The summer months herald the busiest season for events on the Canal du Midi. Just about every town and village, small or large, near or far from the beaten towpath, has something to celebrate in the summer. Here’s our pick of 11 must-see events to catch while you enjoy your cruise on the Canal du Midi this summer.

 

All that jazz
ensemble playing night concert on the stageFour of the very best contemporary jazz musicians play at dinner-concerts in the historic setting of one of the largest wine estates in the Canal du Midi area. Listen to the likes of Jamie Cullum or Diana Krall as you dine under the stars among the vineyards. Enjoy a glass of Champagne with the jazz stars after the concert.

When: 28-31 July

Where: Château L’Hospitalet, Narbonne

Price: €170

More information: http://www.chateau-hospitalet.com/fr/vos-evenements-au-chateau-l-hospitalet/festival-de-jazz/

A fête of fish

Bouillabaisse a typical French dishOver the course of three days, fishing communities pay homage to St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen and the Mediterranean. Valras Plage holds some of biggest and brightest celebrations, and festivities include processions on land and water, live entertainment, tasting of local cuisine including the famous cuttlefish and olive stew (prepared by fishermen) and a firework display on the Saturday.

When: 26-28 June

Where: Valras Plage

Price: free entry

More information: http://www.ville-valrasplage.fr/index.php/fr/

Around the world in folk music

Aix en Othe musical festivalTake a round-the-world trip in folk music at the Handpan World Music Festival. Concerts run every evening between 5pm and 0.30am. Yoga classes and massages also make up an essential part of this summer event on the Canal du Midi. And to bring some real colour to your barge holiday don’t miss the giant Holy Powder Party, Saturday 18 June 5-6pm.

When: 17-19 June

Where: Camping Parc Bellevue, Valras Plage near Beziers

Price: €12 1-day pass; €30 3-day pass

More information: http://www.festivalhandpan.com/

Art by night

Dance couple dancing ballroom dancing to a live band soundsAll the arts come together for an evening’s celebration of culture at venues throughout the town. View paintings, watch dance and film, admire sculptures and listen to live music performances. You can buy a piece (or 2) to take home at the art market. Food and refreshments available.

When: 26 July 6pm to 1am

Where: Saint Chinian

Price: free entry

More information: http://www.abstrackt-particule.com/

Celebrating music and voice

Abbaye de Caunes-MinervoisThe small medieval village of Caunes hosts a selection of Baroque concerts and opera recitals in its atmospheric 8th century abbey. Optional food tastings and dinners with the performers come before and after concerts.

When: 8 July to 5 August

Where: Caunes

Price: from €18

More information: http://www.lesvendredisdecaunes.fr/

European recitals

Abbaye de fontfroideThe Jordi Savall Music Festival celebrates the best of European poetry and music with musicians from all over the continent from Portugal to the Balkans. The 4-day event closes with a musical homage to probably the most famous writers in Europe, Cervantes and Shakespeare, on the 400th anniversary of their death.

When: 15-19 July

Where: Abbaye de Fontfroide, Narbonne

Price: early evening concerts cost €16, late evening performances €45

More information: http://www.fontfroide.com/festival-jordi-savall/

On the banks of the Aude

Pont pieton Homps (Canal du Midi)Moor up on either side of the River Aude in the town of Homps and join in the fun at the Canal Festival where wine and food tasting, live music, children’s fun, circus tricks and street theatre offer an evening’s entertainment.

When: 10 August from 5-11pm

Where: Homps

Price: free entry

More information: http://www.ccrlcm.fr/

Setting the sky on fire – Bastille Day

Carcassonne fireworksEvery year, the 600-metre façade of Carcassonne’s medieval quarter comes ablaze with lights (in patriotic red, white and blue) and hundreds of fireworks. The fiery spectacle is best viewed from the banks of the River Aude or on one of the bridges. Grab your spot early (afternoon is best) to secure a front row seat.

