France 2019 - what’s new? Planning your France 2019 holiday? Beyond the waterways, it’s really important for us to know what’s going on across the country, especially in tourist hotspots. We’ve started the research, so you don’t have to. Read on to discover our round-up of landmark anniversaries, cultural treats, foodie fests, sporting events, shopping sprees and must-see exhibitions in France next year. Keep your diary handy!

Planning your France 2019 holiday? Beyond the waterways, it’s really important for us to know what’s going on across the country, especially in tourist hotspots.

We’ve started the research, so you don’t have to. Read on to discover our round-up of landmark anniversaries, cultural treats, foodie fests, sporting events, shopping sprees and must-see exhibitions in France next year. Keep your diary handy!

Landmark anniversaries in France 2019

2019 turns out to be a year for some big celebrations in France, when the country will be commemorating the following events:

Saint Philibert Abbey turns 1,000 years old

The Romanesque church in Tournus in Burgundy celebrates its millennial next year with the height of the big anniversary on 19 August. Highlights inside this ancient church include 12th century mosaics of zodiac signs and frescoes, a Romanesque Madonna made from Auvergne cedar and a stunning tall nave.

Chambord Chateau is 500

One of the most famous chateaux in France, Chambord in the Loire Valley, commemorates its 500th anniversary in 2019. Events will pivot around Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance, also celebrating half a millennial (see Cultural Treats below). Don’t miss the special edition of the Festival de Chambord

Normandy Landings 75 years ago

After this year’s centenary of the Armistice, 2019 sees the turn of the Normandy Landings and Battle of Normandy, both of which happened 75 years ago. Commemoration events take place between 1 and 9 June and include an international memorial service on 6 June, synchronised fireworks at key landing sites, a picnic on Omaha Beach, and a massive parachute drop. 

Cultural treats in France 2019

Biennale Internationale du Design

Saint-Etienne holds the 11th edition of the International Design Biennale from 21 March to 22 April 2019. This year’s theme, and new in France 2019, is Me/You/Nous – Designing Common Ground. It looks at what’s new in cutting-edge design and how to make it work for everyone. 

Great Roman Games

Nimes’ Roman amphitheatre is one of the finest in Europe and in 2019 celebrates the 10th anniversary of its annual Roman Games. Chariot races, gladiator contests and battles will take place in the arena from 3-5 May, enacting the games as they would have been played out in the second century AD. 

500th anniversary of the Renaissance

In tandem with Chambord’s celebrations (see above), France also commemorates the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Renaissance. The main special exhibition, 1519-2019 L’Utopie à L’Oeuvre, focuses on Leonardo Da Vinci as an architect.  

Foodie fests in France 2019

Lyon International Capital of Gastronomy

Further confirmation of Lyon’s top foodie status comes with the crowning of the city as International Capital of Gastronomy in 2019. Food from around the world together with local culinary traditions will be on show in the summer at the 3,900 square metres recently restored Grand Hôtel Dieu. And if that isn’t enough food for you, there are always the 4,000+ restaurants in Lyon itself.

Marseille Provence Gastronomie 2019

Also new in France in 2019, Provence dedicates the entire year to its gastronomy with a 365-feast of regional fare. Expect lots of markets, foodie workshops, conferences and plenty of delicious dishes. 

Sporting events in France 2019

30th anniversary of the Rouen Armada

The stunning Rouen Armada celebrates three decades of sailing ships from 6-16 June. The town expects over 10 million visitors flocking to admire the 50 participating ships from all over the world. Side events include entertainment, big-name concerts and firework displays. The absolute highlight is the 120km trip by all the ships along the River Seine from Rouen to Le Havre – a French waterways event extraordinaire

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

Women’s football takes the limelight next year at nine venues throughout France. The event starts on 7 June with 20 qualifying teams vying for a place in the final in Lyon on 7 July. Allez les femmes!

Shopping sprees in France 2019

Retail addicts in Paris are in for double treats next year when France’s flagship department store Galleries Lafayette opens two new stores in the capital. The first (and the one with the poshest address) will open its door to the public on 52 Champs Elysées in March and offer premium designer collections and luxury goods. The second is set to open in the Beaugrenelle shopping centre in the autumn and sell more affordable luxury.

Must-see exhibitions in France 2019

And last on our list for what’s new in France in 2019, we come to exhibitions. There are literally dozens planned for next year at different venues around the country and to suit all cultural and arty tastes. You can see a list for those in Paris here.  We’ve highlighted three must-see exhibitions in France 2019:

The Pharaoh’s Treasures

2019 is the centenary of the discovery of Egypt’s most famous king’s tomb. This exhibition showcases some 150 original objects from Tutankhamun’s burial place including 50 objects on loan outside Egypt for the first and last time. At the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris from 23 March to 15 September. Tickets available online here

Berthe Morisot

The only woman painter within the Impressionist movement, Morisot, might be less well known than her fellow male artists but she was one of the most innovative in the group. An exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay from 18 June to 22 September takes a look at her life’s work.

