Come October, go to France, feast your senses at the Fêtes!, Source: Depositphotos

Try the 5 Best Food Festivals in France

Try the 5 Best Food Festivals in France

Dive into the delectable flavours that characterize the country of joie-de-vivre by paying a visit to these events

With the drop in temperatures, our bodies naturally start to crave more wholesome food and more calories. But rather than mindlessly stuff our faces following the call of the guts, why not make a celebration of it? Why not use the opportunity to learn about the customs and traditions that shape our food habits?

Good eating can be had all over the world, but in France, it’s a matter of honour and good taste in all the meanings of the phrase. So, with that expectation in mind, let’s head to the most delectable food events that the French campagne can offer to gourmet enthusiasts looking for a flavourful fix.

Les Sarmentelles (Beaujeu)

beaujolais wine

Les Sarmentelles keeps on sparking the fame of beaujolais nouveau. Source: Unsplash

OK, instead of getting bogged down into an endless debate about whether wine is food or not, let’s just agree that we can’t think of French food without wine to pair. The noble fermented grape juice forms an inseparable part of feeling and eating a la française, so it would be downright disrespectful not to honour at least one festival dedicated to that tipple.

And if you’ll visit one festival, yet you don’t fancy yourself a deep connoisseur of the different terroirs, vintages, blends and macerations that form the world of French winemaking, then make it Les Sarmentelles.

You’ve probably heard of Beaujolais nouveau, the wine whose arrival is a cause of celebration every year – basically the result of one of the most successful and lasting marketing campaigns ever created. Yet, it’s never been more fun to indulge in the ecstasy of consumerism, especially when it comes bottled fresh with hints of berries and red fruits. Catch it in Beaujeu, north of Lyon, 15-19 November, where the uncorking of the fresh harvest will be accompanied by plenty of merriment in the form of concerts, tours, shows and stands.

Fête du Fromage (Rocamadour)

rocamadour village

Come for the mind-blowing setting, stay for the delicious cheese. Source: Depositphotos

With the risk of being so cliché that it’s cringe, we’ll point out that, at least in France, where there’s wine there must be cheese. But so much for cliches because we’ll let you in on a secret – rocamadour. The flavour profile of this goat cheese is proportionate to its lack of global fame.

The fest celebrating the farm-raised goat fromages takes place in a town of the same name, which looks like it’s snatched straight out of a fantasy novel.

The AOP cheeses highlight the quality products of the French countryside and the know-how of the producers for the greatest pleasure of our taste buds. Look out for it in the months of May or June.

Fête du Cassoulet (Castelnaudary)


The holy marriage of beans and meat lives happily in the cassoulet. Source: Depositphotos

While staying in the superb French Southwest, we might as well swing by to the town of Castelnaudary in order to honour another icon of the region – the sumptuous cassoulet.

Taking place in the middle of August, this event promotes to the world the made-in-heaven combination that is beans and pork cooked for hours in an earthenware pot in an oven or a furnace. A tip for those in the know is that the good cassoulet should also have a crust on top formed by breadcrumbs.

The festival parades, concerts, dances, games, and fireworks that celebrate the local culture and history.

Fête de la Châtaigne (Villardonnel)

roasted chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts is how you know true autumn has arrived. Source: Depositphotos

If you find French pronunciation hard then go to Villardonel deep in the highland south of the country and ask the locals to teach you how to say “Las castanhas é lo vin novel”. That phrase in the local Occitan language (don’t call it a dialect) means “the chestnuts and the new wine” and reveals to you a wine and food pairing that we bet you hadn’t even thought of in your wildest dreams.

The residents of the small town of Villardonnel have been revealing the hidden possibilities of flavour since 1969 while swearing lucky visitors to secrecy. Let New Yorkers salivate over their pumpkin spice lattes, they can’t know that the real taste of autumn is roasted chestnuts and Cabardès red wine.

Fête du Pain (Paris)

woman and baguette

Since 2022, the baguette has been our shared heritage. Source: Depositphotos

And just like the legendary Tour de France cycling race always ends in Paris, our little gastronomic tour of celebrations would not think of skipping the French capital on the way out.

We don’t know where bread was first invented but it’s damn sure that the art of turning grain into dough and baking it into a seductive mass of crunchy-soft carbs has reached its mythical pinnacle here. So much so that UNESCO declared the art of baguette making a cultural treasure and a gift to the world.

Every May, around the feast of St-Honore, the patron saint of millers and bakers, and in front of the Notre Dame cathedral, visitors and residents can rediscover what French bread is all about and then some – thanks to the Fête du Pain.

Expert bakers (and mind you that’s a hard-to-earn license in Paris) get together to show off their skills and trade to the curious and hungry onlookers. After all, few things in life can beat the pleasure of chomping into a baguette fresh out of the oven with the air of je-ne-sais-quoi around you.



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