When: 14 July at 10.30pm

Where: Carcassonne

Price: free

More information: http://www.tourism-carcassonne.co.uk/prepare/what-do-carcassonne/highlights-year

Walk and dine

Southern France, Canal de Midi at the village of Capestang. Focused at the sign with the name of the canal.Take a short guided tour of the history of the Canal du Midi in the pretty port of Capestang. Then after your half-hour stroll, sample the very best of local wine and produce.

When: every Tuesday and Thursday at 5.30pm June-Sept

Where: Capestang Port

Price: free

More information: Capestang Tourist Office, Quai Elie Amouroux. Tel: +33 4 67 378 529

When it’s all on stage

An empty Stage Before the Concert with floodlight and musical instrumentsIn 10 short years, the Festival of Carcassonne of music (classical, rock, pop, hip hop, opera…), theatre and dance has become one of the biggest events in France and a definite must-see if you’re on holiday along the Canal du Midi. Performances take place on stages at different venues around the town. Star performances couldn’t be more varied and this year include Pharrell Williams, the Spanish National Ballet, Marianne Faithfull, the Scorpions and La Bohème.

When: 4 July to 1 August

Where: Carcassonne

Price: 2-day pass from €60; 3-day pass from €80

More information: http://festivaldecarcassonne.fr/fr/accueil

Wine and dine
Professional winemaker smelling a glass of white wine in his traditional cellar surrounded by wooden barrelsThe annual Fête du Cru brings together the best of Canal du Midi wines in a day’s celebration of the area’s AOC labels. The day’s events start at 10am with a church service and parade through the village before the serious wine tasting begins. Sample the best vin and local produce on the 60+ stalls and enjoy the live music and entertainment. The kids area with face paints and games opens in the afternoon.

When: 17 July

Where: Saint Chinian

Price: free entry

More information: http://www.saint-chinian.pro/fete-du-cru,fr,8,89.cfm

We might be just a third of the way through 2016, but in the busy world of hotel barge vacations it pays to think ahead. Especially if you’ve got a special occasion in 2017 that needs celebrating in style.

Whether it’s a special anniversary, landmark birthday, honeymoon, friends reunion or family get-together we have just the hotel barge for you. Our fully-equipped hotel barges make unique venues for those once-in-a lifetime celebrations – all you need to do is to decide who’s coming along too and then choose your hotel barge!

Just the 2 of you

For a honeymoon, anniversary or romantic get-away with a difference, why not take your partner down river, away from everyone and everything. Just the 2 of you relaxing and enjoying you-only time on board this hotel barge:

Tara cruises between Dinan and Rennes in Brittany, beyond the usual tourist trail but just as lovely. Relax on board in the comfortable accommodation, dine on the buffet lunch and for dinner treat yourselves to a candlelit meal at one of the restaurants en route or prepare a romantic feast for 2 in the galley. Toast the occasion time and time again with the complimentary (and excellent) French wine. Oh and by the way, the crew leaves the boat in the evening, so you really do have the place all to yourselves! Book your get-away for 2.

Hotel barge Tara

Room for 4

Maybe you and your partner are getting together with another couple for some joint celebrations or it’s a special occasion with your Mum/Dad and siblings. Whatever the occasion, the 4 of you can celebrate in style on:

Aslaug is a modern hotel barge named after a Nordic queen offering all you need for a holiday the four of you will treasure forever. Cruising the River Somme, the Aslaug takes you to a lesser-known corner of France where the tranquil scenery will delight you at every meander. Book your summer getaway on the Aslaug.

aslaug-940x260Randle is a traditional barge with mahogany and brass will take you to upper Burgundy on a choice of routes including the delightful Nivernais. One double cabin and one twin, with a super spacious wheelhouse for all-weather cruising, suits two couples or a family of four perfectly. Enjoy super excursions and meals on shore at local restaurants. Book Randle for your trip today.

River Boat Randle

Looking for more suggestions for hotel barges sleeping 4? Check out our pick of the best.

