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South of France Events

Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than combining hedonistic pleasures and environmental correctness, and that’s just what you can do if you decide to go to Marseille from March 12-17 and attend the 6th World Water Forum, organized by The World Water Council.

Marseille from the Sea Marseille from the Sea

A major undertaking that is as daunting as necessary, the World Water Forum has been mobilizing creativity, innovation, competence and know-how when it comes to water from 180 countries every three years since 1997. This is where all stakeholders work together on today’s local, regional and global issues to come up with a common set of goals for the future. Read the entire story here…»


Carnival in Nice, France Carnival in Nice, France

When winter does not seem to end and you need a little pick me up, it is hard not to think sea, sun and fun, isn’t it? In which case there is hope in what may be the hottest remedy in France: one of the most popular events on the French Riviera and one of the largest parties of its kind in the world, the Nice Carnival will take place this year from February 17 to March 4. Its theme will be “King of Sports”, which refers to the upcoming 2012 London Olympics as well as to the boundless dynamism of the fifth most populous city in the country.

Known for its colorful extravagance, the Nice Carnival will comprise various parades, presenting a total of 20 meticulously decorated and all-around dazzling floats, which will readily engage in the eagerly awaited “Battle of Flowers”.  As the tradition goes, this is when elegantly dressed characters throw mimosas, gerberas and lilies into the public along the famed Promenade des Anglais. At night, the parades of lights will brightly illuminate the city and may even prove to be more spectacular than their daytime counterparts. All in all, over 1,000 musicians and dancers will continuously entertain the crowds at many locations in the heart of Nice. Read the entire story here…»


Valentines Day Valentines Day

One of the most romantic civilizations in the world, you’d think that the French hold a special place in their hearts for Valentine’s Day.  And sure enough, even if the occasion does not bring about a spectacular explosion of pink knick knacks and cute teddy bears, the day is still celebrated with all kinds of festivities.

The scopes of the celebrations vary widely, but if you had to pick one this year, it would have to be the “Festival of the Kiss” (La Festo de Poutoun) in the lovely medieval town of Roquemaure, in Provence, also known as “The Capital of Lovers”, from February 10 through 12. During those three days, several events will take place such as a commemoration of the arrival of Saint Valentine’s mortal remains in 1868 with more than 800 costumed people, horse-drawn carriages and horsemen forming a parade that will go through a town immersed in the 19th century with its shops, post office, open air market, gazebo, merry-go-round and, of course, Lovers’ Fountain, meticulously decorated as they were back then. Read the entire story here…»


The Russian cathedral in Nice The Russian cathedral in Nice

The Russians’ love affair with the Riviera is a well-known fact, and one of their favorite playgrounds has always been the irresistible city of Nice with its unique location on the Bay of angels, its perfect climate, and its ubiquitous cosmopolitan flair.  One of the most famous of those expatriates was the ultimate modernist Marc Chagall, who decided to move to this then new artistic center after the Second World War. Today the general public is able to become extensively acquainted with the painter’s œuvre thanks to the Musée National Marc Chagall, which is entirely dedicated to the artist’s numerous works in various media such as paintings, stained glass, book illustrations, ceramics, tapestries, decorations and tapestries.

From now until the end of January, the special exhibit “Mais quel cirque!” (“What a circus!”)– a play on words from an expression that conveys surprise at a messy situation and the circus, one of his favorite subjects – presents 38 rare gouaches that he painted in 1955. Whether exploding with bright colors or oozing nostalgia and mystery, they will not fail to take you into Chagall’s fascinating inner world.

Between Nice and Cannes, in the lovely town of Biot, the Musée National Fernand Léger presents its own twin exhibition starring “Cirque”, the lithographed masterpiece that the French artist created in 1950. You’ll also be able to admire many other works of this ground-breaker in the fields of paintings, sculpture and film-making, which extensively explain why so many have considered him the forerunner of Pop Art. Read the entire story here…»


Equestrian Equestrian

The delightful medieval town of Avignon in Provence has a couple of undisputed reasons that can explain its World Heritage Site status: its beautifully preserved historic center surrounded by its no less historic ramparts, the stunning Palace of the Popes, still quietly dominating the area after eight centuries, and it broken bridge, the pont Saint-Bénézet, immortalized in the popular French children song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”. Its world-famous summer festival focusing on the performing arts has also put it on the international cultural map once and for all.

However, if you happen to be there in January 2012, do not miss the “Cheval Passion” event, an annual must for all horse lovers and those who wish to become better acquainted with this noble animal. From January 18 to 22, 2012 Avignon will become the European capital of the equestrian world with about 1,200 horses, 250 exhibitors and more than 100 000 visitors. You will be able to sample a wide variety of disciplines such as training, harnessing, acrobatics and horse-ball, which give the perfect opportunity for many different riders to get together and compare notes. You will be able to mingle with cowboys, republican guards, acrobats, whisperers, hikers, artists and competition winners while enjoying some magical shows at night fall. All in all, 90 hours of entertainment have been organized for a memorable experience! Read the entire story here…»


Row houses in Arles, France Row houses in Arles, France

Provence” is a name that never fails to evoke a myriad of boundless pleasures such as dramatic landscapes, penetrating scents, vivid colors, delicious food, mild weather, and much more. On the other hand, this vast topic can appear as rather intimidating to first-timers wondering where to start as well as veterans feeling there’s always more to discover. That’s when the annual event “L’Art de vivre en Provence” (The Art of Living in Provence) comes in handy by not only filling you in on everything you’ll ever need to know about this magnificent region, but also by doing it in the attractive Roman city of Arles.

