This page is a work in progress. I will list upcoming events in and around the area, which you might enjoy. I will try and update this as often as possible – if there is an event you think should be listed here, please drop me a line. If you want to visit the area and need accommodation please head to www.midihideaways.com. Please note – whilst I believe the information on this page to be correct at the time of publishing, I strongly recommend that you check with the organisers before attending an event.
Limoux Carnival – 2 January 2017 – 2 April 2017
The good people of Limoux take their carnival very serious. Different groups have the run of the central square every Saturday and Sunday during the carnival period. It’s always an enjoyable festival to visit – I have previously written about it here, and you can find the full programme of this year’s events via this link.
Journees Europeennes des Metiers d´Art – 31 March – 2 April 2017
The European Artistic Craft Days are held every year on the first weekend in April. They give the public a chance to see expert craft makers in action. Last year I visited a workshop where verre mousseline is made – see for yourself here. You can find the full programme of this year’s event on the official French website.
Canal du Midi Boat Show 2017, Capestang – 8 April 2017
Your chance to see a selection of the most beautiful hotel barges on the Canal du Midi. The show is aimed at tourism professionals, but on the Saturday it is open to the general public.
Procession de la Sanch, Perpignan – 14 April 2017
Each year on Good Friday, the town of Perpignan hosts the traditional Good Friday Procession. The custom dates back 600 years, and it is a deeply moving spectacle, the only one of its kind in France.
Tournoi de la Citadelle, Carcassonne – 15 and 16 April 2017
This will be the first time that Carcassonne will be hosting this tournament, where competitors fight one another in full armour, just like in the Middle Ages! You can find details on this website.
Balade Geologique dans le Saint-Chinianais, Cebazan – 22 April 2017
The area around Saint-Chinian is a geologist’s dream – to the point that groups of geology students from some of the UK universities are sent here to do field work and projects. This guided visit will be by bus and is followed by a lecture. Details from tourist office in Capestang via this link.
Fete de Saint-Aphrodise, Beziers – 28 April 2017
On the occasion of the fete of the patron saint of Beziers, the Basilica of Saint Aphrodise will be open to the public. Restoration work has been ongoing since I wrote about the church back in 2013, and I am looking forward to seeing the interim results!
Grande Deballage, Pezenas – 7 May 2017
This event is not to be missed if you are into flea markets and antiques. There will be in excess of 150 stalls, selling all kinds of “stuff”!!
Les Sentiers Gourmands, Narbonne – 21 May 2017
For the 14th time in as many years, this gourmet walk has been organised across the La Clape vineyards. The full details can be found on the offical website, and if you want a ‘taste’ of what such a gourmet walk can be like, read my post about one such walk in Saint-Jean-de-Minervois here.
Fete du Marbre, Caunes Minervois – 26 and 27 March 2016
The red marble from Caunes Minervois has been highly prized since Roman times. The fete du marbre is a two day event of exhibitions, markets, guided visits and demonstrations, all to do with marble. You can read my account of my last visit to the fete here.
Fete des Plantes et du Massif, Abbaye de Fontfroide – 30 April and 1 May 2016
Fontfroide Abbey has been hosting a plant festival for a good many years now. The surroundings at the abbey are a magnificent setting for the festival, and it’s a great time to visit the rose garden.
Grand Deballage in Pezenas – 1 May 2016
This is one of the largest antiques and flea markets in the area, with at least 150 stands. Serious bargains can be found if you are prepared to look! I’ll try and be there – should be good fun!
Fete des Mille et Une Pierres, Villespassans – 15 May 2016
This fete has been running each year since 2009, in this typical Languedoc village. There’ll be an artisan market, a vide grenier (flea market), demonstrations such as sheep-shearing, as well as guided visits of the village and the surrounding countryside. The day finishes with a concert by L’Art à Tatouille, an Occitan folk group that plays great music!
La Randonnee de Bacchus, Berlou – 15 May 2016
The Bacchus walk is similar to the Balade Gourmande in Saint-Jean-de-Minervois. It is a well established event, and the website gives you a good idea of what’s in store, both for the walk and the food and wine! I might sign up for it this year!!??
