Spring Events in Provence Discover What’s On 2020
Spring Events in Provence
Spring in Provence is absolutely 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 current events. For activities near to your location, check local newspapers, flyers at the grocery stores and tourism websites for festivals.
March in Provence – Côte d’Azur
Sound, Light and Art (until January 9, 2021): Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux de Provence, a production by Culturespaces, reopens on March 6th with the new program (Dali and Gaudi). 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. Read our visitor tips for Carrières de Lumières.
Since 1896, there has been a winter parade in Menton. The idea for festivities at this period 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. La Fête du Citron in Menton wraps up on March 3rd. Discover more about Menton and the event here.
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 (February 15-29) in Nice are complete for 2020, this year’s theme “King of Fashion.” Book soon for 2021!
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 perfume capital of Grasse. 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 January through the end of March. Look for parades, art exhibits, guided visits and more. Here, is the official website. During the month of March, take advantage of guided walks and other ways to enjoy the blooms.
Spring Flowers! (Returns in 2021) Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur is your chance to view a long list of fabulous gardens. There is a judged landscaping contest, free events and themed gardens. 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.
Head to the Musée Matisse in Nice (February 14th to May 4th, 2020) for a show dedicated to the sculptures of Henri Matisse. According to Lynne at Aixcentic, the Musée Matisse is a beautiful 17th-century villa set high up above Nice in the suburb of Cimiez. A renovation in the 1990s greatly expanded the exhibition space which now contains one of the world’s largest collections of the artist’s work.
April in Provence – Côte d’Azur
Wine Tasting (April 3-5, 2020): 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 11-19, 2020) 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 11, 2020)! 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 10-13, 2020). 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. Need a place to stay near to Isle sur la Sorgue? Read about Le Domaine de Palerme for a Poetic Stay in Provence.
See the bulls in Arles (April 10-13, 2020). 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. 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 11 – 27, 2020) Salon de Antiquités Art Modern this annual, contemporary art fair that 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 crowning of the new queen (every three years).
Aix-en-Provence (May 2, 2020) honours a traditional musical instrument during the Festival du Tambourin (a drum and pipe combination). Musicians gathered from around the region parade through Aix’s old town performing for the crowd.
Head to Cap Ferrat (May 16-17, 2020) for the Roses and Plants Festival at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. 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 (May 12-23, 2020). Since 1946, the star-studded Festival de Cannes captures the attention of film buffs around the world. Since its initial conception, in 1938, the film festival’s grounding principals 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 nine (9) days in May. Find all the details on the Cannes Film Festival website.
Grasse the perfume capital of France honours local rose growers and their beautiful flowers during Expo Rose (May 8-10, 2020). This event typically occurs on the second weekend in May, when the town is festooned with 25,000+ roses. Grasse tourism office website.
Monaco Grand Prix (May 21-24, 2020) 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. The racecourse, in Monaco, 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 that is 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 transhumance is a must-see (June 1, 2020). 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.