The Tour de France which first began in 1903 is the world’s most prestigious cycling competition which invites over 200 of the best European cyclists to take part in a race that stretches 3200km on European roads. ‘Le Tour’ which is held each year in the month of July, lasting between 25 and 30 days, attracts millions of cheering spectators. The route of the Tour, which is divided into stages, is never the same but always makes sure to pass through the beautiful and mountainous French countryside. It has even passed through neighbouring countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The final part of the route, however, is traditionally run along the Champs-Elyées Avenue; the perfect ending for a glorious race to the finish.
The Cannes Film Festival is an invitation-only annual event that takes place during the month of May in the Southern-French city of Cannes. This prestigious film event, traditionally held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, previews new films covering all genres as well as documentaries from all over the world. To decide upon a winner of the Palm d’Or trophe, big-name film directors are chosen for the jury. In 2013, Steven Spielberg was elected president of the jury. Although you may not get an invite, The Cannes Film Festival is a great chance to set your eyes on famous Hollywood names as they pose for photographers and make their way to gala screenings. A definite opportunity not to be missed if you want to try and get an autograph of your favourite filmstar! Also, during the festival, head down to the beach and relax in the sand whilst watching some movies in a fantastic open-air cinema known as the ‘Cinema de la Plage’.
You probably wouldn’t associate France with Carnival time but, in fact, the French love a good festival. Literally translated, Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday’ or Shrove Tuesday for those in the UK. It is a time when the French dress up in Carnival costumes and masks, paint their faces and take to the streets singing and dancing alongside gigantic and brightly coloured floats. The best place to go during the Mardi Gras celebrations is most definitely in the French Riviera region especially in the city of Nice where the festivities are believed to have originated. It is the biggest event of the whole of the French Riviera. The streets of Nice come to life for ten days with daily parades, fun-filled events and spectacular firework displays in the evenings which brighten up the night sky. Mardi Gras is also a time when the French eat lots of traditional foods such as Crêpes, Gaufres, Merveilles and sweets before the beginning of Lent; an ideal time to delight yourself also with these delicious treats.
The Monaco Grand Prix is the world’s most prestigious and important Formula One automobile race. Held every year on the most demanding and narrow track known in Formula One called the Circuit de Monaco, drivers must overcome obstacles such as very tight corners, lots of elevation changes and driving through a tunnel. All this takes place on the city streets of Monaco including Monte Carlo and La Condamine and takes up to six full weeks to prepare for. The Monaco Grand Prix, dating back to 1929, is an event that has marked its presence in the European calendar and repeatedly attracts a huge number of Formula One fans and tourists to Monaco every year.