Rhones-Alpes: Region of contrasts

Events for 2016 in Rhones-Alpes

Rhones-Alpes is a fantastic region of France, stretching from the Alps down to the Cote'd Azur, and next year there are plenty of things to keep you occupied, be it winter or summer, spring or autumn, Rhones-Alpes has always got something going on close by.  It is a great region to base yourself if you like sport, with the EURO2016 next year, and of course the yearly pilgrimage of the Yellow Jersey passing through on the Tour de France.  We have plenty of accommodations to choose from that make an ideal base to explore this rich and diverse region of France, Vive Rhones-Alpes!

The Great Odyssey
Covering the Portes du Soleil to the Haute Maurienne – Savoie Mont-Blanc
9th – 20st January
Dog sled race from Avoriaz to Lanslebourg, over nearly 1000 km of trails and with participation of more than 300 dogs from 11 countries. Numerous places visited en route and lots of supplementary events surround this race.
www.grandeodyssee.com / www.hautemaurienne.com

La Foulée Blanche
Autrans – Isère
13th -17th January
A traditional cross-country skiing contest that takes place over distances of between five and 42 km, this is the most popular long distance Nordic ski race in France. Since it began in 1979 over 170,000 skiers have taken part. www.lafouleeblanche.com

International Ice Sculpture Compétition
Valloire – Savoie Mont-Blanc
19th – 22th January
French and international sculptors will take part in a magnificent competition which is followed by a sound and light show. www.valloire.net

valloire_Icesculture - B.Grange OT Valloire

La Fête de l’alicoque (new olive oil festival)
Nyons – Drôme
5th – 7th February
A festival of new olive oil with a market and tastings. www.nyonstourisme.com

Megève Winter Golf Cup
Megève – Savoie Mont-Blanc
25th January – 7th February
An age-old competition that is at the same time sporty and extremely novel ! Golf, golf, golf no matter what the weather throws at us ! www.megeve.com

Truffle Festival
Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Drôme
12th – 14th February
A day to learn everything you will ever need to know about truffles with a truffle market and tastings that attack all the senses! www.drometourisme.com

“Yoko Ono, Lumière” (Yoko Ono, Light) exhibit
Contemporary Art Museum – Lyon
March 9th – July 10th
The whole museum will be dedicated to the artist and her pieces of art. Since the 50’s Yoko Ono who is a musician, sculptor and video maker, has been creating a master piece of art linked to everyday life. Her texts, poems are inspired by every form of visual culture: theatre, painting, films…
This exhibition is presenting illustrated poems from 1952 to works of art from 2016, and will be presented for the first time in France.

The 30th Pierra Menta
Arèches-Beaufort – Savoie Mont-Blanc
9th – 12th March
The pride of Arèches-Beaufort since 1986, this international Alpine ski competition attracts the very best in the world in this specialist arena of skiing at over 10,000 m. www.areches-beaufort.com / www.pierramenta.com

“Autoportraits, from Rembrandt to selfie” exhibit
Fine Arts Museum Lyon
March 26th – June 26th
This exhibition is the first one to be organised in partnership with the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe (Germany) and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburg, and will be presented in the 3 cities at different times throughout the year. It is all about the “auto portrait” or selfie, a real artistic style, which has become a society phenomenon. About 130 works of art will be presented: paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, videos… gathered in 5 themes: the artist’s look and mind, the artist’s work, the artist’s friends and family, the artist in action, the artist’s body.

Venetian Carnival
Annecy – Savoy Mont-Blanc
16th – 21th February
More than 250 masked participants, dressed in sumptuous gowns that blend with the beauty of the town, stroll through the streets of the ‘Venice of the Alps’, dance and regroup. www.lac-annecy.com


Nuits Sonores (Electro and Indie Music Festival)
Lyon – Rhône
4th – 8th May
This is the 12th year for this event that is a real panorama of electronic music (techno, house, électronica…) held in different venues all over the town – in concert halls, galleries, cinemas, museums or architectural symbols of Lyons.