Slightly larger family group

If you’re including more than 3 couples on your guest-list, the choice of hotel barges is almost your oyster. We’ve got 14 hotel barges sleeping 6 people and 10 with room for 8 guests, including:

Savannah – 3 double cabins and 1 single offer ample room for celebrating your special event in your chosen company. The champagne reception starts you off in style and sets the tone for this lovely cruise down the Canal du Midi with a special extra – a 1-night stay at the stunning Chateau de Pennautier. When you’re not all relaxing on the spacious sundeck or dining en famille on gourmet cuisine, the lovely towns and villages en route make for perfect sightseeing on this holiday of a lifetime. Book your special get-away on Savannah.

(PS: Savannah always over-delivers!)

Hotel barge Savannah and a 2CV tour

Amaryllis – take 7 others away with you on a holiday you’ll all remember forever. This luxury hotel barge (part of the Belmond-Orient Express fleet) offers accommodation that steps back into France’s richly decorated past with its Louis XV furnishings and fine staterooms. The luxury experience continues on deck on the lounger area complete with heated plunge pool and flows over board as you follow the wine trail along the Canal de Bourgogne. Book for 2017 now.

amaryllisSee our other hotel barges sleeping more than 4 – you’ll be surprised at the choice and where you can go.

Everyone’s invited

And if your special occasion in 2017 turns out to include your whole family or club members and wives, we’ve got just the hotel barge to accommodate you. How about:

Le Phenicien – this has to be one of the most luxurious hotel barges on the French waterways and makes the perfect venue for all of you to celebrate that very special occasion. Inside its stunning exterior are 9 roomy double suites, a spacious saloon and bar, and dining room serving delicious Provençal cuisine for up to 18 of you. The teak sundeck has plenty of seating room for you and your guests, and is a great spot for catching up as you watch the French scenery glide past you. And to make this hotel barge holiday uniquely yours, you get to choose the itinerary. Book your special occasion on board Le Phenicien now.

Hotel Barge le PhenicienHaricot Noir – up to 12 of you can experience life on board one of the last remaining original hotel barges in France. Haricot Noir offers 6 cabins (1 has bunks – perfect for the kids in the party!) in stylish but economical accommodation. This self-catering option gives you the opportunity to cook ensemble as the hotel barge makes its way down water in the area around the port of Agde. For a relaxing group get-away at prices you can afford, book a break on the Haricot Noir.

Hotel barge Haricot Noir - Canal du MidiWe’ve got lots of other lovely hotel barges sleeping at least 8 and you can even cruise in tandem! Put two barges together on the same route and share tours and suppers together – great fun. Find the perfect barges for your group river cruise in France.

Last chance: these barges are almost full for 2016.

Something about these hotel barges makes them unique. That extra special something that everyone looks for in a French river vacation. In fact, they’ve been so popular that there are hardly any dates left this year especially if you fancy a French hotel barge holiday during June and September.

Read our who’s who of the most popular hotel barge bookings this year to find out why everyone’s been booking them. And remember – don’t leave it too late to book yours. Enquire now for available dates.

Saint Louis – you choose the itinerary

St Louis deckThe luxury here comes in being able to choose your cruise route through historic Aquitaine and Gascony, two delightful corners of southwest France, off the well-beaten tourist track. Relax on the super-size sundeck as you glide down the Canal de Garonne on your tailormade itinerary and learn all about the sights and sounds from your on board hosts whose local knowledge (especially on the Bordeaux vineyards) is second to none. And as you’d expect from a luxury experience, gourmet French dining comes at its best.

Grab the last-remaining availability on this tailormade experience

 

Saroche – so, so spacious

Hotel barge SarocheYou almost wouldn’t know you were on a boat aboard Saroche. Being the largest barge in the region, space is a given absolutely everywhere. From the 190 square feet of your cabin, with its 7ft high ceiling, to the extra large sundeck complete with hot tub, this hotel barge cruise gives you all the room you need. And this full-board cruise, including all the wines chosen by the qualified Sommelier captain, means all you have to do is sit back and relax as you watch the lovely landscapes of Champagne and Burgundy drift by.

