Halloween in France, Ooooooo Scary!

Pumpkins at a French MarketHalloween originated among the Celts in Ireland, Britain and (yes!) France as a pagan Celtic harvest festival. Although other nations continued to observe Halloween throughout the centuries, the original pagan traditions of the Brittany region faded into obscurity long ago.  Until recently, the mention of Halloween in Paris was quite rare.  Parisian children may have heard of the holiday through foreign visitors or expatriates, but for the most part, they never carved pumpkins, dressed up in ghoulish costumes or went 'trick or treating'.

This has changed.  Today, partly due to commercialism and the spread of American pop culture, the delightfully spooky holiday has seen a resurgence in French popularity. More and more cafes and bars are celebrating it American-style. Teens swarm McDonald's  (the iconic emblem of all things American) on Hallow's Eve, and Disneyland Paris is also a cool place to be come October 31st.

France Event: Fête de la musique on June 21st

France: Fête de la musique June 21st 2006

Since 1982, the "Fête de la musique" (Fiesta of music) has been taking place every year in France. This is not surprising since it is fun, free and exciting. Basically anyone that can play music is invited to do so, for free, any place they wish. The participants will range from amateur to professional or even major celebrities. Every style of music is welcome and will be heard. Musicians will perform everywhere: cafes, street corners, public buildings and more.

Paris Plage July 20 to August 20

Paris PlageMaps: Paris Plage, left bank map.

Summer holiday is an important part of the French culture. Traditionally, most people take an entire month off (July or August) to spend time either unwinding in the countryside or sitting by the sea. Families may go camping while couples steal away for romantic rendezvous. Still, not everyone can drop everything and leave town, especially the busy Parisians. So what do the Parisians do?    They bring the 'beach' to themselves, of course!

World Cup 2006 June 9th to July 9th

The World Cup Soccer is an event that takes place every 4 years. Most in the world would consider themselves lucky to have their "country" team win the World Cup once in their lifetime. It is a huge deal for a country to win the world cup. For people used to the NFL "Super Bowl", the world cup for most people in the world is like the "Super Bowl of Super Bowls".

59th Festival de Cannes in May 2006

Carlton Hotel, CannesThis year's Festival de Cannes will he held May 17 though May 28.

Attending the Festival

Unless you are an accredited professional in the film industry (or member of the press) entrance to screenings and official venues will be closed to you.  These events are strictly guarded, and hotels reserve their accommodations for the thousands of film critics, actors, directors and other experts in the industry.  As a basic tourist, the most you can do is watch from the sidelines, but what a view and great entertainment!  Between star-gazing at movie stars and strolling Cannes' beautiful beaches, the festival is sure to delight as a sight-seeing experience.

For those who simply must see a film at the festival, there are a few organizations that allocate a small number of tickets to the public (the International Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight sidebars). Educational groups and French film enthusiasts can also gain some access via the Cannes Cinéphiles programme.  If you are interested, you should contact these organizations at least a year or two in advance to try and claim your spot.  Otherwise, you may be able to catch a Cinéma de la Plage (Film on the Beach), which is a screening category open to the public.

France Event: Museums by Night on May 20 2006.

France Event: The night of museums

The Night of Museums.

For one night only, 1700+ museums and attractions in France will be participating in "The Night of Museums" which means they will be open French Event: The night of museums Vallauriswell into the night (long past usual closing hours) and offering admissions for free. This event is the second edition, and will take place in several European countries. If you happen to be in France on May 20, 2006, don't miss this wonderful cultural opportunity! Plan your days for other sights, but spend your evenings visiting multiple museums at no charge. This is a guaranteed winner.

What makes The Night of Museums so unique and exciting, aside from the free admission, is the fact that many art pieces and architectural structures appear surprisingly different under artificial lighting. Some attractions are taking advantage of this, using multi-colored lights to put on full shows.  Learning while having fun. Brilliant!

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