Discover the coolest family-friendly French festivals which are actually ideal for all of us!
Good news! If you have kids and you are searching for ideas to enjoy the time in France. There are plenty of family-friendly French festivals that are ideal for the visitors of all ages. I am impressed by the French way of including the babies, kids in the cultural life from when the kids are little. The parents take them to any important events, crowds, among art and culture and therefore there are so many events made for kids and parents but ideal for all of us. Therefore, I have noted and want to share with you the coolest French family friendly festivals! Are you ready?
- Festival Marionnette. It is an annual event founded in 1961, and taking place in Charleville-Mézières. Its ambition is to promote the art of puppetry and to make known and appreciate the evolution of this art in the world. The festival lasts ten days. It features on and off shows, and brings together about 150,000 spectators. Over thirty nations are present, representing about 130 companies and 150 shows, plus meetings, exhibitions, street performances, and other festive events are happening during the famous festival. From 2009, the festival, triennial at the beginning, became biennial, thanks to the growing success of the event. When & where: September, Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes.
- Christkindelsmärik. It is a Christmas market held annually in Strasbourg, on the Grande Île near Strasbourg Cathedral and Place Kléber. It draws in approximately 2 million visitors each year and since the arrival of TGV service in Strasbourg in 2007, the number of visitors has been on the rise. It is considered one of the most famous Christmas markets throughout Europe. It is estimated that the city benefits of a 16 million Euros profit from this 38-day-long tradition. It is mostly famous for its fragrance of mulled wine, huge Christmas tree, Christmas spirit, decorations, fairs etc. When & where: December, Strasbourg.
- The Nice Carnival. It is one of the world’s major carnival events, alongside the Brazilian Carnival and Venetian Carnival. It is held annually in February in Nice on the French Riviera. Started in 1294 and in 1873 with a real committee, the Carnival was reinvented into a parade, adding masquerades, satirical floats and competitions. Today the event attracts over a million visitors to Nice every year. Every year, a special theme is chosen, and traditional artists create 18 floats and other figurines in traditional papier-mâché for the colorful parade. When & where: February, Nice.
- La Pourcailhade. Also known as La Fete du Cochon, is a festival held each year in August in the town of Trie-sur-Baïse, in the Hautes-Pyrénées department of south-western France. It was first held in 1975 and was organised by La Confrérie du Cochon or the Brotherhood of the Pig. The festival involves displays, pig races, eating contests and other competitions. The most popular competition was “Le Championnat de France du Cri de Cochon” (“French Pig-Squealing Championships”), in which contestants had to imitate the pigs make at various stages in their life. It sounds very funny and indeed it is ideal for families. When & where: August, Trie-sur-Baïse, in the Hautes-Pyrénées.
- La Cavalcade de Scaër. It is a carnival festival that takes place in the town of Scaër, a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France. Every odd year since 1923, during the Pentecost weekend (Sunday and Monday), about 5,000 inhabitants of Scaër welcome about 50,000 spectators for The Cavalcade Carnival, which the town owes its nickname: “Scaër la Joyeuse” (“Scaër the Merry”). For example, during the 2019 edition, there were 21 tanks, 1500 carnivals, fanfares and street performers marched through the streets of Scaër. The evenings during the carnival continue in music with a big concert at “Village Cavalcade”! When & where: every 2 years, Pentecost weekend, Scaër, Brittany.
- Coupe Icare. Also known as the Icarus Cup, is an annual festival of free flight held between Saint-Hilaire and Lumbin. For 46 years, the Icare Cup has been the world’s largest paragliding, paramPPhotor and aerial sports event. 4 days of celebration, 10,000 pilots, 90,000 visitors, 1,000 volunteers. The festival offers a lot: Icarnaval, Icape expo, Icare show. On top of that, Coupe Icare is best known for its Concours de déguisements (Masquerade Flight contest), in which the paraglider and hang glider pilots fly in costume to compete for prizes. Coupe Icare features aerial acrobatics, hang gliders, paragliders, and hot air balloons. In addition to flight competitions, live entertainment, and street performances, the festival offers children’s activities and a flight museum. When & where: early autumn (September), Saint-Hilaire and Lumbin.
- Fêtes médiévales de Cordes. Also known as the Grand Falconer’s Medieval Festival was created in 1971 to celebrate the 750th birthday of the town of Cordes-sur-Ciel. Since then, they have taken place year after year in July, bringing the Middle Ages to life in the town. For two days, a series of shows take place to the sound of horses’ hooves on the pavement, mixed in with the sound of tambourines, bagpipes, lutes, fiddles and oboes, against a backdrop of old buildings worn by the passing of time. Town residents, fire-eaters, troubadours, jugglers, falconers, musicians, knights, fair ladies and peasants wear medieval costumes. The Grand Falconer’s Medieval Festival includes camps, torch-lit processions by day and night, playlets, concerts, balls, fire shows, and children’s games and activities. The festival offers a fantastic day out ideal for families. When & where: July, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Languedoc-Roussillon
- Les Rencontres Internationales de Cerfs-Volants de Berck-sur-Mer (RICV). Simply speaking it is an International Kite Festival organised every year. During 9 days in April, sea animals, strange flying creatures, giant octopodes, liven up the sky of Berck-sur-Mer. The world’s best professional kite flyers prepare the shows of synchronized choreographies (megateams) and rokkakus’ peace-full combats (hexagonal kite inspired by the japanese culture). Every two years the World Championship of Cervoling (in-line team competition) takes place on the beach of Berck-sur-Mer. For the duration of the festival a wide range of activities is offered : The Jardin du Vent “Windgarden” designed thanks to recycled materials; the kites construction academy, the kite flight school, the international delegations’ exhibition stands, the Nightflight and fireworks. As you can imagine, it is ideal for kids and adults of all ages. When & where: April, Berck, Pas-de-Calais.
- Les Médiévales de Provins. It is a big medieval festival, one of the biggest in Europe, inviting its visitors onto an unforgettable journey to the Middle Ages: full-scale historical re-enactments of the Champagne Fairs, camps, craftspeople, builders, dances and juggling. Provins Medieval Festival attracts musicians, acrobats, stilt-walkers and entertainers from all over Europe. At the foot of the ramparts, the camps give visitors a taste of everyday life during the period. There are many craftspeople displaying products from the old days: art objects, fabrics, spices, jewellery, costumes and musical instruments. There is also fun for children, with activities and medieval games such as quoits, skittles and wooden swords. When & where: June, Provins, Ile-de-France.
- La fête de la Saint-Louis. This is one of France’s most weird and wonderful cultural events is the Saint-Louis Festival. Saint Louis is the patron saint of the Mediterranean town of Sète, and each year, his feast day is celebrated by an unusual water sport. Saint Louis is also the long-awaited appointment by jousters for their final tournament of the year: a real world championship in each of the categories. Six days of non-stop festivities around the Cadre Royal, in the streets and squares where the visitors merge with Sète’s, citizens: residents or expatriates, who never miss this colourful appointment. Kids love this exciting spectacle, and the atmosphere by the water is fabulous. When & where: August, Sète, Languedoc-Roussillon
So did you choose anything suitable for yourself, your family or friends! I have already had my preferences but if you know other cool family friendly festivals in France, please let me know. I will grow my list of things I want to see, do and experience in France!