Spring Events in Provence Discover What’s On 2023
Spring Events in Provence
Springtime in Provence is lovely. As with most of the year, the sun shines brightly, but you should expect an odd rainstorm. Moisture in this period is critical for the grapes, olives, and almonds to start their growing cycles. You will see the apple, pear, apricot, cherry, and plum trees bloom in March and April. 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 to find out the current details.
Please note this is not a comprehensive list of all the ongoing events. Check local newspapers, flyers at grocery stores, and tourism websites for festivals for activities near your location.
March Events Provence – Côte d’Azur
Carrières de Lumières (February 23, 2023 – January 2024): Carrières de Lumières combines sound, light and art in Les Baux de Provence, a production by Culturespaces. The quarry reopens with two new exhibitions, From Vermeer to Van Gogh, the Dutch Masters and Mondrian, the Architect of Colour.
This old limestone quarry – Carrières de Lumières – is France’s largest fixed multimedia installation. The 14-metre-high walls are the backdrop that 70 video projectors use to broadcast images. So buy your tickets online, and please read our visitor tips for Carrières de Lumières.
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 beautiful yellow blooms as a backdrop. Eight towns participate in the official festivities from February through March. Look for parades, art exhibits, guided visits and more. Here is the official website. Also, take advantage of guided walks and other ways to enjoy the blooms during the festival until the end of March.
Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur returns March 25 – May 1, 2023: This garden festival is your chance to view a long list of fabulous gardens. In addition, there is always a judged landscaping contest, free events, and themed gardens. Note: The “Département des Alpes-Maritimes” map (available at tourist offices) includes gardens and parks of the Côte d’Azur that are open to the public.
If you need another reason to head to the Mediterranean coast, there are 14 gardens registered as Jardins remarquable (Remarkable Gardens) near the Côte d’Azur. Visit any of these verdant paradises created by gardening enthusiasts and get lost in the beautiful scenery. Spread along the coastline from Antibes to Menton and into the Alpes Maritimes’ hills, these Jardins Remarquables feature seaside and mountain views.
April in Provence – Côte d’Azur
Wine Tasting (March 31 – April 2, 2023): Les Printemps de Châteuneuf du Pape takes place for a weekend in early April every year. This weekend, winemakers in this renowned appellation introduce their latest wines to the public. There will be 100 wineries showcasing their wine, and in addition, there are workshops, masterclasses, and a gastronomic market. Keith Van Sickle says, “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 8-16, 2023) 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. Beyond the courts, La Grande Nuit du Tennis is a gala dinner soirée in conjunction with the yearly matches. This evening is a treat with exclusive performances by multi-national artists, and the Royal family is typically in attendance.
Strawberries! Yes, it might sound early for those who live in other climates, but in Carpentras – Fête de la Fraise happens in towards the end of 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 (dates to be confirmed), head to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue “Antiques Art and You” fairs which typically happen twice a year. 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.
The Sunday morning in L’Isle sur la Sorgue market winds through the old town and along the quay (river walk). There are only a few Sunday markets in the region, and this one is the largest, attracting both locals and visitors. Like Apt’s Saturday market, the line between retail and market is blurred as many boutiques add their wares to the temptation.
See the bulls in Arles (April 7 – 10, 2023). Head to the Roman arena in Arles over the Easter weekend to witness the Feria d’Arles. This event kicks off the bullfighting season in the South of France, attracting 500,000 visitors and fans. However, the traditions of the bull ring and the ‘mise à mort’ are not suited for everyone. So, there is plenty of animation outside the arena with a Spanish-style party in this old Roman town, including bodegas, music, sangria and more.
Art in Antibes (April 8 – 24, 2023): Salon de Antiquités Art Modern is an annual contemporary art fair attracting 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 herd the feisty black bulls with their sturdy white horses. Fête des gardians (Festival of the Herdsmen) 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 (returns next year). 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. In addition, discover the Belle Epoque history of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Here is the official website for more details on Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild.
The red carpet rolls out in Cannes (May 16 -27, 2023). Since 1946, the star-studded Festival de Cannes has captured the attention of film buffs worldwide. Since its conception in 1938, the film festival’s grounding principles remain consistent and embedded in the regulations. Aim to develop the global reach of cinematic projects by celebrating 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. Find all the details on the Cannes Film Festival website.
Grasse, France’s perfume capital, honours local rose growers and their beautiful flowers during ExpoRose (May 18 – 21, 2023). During this period, some 25,000+ roses adorn the town. Check the Grasse tourism office website for details.
Monaco Grand Prix (May 26 – 28, 2023) 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 enthusiasts 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 complete details.
St Remy de Provence’s Fête de la Transhumance is a must-see (May 29, 2023). It’s a “river” of sheep and goats while 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 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.