Centre Festivals – Ten Great Festivals In Centre France Written By A Confirmed Francophile

As regional celebrations go, Centre is as diverse as they come. From the medieval markets and banquets of the Joan of Arc Festival and the annual Garden Festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire, to the lively Jazz Festival of Orléans and Montoire-sur-le-Loir’s Folklore Festival, this wonderful region is rich in culture and justifiably proud of it.

Home to the Loire Valley with its turreted chateaux, medieval towns and refined lifestyle, the capital of Orléans and the sprawling city of Tours, not to mention the source of delicious local wines such as Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, there are endless reasons to visit this beautiful region. And its diverse range of fun-filled festivals and local celebrations are certainly the icing on the cake.

Here are some of our favourite festivals taking place in Centre throughout the year:

1) Fetes de Jeanne d’Arc, Orléans
May 2013 (dates TBC)
This annual festival commemorates the liberation of Orléans by French heroine Joan of Arc – known as “The Maid of Orléans” – who fought for Charles VII hundreds of years ago. The lively event features a medieval festival, bustling market, live music, various exhibitions, light displays and a number of parades. It’s stirring stuff and a must-see event for any visitor to Orléans.

2) Bourges Spring Festival
23rd – 28th April 2013
Every year, the lovely city of Bourges hosts a Spring Festival which sees musical artists both young and old, established and undiscovered, playing to audiences of several hundred right across the city. Since 1977 the festival has laid on a lively affair filled with music, dancing and plenty of fun, covering a wide range of musical genres – showcasing some of Bourges’ most beautiful architectural sites in the process.

3) Tours Expo, Tours
3rd – 12th May 2013
Every year, the Parc des Expositions in Tours hosts a huge Expo featuring hundreds of different stands, stalls and exhibitions covering various markets and industries. Like any French fair worth its salt, the event hosts a special gastronomic area featuring samples and wine tasting opportunities, showcasing a fantastic range of local, regional, national and worldwide produce.

4) Sully and Le Loiret Festival
May – June 2013 (dates TBC)
This annual classical music festival is held in the beautiful Château de Sully-sur-Loire, bringing a full spectrum of classical music to the town across May and June. Any visit to the turreted fairy tale-style castle of Château de Sully-sur-Loire is a must – and to experience this magical place when it’s filled with the sounds of classic music is a unique encounter in itself. Plus, 2013’s event will mark the festival’s 40th anniversary, so expect a bigger than normal buzz and plenty of entertainment.

5) Orléans Jazz Festival, Orléans
26th – 29th June 2013
Every year, Orléans hosts a Jazz Festival that hails the start of summer. This lively event takes place at various venues across the city, from outdoors on the streets to covered stages, filling Orléans with the intoxicating beats and rhythms of jazz music. Enjoy a range of highlights featuring numerous personalities and scintillating scores by some of the best jazz artists in the business.

6) Garden Festival, Chaumont-sur-Loire
June, July, August & September 2013
Chaumont-sur-Loire is a delight at any time of year, but particularly so between June and September. That’s when the International Garden Festival takes place, and this lovely town sees hundreds of gardens spruced up ready to showcase their blooms to the world. It’s not just a matter of trimming hedges and weeding the borders – the event encourages art, and keen gardeners all over the town tap into their creative sides to bring new ideas and innovative themes to their outdoor spaces.

7) International Folklore Festival
Second fortnight of August 2013
Since 1973, Montoire-sur-le-Loir has welcomed amateur artists from all corners of the world to perform on the town’s streets. During this two-week celebration of the arts, designed to celebrate cultures and traditions from around the world, Montoire comes alive with a spectacle of dance, music, exhibitions, educational courses and discovery sessions. Naturally, you’ll also find the French staple of food and wine in abundance too.

8) Festival de Loire, Orléans
September (biennial)
Historic Orléans is the showboat of this fabulous festival, which sees a nautical celebration taking place on the quays of the River Loire. Dozens of vessels, from barges and tugs to traditional fishing boats and pleasure crafts, converge on the city to celebrate its maritime heritage. Expect numerous markets, exhibitions and attractions to keep all ages entertained, from Punch and Judy shows for the kids to wine tastings for the adults. There are also numerous demonstrations taking place throughout the festival, with cheerful evening entertainment such as live music and street performances.

9) Chartres Light Show, Chartres
13th April – 21st September 2013
This fabulous family-friendly affair is a wonderful spectacle, providing the opportunity to explore the town of Chartres whilst enjoying a special view of its architectural treasures at night. The Light Show is, as you might expect, a chance to see the buildings and monuments lit up in breathtaking fashion – from the beautiful cathedral and the theatre to the historic sites of the Old Town. Aside from the visual spectacle, enjoy music and special projections on the building walls. It’s the perfect excuse to visit and discover this beautiful corner of France.

10) Language Festival, Tours
November 2013 (date TBC)
Towards the end of November, Tours welcomes the annual Language Festival – Linguafest 37 – which celebrates a diverse range of cultures, traditions and languages in Les Halles. Expect music, dance, games, numerous stalls and stands, and of course food and drink, as over 80 cultures are discovered and celebrated across a diverse range of media.

Looking for some more diverse festivals in France? Visit the wonderful Caravan Insurance Gurus website, where you can find this series of French festivals by region, plus find caravan parks in France, the UK and lots more.

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