June 10th – July 10th
Games in Saint-Etienne and Lyon during the competition
Groups games:
• Lyon : June 13th, June 16th, June 19th and June 22nd
• Saint-Etienne: June 14th, 17th, 20th
1/8th finals: June 25th in Saint-Etienne and June 26th in Lyon
Semi-final: in Lyon on July 6th


Fourvière Nights
Lyon – Rhône
June and July
Eclectic cultural and seasonal events take place in the exceptional setting of the Roman ruins of Fourvière. www.nuitsdefourviere.fr
Festival of cinema animation
Annecy – Savoie Mont-Blanc
13th – 18th June
This is the most important festival in the world dedicated to cinema animation where the very best in this area can be experienced. There is an official selection of more than 600 films, all sorts of themes and subjects are represented. www.annecy.org

Transhumance Festival
Die – Drôme
Big festival celebrating the ascent to the mountain meadows, involving music events, local produce markets and of course the procession of herds of sheep in Die and at Rousset pass in the Vercors.

Pass’Portes du Soleil
Portes du Soleil – Savoy Mont-Blanc
24th – 26TH June
10th edition of this MTB trek in both France and Switzerland to discover the Portes du Soleil domain and its mighty scenery. The Pass'Portes is a mixture of impressive and unforgettable moments, shared sporting memories and a load of laughs…it has to be done (or redone). www.passportesdusoleil.com

Jazz in Vienne
Vienne – Isère
End of June – Mid-July
An annual rendez-vous for all the great names in jazz in the wonderful setting of the Roman amphitheatre plus “fringe” jazz events taking place all over the town.

Lavender Festival
Many different events take place including a Provencal market where all sorts of products based on lavender are on display.


Aix les Bains – Savoie Mont-Blanc
8th – 10th July
This is the most important rock concert in the region of Rhône-Alpes with around 40 artists performing on four different stages on the shores of the largest natural lake in France. www.musilac.com

Alpe d'Huez – Isère
4th – 10th July
Alpe d’Huez is a Mecca for downhill mountain bikers. The pinnacle of mountain biking, Megavalanche is the biggest downhill bike race in the world and is superlatives all the way, 1400 participants, 20 nations are represented, 6 days of training and racing with over 4000 metres of competitive descent.

Tour de France cycling race
Ardèche, Drôme, Ain, Savoie Mont Blanc
15th – 23rd July in Rhône-Alpes with 6 stages!)
July 15th: Bourg Saint Andéol – Pont d’Arc Cavern (time trial)
July 16th: Montélimar – Villars-les-Dombes (the Birds Park)
July 17th: Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz
July 21st: Sallanches – Megève (time trial)
July 22nd: Albertville – Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc
July 23rd: Megève – Morzine
This mythical race needs no introduction…

Labeaume en Musiques
Labeaume – Ardèche
July – August
The southern Ardèche village of Labeaume, with its maze of steep cobbled streets, is the perfect venue for this musical event, offering a magical setting that is sometimes quite dry but always tantalising and moving… Organisers of the event seek to match music with performers and venues, including the cave at the Aven d’Orgnac with its amazing acoustics, to provide a real sense of harmony and sound. The programme features a mix of classical music, world music and other intriguing choices. Other venues include the beach, with its backdrop of rocky cliffs, which is one of the finest open-air concert halls and the disused quarry, a near-perfect amphitheatre. Audiences are growing, attracted by the quality of the programme, with its demanding choice of music and the involvement of internationally-renowned performers. www.labeaume-festival.org

Lake Annecy Festival
Annecy – Savoie Mont-Blanc
6th August
A pyrotechnical extravaganza that takes place on Lake Annecy, with fireworks and illuminated cruises. www.lac-annecy.com

Reblochon Festival
La Clusaz – Savoie Mont-Blanc
A festival celebrating farming and crafts with a procession of floats, many different events such as bread-making, Savoyard specialties and folk dancing. It attracts more than 2000 spectators. www.laclusaz.com

Mountain Guides Festival
Chamonix Mont-Blanc – Savoie Mont-Blanc
15th August
A traditional ancestral festival to honour the only day in the year that the Chamonix guides can take off. There is a religious component where their ice axes and ropes are blessed, plus a mountaineering display, fireworks and dancing. www.fetedesguides.com

International Triathlon of the Ardèche Gorges
Vallon Pont d’Arc – Ardèche
More than 500 participants are expected to take part to this edition to be staged in the beautiful countryside between St Martin d’Ardèche and Vallon Pont d’Arc. The 1500-metre swim takes place at St Martin d’Ardèche, whilst the tourist route through the gorges will be reserved that day for the 40-km cycle event, and the streets of Vallon Pont d’Arc for the 10-km walk. The challenge can be attempted by individuals or by teams of two or three people. The evening before the race, the Pont d’Arc will be the starting place for an Aquathlon involving a 400-metre swim and a 5-km walk that are open to the general public.

