French Alps Annual Events and Festivals

Along with the very finest skiing in the world, dozens of towns, villages and resorts spanning the French Alps have incredibly exciting annual events calendars covering pretty much all seasons and tastes. From wonderfully traditional harvest festivals to thumping music events and right through to locally organised youth festivals, it is always worth having a look in advance of a trip to find out just what might be happening.

The list is extensive and changing every year, but the following examples always prove to be some of the most popular:

Grenoble Jazz Festival

Held in the important transport hub of Grenoble, the annual Jazz Festival features performances, appearances and workshops from some of the biggest names in jazz from all over the world. Since 1973, the event sees the city of Grenoble transformed into a jazz mecca, where live performances take place at dozens of venues across the city over two-week of pure jazz-indulgence. Future dates along with ticket and performance information can be found on the event’s official website.

Festival les Barbares

Another hugely popular event in the same areas is the Festival les Barbares, which is also held annually in Grenoble though focuses on music, dance, comedy, theatre and performing arts. Various venues take part in the event and showcase some of the most eclectic performances and talents in Europe covering a wide variety of niches.

Ski and snowboard Mondial

One of the most exciting events on the annual ski calendar, the Mondial du Ski festival sees a host of ski and snowboard competitions hit Les Deux Alps. The town is brought to life for two weekends between the summer and winter seasons, with the event being held annually toward the end of October.

La Gorzderette

Held annually at Champagny-en-Vanoise, La Gorzderette occupies three days in the middle of January and serves up a diverse range of activities and contests which include ice tower climbing, Nordic skiing, archery and hay sledding. The same region is also home to an International Film festival in April and a Classical Music event in March.

International Snow Sculpture Competition

For over two-decades now, the International Snow Sculpture Competition has been held in Valloire and showcases some of the world’s most spectacular talents every January. Following in the footsteps of the original sculpture competitions of Canada, exhibits are open for public viewing.

Derby de la Meije

One of the most exciting and often eventful dates on the Alpine calendar is the Derby de la Meije at La Grave – a five-day event that culminates in the race to descend a 2.150 meter vertical course by any means in the fastest manner possible. The event also serves up wonderful music and some of the region’s best culinary delights.

Sleddog Sports World Cup

Each year, the Vars mountains become home to a leg of the annual World Cup held by the International Federation of Sleddog Sports. This incredible spectacle sees upwards of 500 dogs taking their riders over courses up to 15 km in length and is 100% free for spectators.