Enquire about the last remaining dates on the Saroche

 

Wine & Water – that perfect French combo

wine and waterExplore the lovely corner of Burgundy between Dijon and Pouilly-en-Auxois on and off-board the aptly named Wine & Water. This hotel barge cruise combines the best of the Ouche valley – pretty villages, local markets, ancient abbeys, fine dining and the fabulous wines of the Cote D’Or – with a unique barging experience. Think gourmet meals (all prepared by Cordon Bleu chef Beatrice), perfect river views from the large windows plus true relaxation on the sundeck and in the Jacuzzi tub.

Find out last available dates for Wine & Water or enquire for 2017

 

Enchanté – you really will be enchanted

enchanteIt’s not just the 5* luxury on board (Enchanté forms part of the Grand Luxe collection) but the cruise itself, one of the most popular hotel barge vacation routes. This top-class roomy barge glides along the Canal du Midi – probably the best-loved waterway in France and definitely one of the most picturesque. Taste the fine Minervois wines and the famous Lucques olives, tour the spectacular citadel of Carcassonne and lovely Minerve and Lagrasse, and discover all the delights in Narbonne including its colourful market. The wide towpath makes exploring the Canal du Midi riverbanks on foot or by bike easy too.

Find out when the last cabins are available

 

Amaryllis – when luxury comes with a capital L

amaryllisFrom the moment you step aboard the Amaryllis, it’s all about luxury and attention to detail. Part of the Belmond (former Orient Express) luxury fleet, this hotel barge oozes exclusivity from bow to stern. From the perfect combination of Louis XV furniture with all the mod cons you need, to the comfy loungers on the sundeck next to the heated plunge pool; from the king-sized beds to the intimate dining area; from the personal care and attention you receive from the crew of six to the tailormade gourmet menus… This is a hotel barge cruise in Burgundy you know you deserve.

Enquire now about the last cabins available on the Amaryllis

 

Fleur de Lys – elegance on water

fleur-de-lysOne of the best-looking hotel barges on the French waterways, the Fleur de Lys is also the essence of elegance. Part of the Grand Luxe collection, the fine furnishings and fittings in this barge perfectly imitate those in the French chateaux that line the banks along this Burgundy cruise. The sumptuous décor in the salon is complemented by a grand piano while the fittings in the separate dining room make for impossibly romantic candlelit dining. And in the cabins, the stateliness continues, offering fabulous four-poster beds for peaceful slumbers.

Find out the last available dates on the Fleur de Lys

 

Alouette – just the four of you

alouette_aThe Alouette gives you that rare treat – the chance to get away from it all and almost everyone. And in luxury surroundings. This charming hotel barge, beautifully decorated in French country-style, sleeps just four guests as it winds its way along the lovely Canal du Midi. On board accommodation is spacious from the relaxing sundeck to the comfortable en suite staterooms. Wining and dining is candlelit while you enjoy table d’hôte menus composed of the very best regional cuisine paired with hand-picked wines.

Treat yourself to one of the last cabins available this year on the Alouette

 

Hirondelle – so good you won’t want to leave

hirondelle_12Hotel barge cruises don’t come much more relaxed than those on the Hirondelle, a craft made for getting away from it all. Relaxation starts the moment you step on board and continues all the way down river. Soft furnishings and plenty of natural light flowing through the large picture windows create a laid back atmosphere that continues above on the sundeck, perfect for basking in the sun by day and star-lit dining by night. Sleep comes all too easily in the extra-comfy guest cabins. As we said, once on board you won’t want to leave.

Find out when you can experience the Hirondelle

 

Napoleon – a cruise fit for an emperor

napoleonRated as the finest hotel barge cruising the majestic Rhone, the Napoleon offers a holiday made for an emperor. From the stately décor on board to the magnificent scenery outside, this is all about a holiday of a lifetime. With no less than three decks (the top deck comes complete with Jacuzzi and exercise equipment), spacious guest cabins (these are all en suite and above the waterline) and sumptuous interiors, the Napoleon makes her regal way along the Rhone. And here too, all is resplendent – scented lavender fields, sun-drenched vineyards, charming riverside villages… Provence at its very best. No wonder Cézanne and Van Gogh were inspired.