That’s where this year, from November 24 to 28, the huge Provencal fair will host 150 exhibitors over almost 38,000 square feet, including a rest area and four food courts, and will welcome you in a totally magical world right on time to kick start the holiday season. You will get to sample many local specialties such as Camargue salt, Alpilles lamb, goat cheese and almond paste, all while sipping some light but memorable wines. Your palate will never be the same. Read the entire story here…»


A Plaza in Aix-en-Provence, South of France A Plaza in Aix-en-Provence, South of France

The cosmopolitan town of Aix-en-Provence is worth a stay under any circumstances, but if you’re a fan of cinema, then you definitely want to stop there between November 28 and December 2 for the Festival Tous Courts.  As its name indicates, this highly regarded cultural event has been focusing on short films directed by young artists for the past 28 years. More than ever dedicated to provide budding creators from all over the world with an opportunity to express themselves, participate in workshops, work and play together, this festival is also the perfect opportunity for any movie lover to discover new talents while enjoying the charms of one of the France’s most sophisticated towns.

Once you’ve had your fill of celluloid thrills, you can go out and explore everything that the former capital of independent Provence has to offer. Wandering the colorful, lively streets of the Old Town and the dignified, tree-lined avenues of the 17th and 18th centuries, you’ll come across attractive squares, fancy fountains and ornate buildings. Celebrated art institutions and prestigious schools have been ubiquitous since the early days and explain why Aix has remained consistently popular among students and art connoisseurs of all ages. Read the entire story here…»


Promenade des Anglais Promenade des Anglais

Even if running 26.2 miles is definitely not your idea of fun, shouting your unwavering support from the sidelines to the thousands of people who are inexplicably putting themselves through this punishment can be very rewarding.

And it is even more rewarding if you do it on the French Riviera, somewhere between Nice and Cannes on November 20, during the 4th edition of the “Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes”. Starting on the famous Promenade des Anglais and ending on the no less famous Croisette, the marathon course offers stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea on 92% of its stretch. So the only problem you will have is to find the perfect spot from where you will be able to whole-heartedly encourage the endless parade of brave or poor souls (depending on how you look at it) running by.

The Promenade des Anglais is of course one of Nice’s main attractions, but the city has much more going for it. Although it is the largest city on the French Riviera, its Old Town has managed to nurture an irresistible small town charm in its narrow but colorful streets, all lined up with traditional restaurants, bars and shops of all sorts. Do not miss the Flower Market on Cours Saleya, where you’ll be able to buy not only flowers, but also an incredible range of local produce. Read the entire story here…»


Just as you’re slowly getting ready to put the shamelessly hedonistic times of summer behind, why not ease yourself into more intellectual pursuits by going to France for the “Salon des écrivains” (writers’ salon) in Fuveau, right outside the beautiful Aix-en-Provence? Since 1990, this lovely village has been hosting hundreds of writers from all over the world as well as their dedicated or accidental readers on the first weekend of September. And along the years this literary get-together has become an increasingly influential event where everybody casually mingles or engages in deep philosophical discussions in a totally relaxed atmosphere.

Salon des écrivains Logo Salon des écrivains Logo

You’re still feeling that you’re not ready for that much brain stimulation yet? No problem. On that very same weekend, the annual Saint-Michel celebration will keep your mind (and taste buds) focused on no less worthy pleasures as the popular tradition will allow you to sample a wide variety of local produce, from fruity olive oils to sinful cheeses, sweet-smelling honey, and wines in all three colors. And, of course, nothing prevents you from duplicating your enjoyment by heartily combining gustatory and intellectual experiences. Read the entire story here…»


Bocce on the Beach Bocce on the Beach

The second largest city of France, Marseille is also the oldest one, stretching back all the way to antiquity. Add to that a dreamy location by the sea, a coveted Mediterranean climate and the influence of many cultures brought by the constant flow of immigrants throughout the centuries, then you can see why the capital of the Provence-Côte d’Azur region can easily become a vacation destination in itself.

Summer is a busy time for the South of France, when hordes of stressed out visitors converge from all around the world to relax and explore. But for the past 11 years, Marseille has gone one step further by offering its “Activités sportives de plages” (“Beach Sporting Activities”) from the first weekend of July to the last weekend of August. So once you’ve marveled at the historic sites and unwounded on the warm sand, you will have to the perfect opportunity to get back in shape and have fun at the same time with more than 23 activities divided into three categories.

Among the aquatic options you can, for example, test your skills at water polo or good old swimming, keep fit with aquagym or be plain silly with body-boarding.

The nautical buffs will be able to go on an adventure in a pirogue or a paddle.

But it is on the ground that choices truly abound: from the local tradition of pétanque (or bocce) to the Chinese martial art of tai chi, without forgetting archery, skateboarding, boxing, rugby and more, feel free to go knock yourself out! Read the entire story here…»