Spring Events in Provence Discover What’s On 2021
Spring Events in Provence
Spring in Provence is lovely. As is the case with most of the year, the sun shines brightly, but expect the odd rainstorm. Moisture in this period is critical for the grapes, olives, and almonds to start their growing cycles. In March and April, expect to see the apple, pear, apricot, cherry, and plum trees blooming. During May and June, watch for poppies, irises and the promise of future sunflowers.
The events listed below are annual happenings in the Provence and the Côte d’Azur. However, the actual dates for these events will change from year to year. The websites are listed below so that you can find out the current details. Please note this is not a comprehensive list of all the ongoing events. For activities near to your location, check local newspapers, flyers at the grocery stores, and tourism websites for festivals. Please follow Covid-19 protocols.
March in Provence – Côte d’Azur
Carrières de Lumières (until January 2, 2022): Carrières de Lumières combines sound, light and art in Les Baux de Provence, a production by Culturespaces. The quarry reopens on April 3rd with two new exhibitions, Wassily Kandinsky, the Odyssey of Abstraction, and Cezanne, the Master of Provence.
This old limestone quarry – Carrières de Lumières – is the largest fixed multimedia installation in France. The 14-metre high walls are the backdrop that 70 video projectors use to broadcast images. Buy your tickets online, and please read our visitor tips for Carrières de Lumières.
La Fête du Citron in Menton (returns in 2022): Since 1896, there has been a winter parade in Menton. The idea for festivities at this time of the year originated from a group of local hoteliers looking to keep their rooms filled. However, it was only in 1935 that the first Lemon Festival took place. Read more on the history here. Now, this annual 15-day event attracts over 200,000 spectators.
Carnaval de Nice (returns in 2022): Everyone should plan to visit the Carnaval de Nice at least once. This annual carnival rivals events in Brazil and Venice, Italy, for outrageous floats and frivolity. The Carnival festivities are set to run in 2022 with the theme “King of Animals,” featuring twin parades Corsi Carnavalesques and Batailles de Fleurs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For more information and specific dates, read more here.
The Mimosas are still blooming on the Côte d’Azur. La Route de Mimosa runs 130 km from Bormes-les-Mimosa, a medieval village on the coast to the Grasse, the perfume capital. Along the way, expect many photo opportunities with the beautiful yellow blooms as a backdrop. Eight towns participate in the official agenda, which runs from February through the end of March. Look for parades, art exhibits, guided visits and more. Here is the official website. During February, take advantage of guided walks and other ways to enjoy the blooms.
Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur (April 3 – 28, 2021): This garden festival is your chance to view a long list of fabulous gardens. There is a judged landscaping contest, free events, and themed gardens, running from April 3rd to the 28th, 2021. Note: The “Département des Alpes-Maritimes” map (available at tourist offices) includes 72 Gardens and Parks of the Côte d’Azur that are open to the public.
April in Provence – Côte d’Azur
Wine Tasting (April 9 – 11, 2021): Les Printemps de Châteuneuf du Pape takes place every year for a weekend in early April. For over a decade, winemakers in this renowned appellation present their latest wines to the public. This year there will be 90 wineries showcasing their wine. In addition, there are workshops, masterclasses, and a gastronomic market. According to Keith Van Sickle, ” Want to taste some of the world’s greatest wines for just 10 euro? Then come to the Salon des Vins in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.” Read more about his visit here.
Tennis anyone? (April 10 – 18, 2021) The Monte-Carlo Country Club hosts the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000. This tournament has run for over 100 years.
Strawberries (April 24, 2021)! Yes, it might sound early for those of us who live in other climates, but in Carpentras – Fête de la Fraise happens in April. This festival dedicated to the first crop of strawberries typically lands on a Saturday. Alongside the red berries, expect plenty of family-friendly animation.
For Antique Lovers (April 2 – 5, 2021), head to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue “Antiques Art and You” fairs happen twice a year – Easter weekend and the 15th of August. This antique fair started over 100 years ago. These two shows are ranked in the top three in Europe, attracting 300+ dealers and 100,000 visitors.
See the bulls in Arles (June 4 – 6, 2021). Head to the Roman arena in Arles over the Easter weekend (postponed in 2021) to witness the Feria d’Arles. This event kicks off the bullfighting season in the South of France, attracting 500,000 visitors and fans. The traditions of the bull ring and the ‘mise à mort’ are not suited for everyone. However, there is plenty of animation outside the arena with a Spanish-style party in the streets of this old Roman town. Bodegas, music, sangria and more.
Art in Antibes (April 17 to May 3, 2021): Salon de Antiquités Art Modern, this annual contemporary art fair attracts over 25,000 collectors and potential buyers.
May in Provence and the Côte d’Azur
May 1 – Fête du Travail / Fête des Travailleurs – Labour Day is a public holiday in France.
May 1 – Arles celebrates the talented cowboys and cowgirls who, with their sturdy white horses, herd the feisty black bulls. Fête des gardians falls on this date every year. Join the festivities in Arles to witness the Election de la Reine d’Arles, the new queen’s crowning (every three years).
Head to Cap Ferrat for the Roses and Plants Festival at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (2021 schedule TBD). This two-day event is a chance to meet with professional growers, garden designers, and botanical experts. Take part in a workshop, speak to a floral expert or take time to smell the roses. Discover the Belle Epoque history of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. For more details on Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild, here is the official website.
The red carpet rolls out in Cannes (July 6 – 17, 2021). Since 1946, the star-studded Festival de Cannes captures the attention of film buffs around the world. Since its conception in 1938, the film festival’s grounding principles remain consistent and are embedded in the regulations. Aim to develop the global reach of cinematic projects through a celebration of the international film industry. Which director of the Best Feature Film of the Official Competition will receive the prestigious Palme d’Or? Who will wear the flashiest gown? The festival runs for 12 days in July. Find all the details on the Cannes Film Festival website.
Grasse, France’s perfume capital, honours local rose growers and their beautiful flowers during Expo Rose. This event typically occurs on the second weekend in May, when the town is festooned with 25,000+ roses. The 2021 dates for this event are pending. Check the Grasse tourism office website for details.
Monaco Grand Prix (May 20 – 23, 2021) weekend is a must for race car fans and the bejewelled crowd. The original Formula 1 race series had seven stops; Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Indianapolis, and Monaco. Monaco’s racecourse is 3.34 kilometres long, and car aficionados only know the track by the names of its corners Tabac, Louis Chiron, and Piscine. After the race, find the models and millionaires (or maybe billionaires) at the Amber Lounge and yachts with prime moorings. Here is the official Formula 1 website for full details.
St Remy de Provence’s Fête de la Transhumance is a must-see (May 24, 2021). It’s a river of sheep and goats when 4,000 animals pass through the Provencal village. Witness the magic of the Fête de la Transhumance de Saint Rémy de Provence happens on the Monday of Pentecost (Pentecôte). Depending on the holiday, the date fluctuates between the end of May and early June. It’s a great day to visit St Remy, watch the animals, browse the brocante (flea market), sample some goat cheese or taste the local wine. The St Remy tourism office website.