See which dates are available for your inspired holiday

 

 

 

 

It’s the weekend. You’re in France. Cheese is always on the menu. So what better way to focus the foodie in you than by trying out three delectable new recipes courtesy of Comté and chef Laura Pope.

Onion Tart with apples, bacon and Comté

The nuttiness of Comté shines through in this hearty winter supper that individually portioned would make the perfect starter.

Onion tart with comte

 

Serves 4

For the pastry

Feel free to skip this and buy some ready made puff pastry. But this ‘rough puff’ stuff is delicious and not too tricky.

250g strong white plain flour, plus extra for dusting

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

250g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

About 75ml cold water

For the filling

3 tablespoons light olive oil

400g yellow onions (about 4 medium onions), thinly-sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

A sprig of fresh thyme

1 crisp eating apple

8 slices streaky bacon

200g Comté, sliced (18 or 24 months aged would give a deep, nutty taste)

  1. To make the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in loosely (you need to see bits of butter). Make a well in the bowl and pour in the water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough (add extra water if needed). Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  2. Put the pastry onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks – you should have a marbled effect. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.
  3. When the pastry is chilled, roll it into a square just over 1cm thick and cut it into 4 equal-sized pieces, then roll these out until 3mm thick – they should be about 18cm to 20cm diameter. Stack the pastry squares with squares of non-stick parchment in between, cover and refrigerate.
  4. Make the filling: warm the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the onions start to colour. Lower the heat and stir in the garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cook until the onions are generally golden and tender, but not mushy – about 15 minutes in total. If they dry out, lower the heat and cover the pan. Cool the onions completely, remove the thyme and strip the leaves into the onions. Discard the bay leaf.
  5. Cut the apple into 1mm slices. Cut the bacon into 1cm strips, place in a small frying pan over a low heat for 2 minutes until the fat starts to melt into the pan. Drain off the fat, remove from the heat and toss the apple slices with the bacon.
  6. Heat oven to 205˚C (185˚C fan).
  7. Remove the pastry squares from the fridge and lightly score a 2cm border around the edge. Place the squares (on their parchment) onto 2 baking sheets. Divide the onion mixture over the pastry, staying within the border. Press in the warm apples and bacon, ensuring they lay flat (or they will burn). Lay over the slices of Comté, fold up the pastry edges and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is rich, golden brown. Serve immediately.

 

Linguini with broccoli in a Comté and thyme sauce

The Comté is used here to add a gentle flavour to the dish. Combined with crème fraîche and eggs it produces a creamy, rich sauce that goes beautifully with the broccoli.

Linguine with Broccoli and comte

Serves 4

250ml crème fraîche

350g Comté, finely grated (16-months aged Comté would be ideal as it has good flavour, but won’t overpower the dish)

400g broccoli florets

2 large free range egg yolks

Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme

400g fresh tagliatelle

Good quality extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle on at the end

1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and rest a large heatproof bowl over the top of the pan, so that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Boil a kettle of water (for later on).

2. Put the crème fraîche and 300g of the Comté in the bowl. Stir gently until the cheese is melted into the crème fraîche. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Cut off the hard ends of the broccoli, slice the stalks diagonally and leave the smaller florets whole, or cut any large ones in half.

4. Once the cheese mixture is combined, remove the bowl from the pan, turn the heat up high so the water is boiling hard and add a teaspoon of salt, as desired. Drop in the tagliatelle and broccoli – top up pan with boiling water to cover it fully. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes until the pasta is just cooked through.

5. Whisk the egg yolks and thyme leaves into the sauce, drain the pasta and broccoli (keeping a little of the cooking water) and toss them in the sauce. If the sauce is a bit too thick, you can loosen it with a little of the cooking water. Taste and season if necessary, then serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the remaining Comté sprinkled over the top.

 

Comté, banana and vanilla tarte tatin

The caramelised banana combines beautifully with melted 8 month aged Comté.

