The end of the summer sees some very exciting events taking place in France. From food festivals to music festivals, windsurfing races to sailing regattas, there is plenty going on, and whether it be wine, pyrotechnics or vintage cars that wet your whistle you’re undoubtedly spoiled for choice when it comes to entertainment in September.
• Perhaps one of the strangest events of the month is the ‘Coupe Icare (www.coupe-icare.org),’ held on the 16th in Saint Hilaire du Touvet (French Alps), which is the oldest free flight competition in the world. Competitors take to the skies in a celebration of all aircraft that fly unaided by motor or machine. There are various competitions over four days, the most famous being the Masquerade Flight contest, whereby hang gliders and paragliders attempt to fly in the most fantastic costumes. In addition to the competitions there are workshops for spectators, film showings, music, trade fairs, street shows and various aerobatic displays.
• September also welcomes the annual Inter-Island Windsurfing Race to the Club de Voile de Bonifacio, Plage de Piantarella. Exploiting the last few weeks of summer weather, this event is an 11 mile race that takes place from the 17th-19th of September, between the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia. It attracts more than 100 competitors from all over the globe and competent wind surfers are more than welcome to take part. Sextant French Properties has a selection of villas on the beautiful island of Corsica, such as this stunning 4 bedroom apartment.
• Elsewhere on the ocean there are two other events taking place in September; the Cannes International Boat and Yacht Show and Les Voiles de St Tropez (http://ot-saint-tropez.com/index.php?page=voiles2010&choix_lang=uk). Nowhere will you see such a fine exhibition of boats and yachts in such an atmosphere of luxury and glamour. If searching the market for your own piece of nautical treasure then join the 57,000 other visitors that will descend on Cannes to soak up the opulent ambiance. Alternatively, just down the road, the famous Voiles de Sainte Tropez, which takes place at the end of September (25th-3rd October), provides a wonderful opportunity to see both modern and traditional yachts battle it out on the water. Expect lively parties and dinners throughout this week long event.
• If you want to keep your feet firmly on the ground then there is the Sainte Savine Street Theatre Festival in Burgundy, although it cannot be guaranteed that you won’t find yourself dancing. Hundreds of people descend on this small town, not far from Troyes, to see professional theatre companies put on marvellous productions and various street performers entertain with their weird and wonderful shows. There can be anything, from puppetry and circus acts to theatre and mime. With a plethora of live music and entertainment this event is sure to brighten up your day. Whilst in this region why not head to the 10th Jazz Festival in Beaune (www.jazzabeaunefestival.com) where you can combine a passion for jazz with a passion for wine. Featuring esteemed jazz artists and samples of Burgundy wines, this festival on the 9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th of the month, is one not to be missed.
• If music is what takes your fancy then there are several other events which might also appeal. The Festival Marsatac takes place in Marseille on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of September and is an eclectic mix of electronic music and other contemporary genres. At the other end of the musical scale there is the annual Festival International de Musique de Besancon (www.festival-besancon.com), which was founded in 1948 and now takes its place amongst some of the most prestigious classical music events in Europe. The event takes place on the 16th -26th September.
• For an incredible pyrotechnic display that brings to life the historic Notre-Dame d’Amiens cathedral, head to the Picardy region to attend La Cathedrale en Couleurs; a fantastic event, which comes to a close at the end of September. The light display, created by a group of artists called ‘Skertzò,’ consists of the cathedral entrances being lit up by spectacular lighting techniques which emulate the original colours of the Cathedral. Sextant French Properties has a variety of properties in the historic Picardy region of France. In Amiens itself you can find a property such as this typical stone house which is on the market for 415.000 euros and is set in 3.2 acres with a river.
• Hoorah! It’s the beginning of the grape harvest and what better way to celebrate than to join in with the festivities at the Saint-Emilion Fetes des Vendages. Held at the Collegiate Church of The Cordeliers in Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, on the 18th and 19th of September, visitors can watch the array of viticultural ceremonies and get to know the fantastic wines of this region.
• For something a little different, come to Angouleme, the capital of the Charente region, for a weekend of vintage car racing at the annual Circuit des Remparts, on the 17th of the month. This fantastic event sees classic and vintage cars drive through the streets of Angouleme in various different races. The weekend is punctuated with huge feasts and celebrations.
• Finally for the enthusiastic botanists out there or simply those who appreciate natural beauty, the International Garden Festival (www.domaine-chaumont.fr) is running from April to October in Chaumont sur Loire in the Loire Valley.