Autumn-Winter events in France
Many people consider France to be a classic summer holiday destination, but there’s a lot to be said for visiting the country during the autumn-winter months. Many major music and arts festivals take place through the autumn, and Christmas in Paris is a truly unforgettable experience.
Here are just a few events in Northern and Central France that you might want to pay a visit to as part of an off-season holiday.
The Braderie de Lille (September)
In the first weekend of September the picturesque city of Lillie hosts the largest flea market and brocante fair in France. A bargain-hunter’s paradise, for 33 hours between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night you can buy or sell practically anything you could imagine from over 10,000 vendors across 100km of stands. Pop-up restaurants also abound, offering unique French delicacies and an annual contest to see which restaurant can build the highest pile of empty mussel shells.
Brittany Film Festival of Dinard (October)
A British film festival in France might sound odd, but the region of Brittany has always had strong links to the UK. Every October the port of Dinard hosts a mix of classics and new works from British filmmakers, with many free screenings, special events and the annual Golden Hitchcock award.
The Christmas Markets of France (November-December)
The French Christmas markets have a fantastic atmosphere mixing traditional seasonal celebrations with a unique Gallic flair. Most French towns host a market of some description, with Lille offering a wonderful family atmosphere in a location that’s highly convenient for British travellers. Alternatively, what could be more romantic than spending Christmas in Paris, with the stunning views of the city draped in magnificent lights?
Dunkirk Carnival (January-February)
For six weeks from late January to mid-March, the port town of Dunkirk celebrates an extended carnival season, wiping away any trace of winter blues with a packed schedule of parades, parties and special events. The carnival peaks with ‘La Bande’ a huge parade in which thousands of locals and visitors take to the streets in an array of fabulous costumes to dance, sing and celebrate well into the night.
Enduropale du Touquet (February)
Motorsport fans from all over the globe flock to La Touquet in February for the legendary Enduropale weekender, one of the toughest courses in the world. On Saturday around 1,000 motorcycles and 500 quad bikes tackle the course in front of a crowd of spectators that regularly exceeds 300,000. On the Sunday, amateur competitors get the chance to compete alongside some of the biggest stars in racing on the same track, facing the same challenges. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a racing superstar for a day, this is an event not to be missed!
Getting to Northern France
With DFDS Seaways, getting to Northern France couldn’t be easier. Our ferries make regular daily crossings along four major routes - Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newhaven to Dieppe and Portsmouth to Le Havre. Our ferries accommodate vehicles of all sizes, from cars and motorcycles to coaches and caravans. Our Dunkirk and Calais services run all through the day from early morning to late night, making them the perfect choice for a day trip or weekend break.