Tarte tatin with comte

Serves 4

Plain flour, for dusting

200g all-butter puff pastry

3 x ripe (not black), medium bananas (approximately 300g peeled weight)

100g golden caster sugar

100ml brandy (or Marc du Jura for extra authenticity, if you can get hold of some!)

1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways, seeds scraped out

25g unsalted butter

100g Comté, sliced very finely (a younger Comté would be best, e.g. 8 to 12 months)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C (180˚C fan).
  2. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out your puff pastry until it’s just over 0.5cm thick (to fit an ovenproof frying pan, about 20 to 25cm in diameter, leaving a little extra around the edge). Put the pastry to one side.
  3. Peel bananas, then slice on the diagonal, about 2cm thick.
  4. Put the pan on a medium heat and add the sugar, brandy, vanilla seeds and pod. Let the sugar dissolve and cook until the mixture goes foamy and then forms a light caramel. Once the caramel looks and smells delicious (it should be a rich chestnut brown colour at this stage), add the butter, swirl until melted, then add the bananas. Carefully push the bananas down in the pan so they are surrounded by caramel and cook for about 5 minutes or until the bananas start to become caramelised.
  5. Remove from the heat, lay the slices of Comté over the bananas and then the pastry on top. Quickly and carefully tuck the pastry down right into the edges – you can use a wooden spoon so you don’t touch the caramel.
  6. Bake the tarte tatin for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, with crispy caramel bubbling up from under the edges. Take it out of the oven and turn out onto a serving plate or board. Put it to one side for a few minutes, so the caramel can cool down, then divide it up and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

If you’re not drooling at the prospect, we hope you’re writing your shopping list. Enjoy creating and savouring these tasty dishes. And please share photos of your creations on our Facebook or Twitter pages so we can see how you got on.

 

 

 

Spring in Burgundy is one of the most colourful times of year. From the bright yellow rapeseed* fields to the delicate pink blossom on the cherry trees, and the burgeoning green-leaf growth of the famous vineyards, the entire region springs into colour as the days grow longer and the weather warmer.

Spring also heralds some great events in Burgundy. If you’ve got a hotel barge holiday or hire boat vacation in Burgundy coming up, here’s our choice of the top 10 spring events in Burgundy to take in as you make your way down river or up canal.

Classic cars in Burgundy

View of Tournus, a beautiful village of BurgundyEvent: A must for any petrol-head especially if you have a penchant for classic cars. The village of Tournus hosts one of the stages on the TourAuto this year when over 200 classic cars will gather in the Place de l’Hotel de Ville. Expect to see gems on wheels including the Ferrari Berlinette and Jaguar MK. And when the cars have left on the next stage of their tour, head for the Benedictine Monastery and Saint Philibert Abbey before a Michelin-starred dinner – Tournus shines bright on the haute cuisine firmament with no less than 4 Michelin stars.

 

When: 20 April, 11am to 3pm

Price: Free

Find out more:  https://peterauto.peter.fr/fr/evenement/presentation/id/156/evenement/Tour+Auto+Optic+2000

 

Activities for children in Burgundy

Kids playing hockey an olympic sportEvent: Chateau Olympics for the entire family giving everyone a chance to show off their sporting and intellectual skills while having a whole lot of fun at Chateau de Brancion in the lovely medieval village of Martailly-les-Branson. And every family team gets a prize at the end. When you’ve finished at the castle, pop into the village church to admire the stunning medieval frescos.

 

 

 

When: 1 May at 1.30pm

Price: €8 for anyone over 5

Find out more:  http://www.chateau-de-brancion.fr/

 

Burgundy wine in the spring

Vineyards of BeauneEvent: The pretty town of Beaune hosts the annual Saveurs de Vignes when a leisurely stroll takes you through the vineyards – just coming into leaf and flower – and treats you to some of the best wines in Burgundy and gourmet local cuisine. The 8k walk winds its way round 5 food stalls (all serving delicious local fare plus perfectly paired wines) with music and entertainment along the way.

