This is the month where just about the whole of Northern France descends onto the beaches of the Côte d’Azur. On the radio, they announce “black weekends” which signify lots of Parisians heading south causing a rather lot of traffic. Everyone is finally on vacation. Don’t expect to see a dentist or a lawyer this month. No point trying to get an appointment of any kind. Everyone else being on vacation forces you to relax. Drink rosé, swim in the sea, visit local markets and take long, lazy naps. This is August in Provence. The heat will force you to take it easy as you listen to the loud cigales (locusts) in the trees. And my has it been hot hot hot recently! Someone told me recently that Europe as a collective whole named the recent heatwave “Lucifer”…ha!
This month there are a few little pottery markets and some annual events that we wait for every year.
Many villages have their own fêtes that generally only the locals know about. You’ll know you’ve stumbled upon one of these when you find the main square full of normally 1-2 glass of wine people drunk off their faces. I even know people that have it written into their work contract that they have to take this specific day off every year for their local village fête.
Make sure to check out some of the ongoing exhibitions before the end of the month. This is my list of August Events in Provence.
August Events in Provence
17 July – 19 August
Festival International Piano – La Roque-d’Anthéron
Large international piano festival in La Roque as well as surrounding towns.
Fête du Jasmin – Grasse
Jasmin festival in this town known for perfume production. The festival also includes an aioli.
Véraison – Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The véraison is the celebration of the ripening of the grapes in this famous wine region. Check out the article I wrote about it on Cookn with Class. Make sure to have a glass offered from barrels carried on donkeys throughout the village. Great atmosphere.
Le Marché Flottant – Isle sur la Sorgue
If you’re a lover of markets, you simply can’t miss this one. This is where, in an effort to replicate the days of old, market stands operate from individual boats on the Sorgue river. Buy some olives from a floating market! Don’t fall in the river though…
Marché Potiers – Mouries
Small pottery market.
Fête du Vin – Gordes
Buy a glass for 5 euros and taste to your heart’s content in the centre of this beautiful village.
Foire Brocante & Antiquité – Isle sur Sorgue
103rd International Antique festival. 220 antique vendors take over the already antique infused town of Isle sur la Sorgue. Great fun to see all the objects- also including modern art pieces. Bring a wallet full of cash!
Festival Européen de la Vannerie – Vallabrègues
45 professional basket weavers from all over Europe come together to show their ancient craft.
Marché Potier – Manosque
22 ceramic artists of all disciplines set up their market stands for an all day pottery market.
Ban des Vendanges – Avignon
Festival that takes place around the Palais des Papes to celebrate the very first ripened grapes of the season.
Fête du Temps Retrouvé : Journée à l’ancienne – Maussane-les-Alpilles
This is where the entirety of the town of Maussane drsses up in costumes of old. Many will choose to dress in clothes that reflect the professions of their grandparents. Otherwise, you’ll see lots of Arlesiennes! My neighbour dressed me up as Mireille last year.
Ongoing Summer Events in Provence
Every Friday morning at 10 am in Les Baux de Provence:
Go on a tour with Bruno, a real Paysan, who will show you the local countryside and explain local flaura and fauna. Leave from the Tourism Office of Les Baux de Provence.
Every Tuesday at Barbentane you’ll find an assembly of Food trucks. The hipsters have finally found Provence!! Starts at 18h.
Every Tuesday evening from 7pm-12am in St Remy de Provence there is an artisan market that winds throughout the old town. These markets are called Marché de Createurs.
Vide Greniers (village flea markets)- many throughout the month
Free Baux Soirs d’Eté – Les Baux de Provence
From 17h30-19h free tours of the village in French. Ask for more info at the tourist office.
To see some bull-related events: The Arles Arena
Carrieres des Lumieres – Les Baux de Provence
This show projects the painting of different artists every year. A unique experience and all pervasive experience not to be missed. This year showcases Bosch, Brueghel and Archimboldo.
Until 24 Sept
Annie Leibovitz Archive Project #1: The Early Years – Arles
Annie Leibovotz is the first exhibition at the new artist building in Arles. You can buy tickets that couple the exhibition with a dance show. à faire!