There’s plenty going on in France this winter – from high octane snow-sports events, to historical anniversaries, to cultural showstoppers – welcome to 2014!
La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc: 11 to 22 January 2014
Be a part of the ultimate dog sled race, which is considered the toughest on the international calendar! Watch twenty of the best mushers on earth as they expertly guide 300 impeccably behaved huskies along a challenging course. 2014 is the tenth edition where both Alaskan Siberian Huskies tackle a 1,000 km course across nine stages. The tour gets underway in the Samoëns resort in Grand Massif and ends after a gruelling trek at Haute Maurienne Vanoise. As well as watching the sled dog race of the year, spectators can also get involved with igloo building and trapper workshops by day. By night, relax by an open fire, chow down on a tartiflettes and enjoy a mulled wine, or two.
400th birthday of André Le Nôtre at Versailles: to 5 February 05 2014
The celebrations continue around the fourth centenary of André Le Nôtre’s birth: architect extraordinaire and iconic landscape architect. Le Notre was instrumental in the development of the classic French garden and both the city of Versailles and the grandiose Château de Versailles will continue to pay tribute to the world renowned gardener.
Dunkerque Carnival: 1 February to 22 March 2014
Be a part of Dunkerque-Dunes de Flandre in 2014 which comes alive with the vibrant sounds of traditional fifes, brass and drums. This is one of the most authentic and popular celebration on the annual French calendar. Local participants don the classically striped marine-themed tops along with yellow jackets. The lively atmosphere of the Dunkerque Carnival was forged in the 18th century and today continues for nearly two months. It traditionally marked the special feast held for the fishermen, before they set sail to snare cod, bound for the dangerous icy waters around Iceland.
Rock The Pistes Festival: 26 to 30 March 2014
The Portes du Soleil resort is the perfect spot to ski and snowboard by day, and party hard by night. Situated in the Alps, this is the loudest winter music festival on the French music calendar! All bases are covered, from rock to pop, dance to reggae. The fourth annual event hosts both French and international musical acts across five frantic days. Dubbed the rock-and-ski festival, acts are performing at Avoriaz, Morgins, Châtel, Les Crosets – Champéry and - Les Gets. And residents of the twelve Franco-Swiss resorts are granted access via their ski pass. Get a taster below on the YouTube video…
Chartres en Lumières: 12 April to 12 October 2014
Late winter sees the northern city of Chartres host its own dedicated festival, which showcases the city’s rich historical and natural heritage. The Eure-et-Loir city is renowned the world over for its spectacular medieval Gothic Chartres Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the last ten years Chartres has been illuminating its cultural gems: in fact 29 of the city’s finest architectural winders are lit for all to admire. Every night from April to October, the buildings are lit up between dusk and 1 am, using sophisticated lighting methods, along with video scenography.