Francis Bacon

British painter, Francis Bacon, gets a retrospective at the Pompidou from 11 September 2019 to 20 January 2020. The exhibition covers paintings by the very modern artist from the latter half of his life.

A cruise in France 2019

Whatever you’re commemorating in 2019 – a landmark anniversary, a special birthday or just because – why not celebrate on board a luxury barge hotel as you cruise a French river or canal. At French Waterways, we’ve got a wide range of barges to suit all budgets and tastes, and they crisscross the entire country so it’s easy to find a cruise in the area you want to visit.

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France 2019 - what’s new? Planning your France 2019 holiday? Beyond the waterways, it’s really important for us to know what’s going on across the country, especially in tourist hotspots. We’ve started the research, so you don’t have to. Read on to discover our round-up of landmark anniversaries, cultural treats, foodie fests, sporting events, shopping sprees and must-see exhibitions in France next year. Keep your diary handy!

Best French blogs writing about France 2018There’s certainly no shortage of French blogs, written by natives, expats, travel gurus, foodies… And they cover all corners of the country, writing about France and every aspect of its culture. Many of them are niche, while others take a more general stance. The best count their followers in thousands and come with stratospheric figures in social media too.

In fact, we’ve made it an annual effort at this time of year to seek out the best of the best writing about France. You can see who made the list in 2017 and 2016 too or explore our favourite French food blogs too.

Choosing five is, therefore, no easy task. But we’ve taken a good look at what’s out there and come up with our list. This year, we’ve gone for expert travel tips, family-friendly fun, candid restaurant reviews, expat insight and lots of photos of France. Read on to discover our pick of the five best French blogs for 2018.

2018’s best blogs about France

Tip after tip after tip

Janice Chung describes herself as “an avid runner from Toronto” but she also turns out to be a real fan of France. She’s visited the country over 30 times and as a result is something of an expert. Jan’s big thing is saving time and money, and that’s the main objective of her blog, France Travel Tips. But the blog also makes a great guide to France and what to see and do there. 

What’s unique

Jan’s take on France… She says it began as her escape from work but has since become her oasis and a place where she feels truly “bien dans sa peau” (good in her skin). Despite not living in the country, she knows the tourist trail like the back of her hand and takes you on a journey around the country (she’s covered a lot in 32 visits).

The site’s super easy to navigate and the handy “Start here” tab comes packed with advice, tips and information. We like the Google map locating all the places Jan has visited and covers in her blog, and the variety of information. This is a website that lists 10 dos and don’ts in France along with money saving tips, out-of-the-box experiences and practical advice.

There are even some downloadable pdfs covering some fun basics such as “how to get your meat cooked”. Her newsletter offers a weekly tip and would make a perfect addition to any France fan’s inbox.

Why take a look

A great site for newbies in France and veteran visitors too. Jan offers a gold mine of information as well as lots of tips to help you get the most out of your trip to France.

En famille in a van

Brit Richard and his family (wife and two daughters) got into a campervan in 2015 and set off for Europe. 3 years and 35 countries later, they’ve notched up 54,000 miles between them and discovered 450 adventures en famille. The Life in our Van blog documents these and gives you a unique insight into seeing France (and the other 34 countries) with kids in tow.

What’s unique

The very family friendly feel to the site. Lots of videos and photos showcase regions and experiences with France taking centre stage as obviously one of their favourite countries. Richard’s guides to French cities have a totally family stance, a perspective that tends to be relegated to a small section in guidebooks or not mentioned at all.

Life in our Van gets up to all sorts of things – the family go cycling round vineyards, whitewater rafting and discover hidden spots on the French coastline. Richard and his wife certainly do encourage their girls to “embrace a bit of adventure”. The blog covers it all comprehensively and you even get an insight into things to do when it’s raining in Strasbourg say.

Would-be campervan trippers will find lots of tips and campsite reviews – always useful when you’re on the road. And of course, each review tells it from a family perspective.

Why take a look

You’re looking for things to do with the kids in France and/or fancy a road trip of your own. And you’re also in search of some inspiration for that next adventure. Sea cliff jumping anyone?

Say yes to France

Oui in France began life in 2012 when New Jersey-born Diane arrived in the Loire Valley. The site has now become a giant source of information, practical advice and a tongue-in-cheek look at life in France for an expat.

What’s unique

Blogging about France from an expat’s point of view is hardly new, but Diane brings a fresh take to those newbie experiences. She firmly believes in “making the most of every moment” and so there’s a strong healthy lifestyle element to her blog. She also includes different perspectives to the whole expat experience.