Fete de la Cerise, Ceret – 21 and 22 May 2016
This is a cherry festival which has great renown, but which I’ve not yet managed to visit – so much to do, so much to see, but maybe this year? 😀
Open Day at La Petite Pepiniere, Caunes Minervois – 4 and 5 June 2016
A must for plant lovers and all of you who are interested in mediterranean gardening. Gill Pound is an expert on the subject of gardening in dry climates, and her mature garden is looking spectacular at that time of year. I’ve written about a previous visit to the open day here.
Soapbox race, Saint-Chinian – 4 June 2016
This event promises to be great fun, if last year’s edition of the race was anything to go by! Again the participants will be hurtling down the hill from the windmill to the market square, in their home-made contraptions!!
Fete de la Cerise, Mons la Trivalle – 5 June 2016
This is a local cherry fair which I have visited a number of times over the years. It’s another lovely occasion to get your fill of cherries. You may even get to take some home, and make a wonderful cherry clafoutis (flancake)?
Balade Gourmande en Saint-Jean-de-Minervois – 5 June 2016
For the third year running, the AOC Saint-Jean-de-Minervois is hosting a gourmet walk. I enjoyed the walk last year, perhaps you will want to give it a try this year? You’ll be able to find details on the AOC website later in the year.
Fete de la Cerise, Mons la Trivalle – 5 June 2016
This is a wonderful fete, which celebrates the bountiful cherry harvest. I’ve been to this fete numerous times over the years, and have previously written about it here. Don’t do what I did one year, and get there too late! The cherries may be sold out!
Vente de Charite, Saint-Chinian – 12 June 2016
The local Women’s International Club (WIC) will be holding its annual charity sale from 8:30 am to 13:30pm. There’ll be all kinds of goodies for sale, including secondhand clothes, books, small household appliances, bric-a-brac, jewelery – you name it! And as always there will be a plant stall too.
Fete de la Musique, all over Europe – 21 June 2016
Fete de Saint-Pierre, Valras Plage – 26 to 28 June 2016
Once upon a time, Valras Plage was a little fishing village. The Fete de Saint-Pierre celebrates that heritage with food, drink, music and jousting on water. Read about it here.
Festival de Carcassonne, Carcassonne – 4 July to 1 August 2016
Festival MusiSc, Saint-Chinian – 5 to 10 July 2106
Come and listen to one (or more) of the eight concerts, which are given in Saint-Chinian’s Abbatiale and the parish church. The programme is varied and offers a selection of different musical styles. The festival opens with the children’s choir of Beziers Cathedral. Amongst the concerts, there is an organ recital in the parish church, a tribute to Charles Trenet, a saxophone quartet playing jazz and more. The full programme can be found on http://www.festivalmusisc.wordpress.com
Tour de France 2016 – 13 and 14 July 2016
On July 13, the cyclists of the Tour de France will be racing from Carcassonne to Montpellier – you’ll be able to see the details in due course on the official website. Once again they will be passing through Saint-Chinian, making for a very exciting day!! Here’s a post from when the Tour came through Saint-Chinian a few years ago! On July 14, 2016, the Tour will go from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux. This should be an interesting stage, as the cyclists have to climb more than 1300m in altitude!
Jazz a Sete, Sete – 13 to 19 July 2016
This internationally renowned Jazz Festival takes place in Sete every year, and is a must for lovers of Jazz! This year’s festival is headlined by Diana Krall (already sold out!), but there are tickets available for many of the other performers. The concerts take place in the Theatre de la Mer, an open-air theatre with the sea as a backdrop. Details can be found here.
Bastille Day, all over the area – 14 July 2016
France celebrates her national holiday in great style – parties and fireworks take place in pretty much every village! Some fireworks parties take place on the 13th (e.g. Beziers) and some on the 14th (e.g. Saint-Chinian and Bize-Minervois). Not to be missed!
6eme Academie Musicale, Saint-Chinian – 16 to 23 July 2016
For the sixth time in as many years, Herve Hotier and Lauranne Chastal, with the collaboration of Pierre Courthiade, are running a week of classes for flute students. A masterclass will be given by Juliette Hurel, 1st flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. The week ends with a recital at 5pm on July 22, followed by a concert by the students at 7:30pm.
Fete du Cru, Saint-Chinian – 17 July 2016
A whole day of wine tasting, a not to be missed event in Saint-Chinian. You can read about a previous fete here.
