10 French Destinations to Visit in 2020

Lille's main square - The Grand Place
800th anniversary of the Metz Cathedral Saint-Etienne
Pain de sucre in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe Islands
Martinique Carnival
Monet - Sur la plage à Trouville
Bordeaux Bassin des Lumières
Vallon des Auffes, Marseille
Hôtel de la Marine - Place de la Concorde
Press release

2020 France is effervescent with innovative developments and major events. In “order of appearance,” here are 10 French Destinations to visit in 2020, including why & when.

Lille, Northern France — year-long

The great Northern capital Lille is the first French City to be named Lille World Capital of Design. The kick-off was December 6, 2019 and will unfold through 2020 by the display of hundreds of innovative design projects affecting every facet of modern-day life.

Loire Valley & Western Loire — year-long

In 2000 a 170-mile stretch of the Loire Valley and the sister region of Western Loire were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from Sully-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley to Chalonnes-sur-Loire in the Western Loire.

Fontevraud Abbey — Western Loire – In addition to celebrating its 20th year as World Heritage Site--part of the Loire Valley 170-mile span, the 12th century Royal Fontevraud Abbey near Chinon and Saumur, will welcome in May 900 modern art works of the Martine and Léon Cligman private collection. These 19th and 20th works will include paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, Corot, Degas, Delacroix and Soutine, and sculptures by Rodin and Germaine Richier which will be displayed in the Fannerie, the former stables of the mother abbesses.

Metz — year-long

800th Anniversary of the city's Saint-Etienne Cathedral, nicknamed "The Lantern of God," is renowned for its Chagall stained-glass windows. Celebrations began December 8, 2019 and will continue through December 8. 2020.

2020 will also be the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Pompidou Metz, the regional wing of Paris' Pompidou Center.

The Guadeloupe Islands - Starting February 1

JetBlue will be expanding their portfolio by adding a new nonstop seasonal service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Guadeloupe’s Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport (PTP). Roundtrip flights will operate three times per week on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays starting February 1, 2020 through the end of April. Flights will then resume in November 2020. Click here for details.

Martinique — starting February 23

King Vaval will return to the streets of Martinique during the island’s colorful and unique carnival happening February 23 to 26, 2020.

Another joyous and unique event will be the world finals of the 2020 Ti Punch Cup. It will take place from March 9 to 13, 2020 at the historic Habitation Clement distillery. Mixologists and bartenders from Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and North America will showcase the rums of Martinique with local ingredients and their creativity. The big question will be: who will dethrone American Bethany Ham?

Normandy — April 3 to September 6

Lovers of Monet, Degas, Manet, Pissaro and great artists of the time, will be drawn to Normandy for the 4th edition of the Normandy Impressionist Festival. It will take place throughout the region from April 3 to September 6, 2020. There will big exhibitions in Rouen and Le Havre and other cities.

Bordeaux — Opening April 17

The trendy and rejuvenated neighborhood of Bacalan welcomes in spring 2020 the Bassin des Lumières, the world's largest digital art center which will be housed in the former WWII submarine base. It will also neighbor the Cité du Vin and the new Musée Mer Marine, all a 15 minute tram ride from the city’s central Place de la Comédie.

Marseille, Provence — June 7 to November 1

Top French City Marseille will be a focal point for contemporary art by hosting the roving European biennial known as MANIFESTA, also a first for France. A dialogue between art and the community, Marseille will be alive in installations, out-door happenings and exhibitions.

PARIS — June, July & October

Bourse de Commerce - Collection Pinault

The long-awaited Bourse de Commerce - Collection Pinault will open to the public in June of 2020. Designed by architect Tadao Ando, it will be housed in the former Commodity Exchange, the Bourse du Commerce, in the heart of the city. The circular and dome topped building will boast 3000 square meters of exhibition spaces to make room for the 5000-piece Pinault contemporary art collection and loans from other venues like those of Pompidou Center to fuel the intended 10 exhibitions a year.

Hôtel de la Marine

Following in its foot-steps in July, is the opening to the public of the Hôtel de la Marine (meaning in the case: mansion) located on the Place de la Concorde right across the rue Royale from the legendary Hôtel de Crillon. The former headquarters of the French Navy from the French Revolution through 2015, the 18th century palace (and furniture storage of the crown) is being restored. It will showcase the royal and state’s period furniture, tapestries and decorative objects, displayed in the palace’s ceremonial ball rooms and recreation of the private apartments of Baron de Ville d’Avray, the royal steward and his wife.

Musée Méliès

Frequently called the silver screen capital of the world, Paris will welcome in October 2020 at the Cinémathèque française a new Musée Méliès named for the pioneer film director—and illusionist, Georges Méliès. More to come shortly. The Cinémathèque française is located in the Bercy District.

Brittany — July & August

From July 10 to 16, 2020 the town of Brest will welcome the International maritime festival, Brest 2020. Every four years, participants can sail on old rigs during the day and watch fireworks over the harbor each night.

The region of Brittany is well-known for its Celtic heritage and from August 7 to 16, 700, 000 visitors are expected to attend the 50th edition of the Festival Interceltique de Lorient to witness and listen to the spectacular music.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency
212 745 0967