Take learning French for example. Her articles are unusual – one piece looks at “what we can learn from Bradley Cooper speaking French”. And they all include videos and pictures to bring each article to life. She also goes behind the scenes to visit the ‘real’ France. For example, one of her latest posts documents her visit to a French bakery at 4 o’clock in the morning to video how they make their 1,000 daily baguettes and create the perfect macaron.

French husband Tom also features and answers blog visitors’ questions. The ‘Ask Tom Tuesday’ section gives Diane a great excuse to provide some insight into French culture and how it’s so very different to her native America.

Why take a look

You like your information about France to come with a good sprinkling of humour and enjoy articles with plenty of videos and tips. You’re also looking for some good advice on speaking French (check out the ‘Quick French Lesson’ section).

À table with the good, the bad and the ugly

La Table d’Ogre run by Alexandre Fünfrock, a foodie grad from Ferrandi Paris culinary school, tells French dining as it is. His blog reviews restaurants throughout France (the majority in Paris) and there’s also a smattering of hotel reviews.

What’s unique

Alexandre takes a practical approach to his reviews and is crystal clear in his intentions. You’ll find no hifalutin or flowery phrases. Nor a foodie writer trying to be clever. Instead, he goes for a more practical approach by dividing restaurants into three clear categories (gold, blue and red) and applying the same criteria to all.

Each review takes a lengthy look at the food with photos of lots of dishes plus the menus and wine lists so you know what to expect. Most of his maximum 20-point score goes on the food (15 points possible) and Alexandre recognises a good dish when he sees one even if it’s not his favourite taste.

The blog is bilingual, although we found the English translation a little convoluted at times, but you do get the idea.

Why take a look

You’re looking for good restaurants across the price range – Alexandre’s reviews go from wallet-splitting Michelin to budget-friendly under €40 per person. He has around 120 reviews for restaurants in Paris and they all come with the date he visited so you know if he’s been recently.

Snapping France city by city

Livia, originally from Australia, lived in France for several years before returning Down Under. Her blog Chamelle Photography showcases many places in France and reviews festivals, art exhibitions and films giving you a real flavour of La France.

What’s unique

The pictures for a start. The blog opens with Livia holding pink balloons against a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and spring in Paris and this stunning image sets the scene for the whole site. Livia offers articles on some 20 French cities including the best known as well as a smattering of those you perhaps haven’t heard of. Each comes with lots of information on sights and things to do – including those off the beaten tourist trail – and, of course, plenty of lovely photos.

Livia also takes a look at four regions and typical French festivals – her photos of the Nice Carnival really cheer up a grey day – as well as art exhibitions and film reviews. She also provides lots of practical information such as when’s the best time to visit Aix-en-Provence and there are handy Google maps so you can place a particular city.

Why take a look

You love great photography and French cities. Livia’s blog is particularly strong on pictures of hidden corners (that secret fountain, concealed patio, stunning façade…) and unusual angles giving you the chance to discover a side to places in France that you never knew existed.

Take to the water with French Waterways

But no matter many French blogs you read, there’s simply no substitute for discovering the real thing yourself. France is famous for its waterways that crisscross the country and offer unique insights into French landscapes, cuisine and culture. Check out French Waterways for some true inspiration.

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There’s certainly no shortage of French blogs, written by natives, expats, travel gurus, foodies… And they cover all corners of the country, writing about France and every aspect of its culture. Many of them are niche, while others take a more general stance. The best count their followers in thousands and come with stratospheric figures in social media too.  In fact, we’ve made it an annual effort at this time of year to seek out the best of the best writing about France. You can see who made the list in 2017 and 2016 too.  Choosing five is, therefore, no easy task. But we’ve taken a good look at what’s out there and come up with our list. This year, we’ve gone for expert travel tips, family-friendly fun, candid restaurant reviews, expat insight and lots of photos of France. Read on to discover our pick of the five best French blogs for 2018.

Romantic Honeymoon Cruise

Honeymoon Cruise France

What better way to celebrate your wedding than with a sublimely romantic cruise on the dreamy waterways of France. Whether you choose an all-inclusive luxury hotel barge or a self-drive hire-boat you’ll find the magic of cruising in France an enchanting way to start life’s adventure together.

Honeymoon Cruise Canal du Midi

Drift beneath the arching trees of the sun-speckled Canal du Midi.
Adore the pretty villages, rustic architecture and beauty of the countryside. Savour delicious local dishes and the sun-kissed wines of the Languedoc.

Honeymoon Cruise

Immerse yourselves in the wonders of Burgundy.
Rolling hillsides dotted with hamlets, church spires and romantic chateaux.
Exquisite gastronomy and world-famous vintages.

Choose a self-drive hire-boat
Honeymoon Cruise self-drive hotel barge

or charter a luxury hotel barge

Honeymoon Cruise France

More Romantic Destinations: Brittany      Loire     Aquitaine     Provence      Strasbourg

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Honeymoon Cruise self-drive hotel barge