6 (big) reasons to visit France in 2024
Here are all the noteworthy events, anniversaries and openings worth keeping in mind if you have France on your travel radar for 2024
Without a doubt, the biggest event on the French calendar for 2024 will be the Paris Olympics, when outdoor sporting competitions will take place against a Parisian backdrop that includes the Eiffel Tower and the Seine river.
But there are a few other noteworthy events, anniversaries and openings worth keeping in mind if you have France on your travel radar for 2024. They include a major art festival to celebrate one of the most transformative movements in art history, the reopening of an 860-year-old landmark and the debut of a five-star hotel for pint-sized princes and princesses.A festival celebrating 150 years of the impressionist movement will take place in Normandy in 2024. Pictured: In the Garden, 1885 (oil on canvas) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir © Pierre-Auguste Renoir / Art Images / Getty Images
For art lovers
Impressionism festival in Normandy
The year 2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the impressionist movement in France, the radical art movement led by artists like Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Cézanne, who sought to break free from classical painting techniques in favor of artistic independence. To fête the occasion, more than 150 events are scheduled to take place across Normandy in northwestern France between March 22 and September 22 that will take a deep dive into the movement and its enduring legacy in the art world today. The festival’s marquee events will also shine the spotlight on the work of two artists, both American, in relation to impressionism.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts of Rouen will host a show devoted to American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), whose works will be juxtaposed against major works from his impressionist contemporaries. And experimental stage director and artist Robert Wilson has created a new sound and light show at the Rouen Cathedral, a monument that was so inspiring for Monet he painted it more than 30 times throughout his career. Find out more in the festival program.
In Paris, similar celebrations will be taking place in Musée d’Orsay when the exhibition Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism runs from March 26 until July 14. Featuring 130 works by the likes of Cézanne, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley, Rima Abdul Malak, the culture minister, said it will be an "exhibition of unrivalled scope".
Europe’s first museum for women’s art
A small town near Cannes in the south of France will become home to what’s being billed as the first museum dedicated entirely to women’s art in Europe. Former commodities trader turned private art collector Christian Levett opened the Mougins Museum of Classical Art in the town of Mougins as a place to showcase his collection of antiquities, neoclassicist masterpieces and ancient arms and armor in 2011. The museum drew 250,000 visitors a year.
In June, the space will take a dramatic new direction and reopen as FAMM: Femmes Artistes du Musée de Mougins (Female Artists of the Mougins Museum), paying homage to the works of contemporary female artists such as Tracey Emin, Joan Mitchell, Elaine de Kooning and Cecily Brown among many others.Notre-Dame de Paris will reopen to visitors next year after a devastating fire shut it down in 2019 © Getty Images
For history buffs
80th anniversary of D-Day Landings
Between June 1 and June 16, the region of Normandy hosts a series of events to remember and honor the 160,000 Allied troops who landed on its beaches during WWII in the biggest air, land and sea invasion in military history. Over 100 events are scheduled to take place along the Normandy coastline for the D-Day Festival, including fireworks shows that will light up the skies over the five landing beaches on June 1, and an official international ceremony that will bring heads of state and veterans to Omaha Beach on June 6. The event will not be public. The official program will be posted and updated on the Mobilier National website.
Notre-Dame de Paris resurrected
Though the reopening of the historic landmark will miss the Olympics by a few months, Notre-Dame de Paris is set to be resurrected in time for an important event on the Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. A replica of the spire which fell dramatically from the top of the cathedral during the April 15, 2019 fire has already been mounted, and will be visible against the Parisian skyline during the Summer Olympic Games. In the meantime, some of the 860-year-old cathedral’s relics, paintings and treasures are on display at various museums across the city, including the Louvre (until January 24, 2024), Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine (until June 2, 2024), and the Mobilier National (April 24–July 28, 2024).Paris is expecting over a million tourists for the Summer Olympic Games © Shutterstock / Svet foto
For sports fans
Paris 2024 Olympics
The biggest event of the year will, of course, be the Olympic Games, when the city hosts 10,500 of the world’s most elite athletes in the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad. Between July 26 and August 11, the city’s most iconic sites and landmarks will be transformed into sporting venues and arenas, providing a stunning – and sometimes surprising – backdrop for competitions. The park located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, for instance, will be transformed into an outdoor arena that will host beach volleyball and blind football.
The Seine river will host the swimming marathon, triathlon, para triathlon and cycling time trials, and Place de la Concorde will become an open-air venue for events like BMX freestyle, breaking, skateboarding and 3X3 basketball. But the Games will also extend to cities across France, with football, handball and basketball tournaments to be hosted by stadiums in Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Nice, Lille and Marseille, and the surfing competition will take place in Tahiti. A new batch of 400,000 tickets were released on November 30 on a first-come, first-served basis.The lobby of the reimagined Disneyland Hotel in Paris © Disney Parks
Disney’s most luxurious hotel to open at Disneyland Paris
After three years of renovations, Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris will reopen in January as the franchise’s first and only five-star hotel. Fittingly, the theme of the luxury property is royalty, with sparkling chandeliers, gilded rooms and opulently decorated suites that rival the grandeur of Versailles. All 487 rooms pay nods to Disney royalty but the suites, which are themed after Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Frozen, bring the fairy tales to life with theater-set-like interiors. Aside from the buffet, the hotel also features a fine dining experience at La Table de Lumière, themed after the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast which itself was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Kid-friendly paddling pools and spa treatments can also be reserved at the Clarins spa. Disneyland Hotel opens January 25.