 

 

 

When: 5 May. Tours leave between 11am and 2pm

Price: adults €50, children up to 13 €15

Find out more:  http://www.beaune-saveursdevignes.com/english-version.html

 

Horse racing in Burgundy

Castle and Pont Pinard over the river Armancon in the historic town of Semur en Auxois in Burgundy, France.Event: Semur en Auxois has been hosting this event for centuries and it’s one of the greatest traditions in the area. The entire town steps back into the Middle Ages for a weekend of horse racing through the town including the highlight – the Race for the Ring when jockeys in full livery race 2,120m along the dirt track in just 2 minutes. Chariot races also take place and non-equestrian events include arts and crafts stalls, and concerts with everyone in full medieval attire.

 

When: 14-16 May

Price: Free

Find out more:  http://www.ville-semur-en-auxois.fr/Les-fetes-de-la-Bague_a95.html

 

Antiques galore in Dijon

Dijon, église Notre dame et hôtel de VogüeEvent: This is one of the main annual events in Dijon and the annual antiques fair ranks among the biggest in France. Over 120 exhibitors come together and showcase the very best in French antiques. Highlights on the stalls include 18th century furniture and Art Deco objects, but this is somewhere you’ll find a treasure trove of beautiful things including probably a French kitchen sink.

 

 

When: 14-22 May at Parc des Expositions, 11am to 7.30pm

Price: Free entry

Find out more:  http://www.destinationdijon.com/en/

 

Medieval fun in Burgundy

Medieval festival attireEvent: Medieval fairs are major events in Burgundy and one of the largest in spring takes place in Saint Apollinaire. Expect a full day of entertainment – jugglers, mock battles and music, all washed down with l’Ambroisie nectar and plenty of medieval fare. Artisan stalls offer traditional arts and crafts, and there’s a ‘children’s corner’ too.

 

 

 

When: 22 May at Parc de la Redoute

Price: Free entry

Find out more:  http://www.ville-st-apollinaire.fr/

 

Words do come easy

The picturesque city of La Charite sur Loire in BourgogneEvent: At the ‘Word Festival’ in La Charité sur Loire when the town becomes the City of the Word for a 4-day event celebrating language. All art forms have pride of place including photography, dance, music, street art and of course, the written word so even if you don’t speak French, or just have a basic knowledge, you won’t be lost for words here!

 

 

 

When: 25-29 May

Price: Free entry

Find out more:  http://www.festivaldumot.fr/

 

Roller blade marathon

A picture of a woman butting on roller-blades on Event: Dijon hosts one of the stages of the France Master Marathon Cup for roller skating talents. After you’ve watched the skate masters doing their speedy stuff round the circuit, join in some of the related events for all ages and skating talents – roller skating, roller hockey and a skate park, plus games for all the family.

 

 

 

When: 12 June

Price: Free

Find out more:  http://www.rollermarathondijon.com/

 

Music for everyone

Aix en Othe musical festivalEvent: In late June, Aix en Othe becomes the centre of musical events in Burgundy with a giant music festival. The event aims to offer something for everyone and to do this it splits into three separate events: a Travelling Cabaret when performers visit the villages around Aix en Othe; Festi’Coccinelle especially for children and packed with activities and attractions; ‘Les Jours Mabouls’ offering a variety of live music performances from folk to rock.

 

 

When: 25 June to 12 July

Price: Depends on the event

Find out more:  http://www.festivalenothe.org/

 

Marvellous Morvan

Morvan's lush countrysideEvent: Spring is one of the best times of year in the Morvan national park, a natural paradise of vast forests, lakes and mountains. After the harsh winter months, the flora and fauna in the park burst into life again. Best explored along one of the many hiking and biking routes, the park also offers good climbing opportunities as well as plentiful fishing. Highlights include the Canche gorges and the archaeological settlement of Bibracte, once home to the Gauls.

 

When: Anytime during the spring

Price: Free entry

Find out more:  http://www.parcdumorvan.org/ http://www.bibracte.fr/en/

*Similar to Canola