Navig'Aix Festival
Aix-les-Bains – Savoie Mont-Blanc
A large gathering of old dinghies including motorised and steam-powered, as well as racing boats and sailing boats from a bygone age, on the waters of Lake Bourget. There are never fewer than seven different nations taking part, with over 100 teams in total. www.aixlesbains.com

Talloires – Savoie Mont Blanc
Every summer, the beautiful Lake Annecy becomes a great set of show, with fireworks all along with music (jazz, pop/rock or classical music), dancers and acrobats.

Dance Biennale
Lyon – Rhône
September 2016

Evian Championship
Evian-les-Bains – Savoie Mont Blanc
8th – 11th September
Started in 1994 at the Royal Club this is one of the most important women’s golf tournaments in the world and is part of the American and European ladies tour. The best players in the world compete against each other.

The Icarus Cup
Saint Hilaire du Touvet – Isère
The biggest Free Flight event in the world, near Grenoble. More than 8,000 daredevils parachute, wingsuit, glide, and hang-glide through the skies. Also equipment fair and International Film Festival.

Italian cinema Festival
Annecy – Savoie Mont-Blanc
Pre-release screenings of new Italian films with all the famous names of the Italian cinema www.annecycinemaitalien.com

La Grande Braderie
Chambéry – Savoie Mont-Blanc
End of September
Big flea market in the streets of Chambery which takes place at the end of April and also the last Sunday of September www.chambery-tourisme.com

Retour des Alpages (return from the Alpine meadows)
Annecy – Savoie Mont-Blanc
A massive celebration of mountain life and its traditions, involving craftsmen, folk groups, processions of Alpine animals and local produce tastings. There is always a wonderful atmosphere that attracts visitors from all over the world.

International Old Film Festival
Lyon – Rhône
The Institut Lumière organises this festival dedicated to the history of the cinema to attract film buffs and the wider public too and make them aware of the importance of what is known as the seventh art. Around 20 cultural films shown in 200 different locations all over greater Lyon, the festival attracts 70,000 visitors.

Les Castagnades (chestnut festival)
October –November
This is a series of events all in celebration of the local speciality – the chestnut. Visitors can meet local producers and farmers, craftsmen and others whose livelihood is based on the chestnut. The whole area is dedicated to this noble nut. There are chestnut markets, walks and hikes, shows, meals, roast chestnut stands and all types of celebrations. www.castagnades.fr

“Culture Interface – Digital and Science fiction” exhibit
Cite du Design – Saint-Etienne
November 3, 2015 – July 19, 2016
A unique event dedicated to the links between digital design and science fiction

Les Sarmentelles (Beaujolais Nouveau launch)
Beaujeu – Rhône
17th November (always the 3rd Thursday of November)
Every year, tasting of the new Beaujolais wine takes place on the third Thursday in November in the bars and restaurants of Lyon and the Beaujolais region. In Beaujeu, capital of the region, the most popular of all the celebrations takes place – les Sarmentelles. There is dancing and singing, a night of fun and frolics! At midnight the new barrels are opened and there is a torch procession through the streets of Beaujeu. Many parties, wine tastings and events are also taking place in all Beaujolais area, Lyon and surroundings www.beaujolais.com

“Matisse” Exhibit
Fine Arts Museum – Lyon
November 30, 2016 – March 6, 2017
A huge retrospective dedicated to Henri Matisse (1869-1954), an artist famous for its vibrating and stunning paintings. Some of his drawings and sculptures will also be exhibited to reach about 250 master pieces of art from 1905 to 1952.

Light Festival
Lyon – Rhône
Around 8th December
On the evening of 8th December, the people of Lyon put candles in their windows as they have done for the last 150 years to celebrate light! There are artists from all disciplines who design the most ephemeral works around the subject of light.
www.lyon-France.com www.lumieres.lyon.fr

Ski and Boarder Week
Val Thorens – Savoie Mont Blanc
Concerts and boarding demonstrations take place, equipment testing too. www.boarderweek.com

Criterium of the First Snow
Val d’Isère – Savoie Mont Blanc
Two weekends of show stopping skiing high in the mountains as first the men and then the ladies perform their freestyle ski trials on the mythical Face de Bellevarde. www.valdisere.com

Les Glorieuses de Bresse
Bourg-en-Bresse, Montrevel-en-Bresse, Pont-de-Vaux – Ain
In the month of December four towns in the region compete against each other in the ‘Quatre Glorieuses’ – a competition for producers of fine poultry – chicken, capons, turkey…judged by a jury


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