits, marzipan, delicately iced fruit-based sweets called calissons, and white nougat are some of these Provencal delights.

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