Marche des Potiers (pottery market), Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres – 23 and 24 July 2016
If you enjoy pottery then this event is for you – dozens of potters displaying their wares in the shade of plane trees! I can always find something to buy at this kind of fair!! 😀
Fete de l’Olivier, Bize-Minervois – 24 July 2016
This popular fete always coincides with the Fete du Cru in Saint-Chinian. The theme is the olive and its cultivation, and there is usually a competition for the best tapenade, among other activities. There will be lots of food to buy and eat there, and the atmosphere is always great! You can read about my visit to this fete here.
Nocturn’Art, Saint-Chinian – 26 July 2016
An evening dedicated to artistic creations of all types. Last year, the event had a great variety of artists displaying their skills and creating works of art right in front of the visitors’ eyes. This year’s event promises to be even better!
Open day at the cooperative winery, Saint-Chinian – 5 August 2016
This is your chance, if you have always wanted to know what these enormous wineries look like inside! In the evening there will a communal meal and live music – it’s usually a fantastic evening!! I’ve been many times and have written about it here.
Fete de l’Ail Rose, Lautrec – 5 August 2016
This well-established fete is all about the pink garlic, for which the town of Lautrec is justly famous. I’ve visited this fete several times, and you can read about one of my visits here. The soupe a l’ail, the garlic soup which is served to all visitors, is absolutely delicious! More details can be found on the official website at http://www.ailrosedelautrec.com .
Feria de Beziers, Beziers – 12 to 15 August 2016
Four days of partying in the centre of Beziers, and bull fights in the arena. I’m OK with the partying, but not so sure about the bull fights…
Fete du Fil, Labastide Rouairoux – 14 and 15 August 2016
This is the fete for all of you who sew, embroider, knit, or are otherwise into craft projects. And if you’re not that way inclined, you may enjoy the visit to the textile museum – this year’s special exhibition features Japanese kimonos. You can find my blog about a previous fete du fil here, and for the official website, please follow this link.
Pottery market in Salleles d’Aude – 14 and 15 August 2016
You can combine a visit to this well-established pottery market with a visit to the Roman pottery museum, Amphoralis, just as I did a few years ago. It’s fascinating to see what was produced with fairly limited means in Roman times, and what today’s potters have to offer. Read about my visit here.
Fete de St Louis, Sete – 18 to 23 August 2016
The Fete de St Louis celebrates Sete’s maritime heritage and its patron saint with six days of events. There will be over 70 street performances, and there will be a big jousting tournamen. The jousting is done on water and in boats!!
Fete du Cassoulet, Castelnaudary – 24 to 28 August 2016
Saint-Chinian’s preface to Brescudos Bike Week, Cap d’Agde – 29 August to 4 September 2016
A must for all lovers of motorbikes out there. Hundreds of motorbikes and their riders will descend on Saint-Chinian on August 28, 2016. There’ll be a competition for the “best dressed bike & rider”, and there’ll be lots of motorbike related paraphernalia. Have a look at what happened in 2015.
European heritage days, all over France and Europe – 17 and 18 September 2016
I’m sure there will be plenty of interesting things to do over that weekend! Details of participating venues will be on the French Ministry of Culture website in due course. I have written about events on the heritage weekend several times – you’ll find the posts here.
Fete de la Chataigne, Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres – 22 and 23 October 2016
The chestnut festival in Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres is one of the biggest autumn festivals in the area. It is well worth a visit, whether you like chestnuts or not! I have visited this festival many times, and you can read my post about it here.
This festival pairs romanesque architecture with ancient music, such as in the concert I went to last year at Fontcaude Abbey. This year I went to hear the Troubadours Art Ensemble in the church in Cruzy, where the picture below was taken. There are still a few concerts left this season!
The chestnut festival in Olargues is always enjoyable!! Whilst it is not as large a festival as the one in Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres, it has a great selection of stalls, and the roasted chestnuts are always great!!
Conilhac Jazz Festival, Conilhac – 29 October to 26 November 2016
The little village of Conilhac (850 souls) has been hosting a jazz festival every year since 1987, staging concerts by musicians of world renown! The programme can be found here.
The truffle markets are much-anticipated by some people. If you have ever tasted a real truffle, you’ll know that, love it or hate it, the flavour is unlike anything else! A good introduction to truffles is to visit a truffle market, to smell their heady perfume and to taste the scrambled eggs. A list of events can be found here.