Marseille Events and Festivals

(Marseille, Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur, France)

Photo showing boats in the Vieux PortAs a maritime city, Marseille is perhaps best known for its sailing festivals. These events attract many prestigious competitors and plenty of spectators, who come to watch them in action.

As in other French towns and cities, Marseille's spring carnival is a spectacular event to watch and for many is the highlight of the festival year. Other events celebrate Marseille's food and culture, as well as its diverse musical heritage.

National Public Holidays

  • 1st January - New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
  • Easter Holiday - Easter Monday (late March or early April)
  • 1st May - Labour Day (Fête du premier mai)
  • 8th May - Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
  • May (40th day after Easter) - Ascension Thursday
  • 14th July - Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
  • 15th August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Assomption)
  • 1st November - All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
  • 11th November - Remembrance Day, Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
  • 25th December - Christmas Day (Noel)
  • 26th December - Second Day of Christmas (In Alsace Lorraine only)

Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • There are no significant festivals in Marseille during the month of January


  • Open 13 in Marseille - mid-February, professional men's tennis tournament, which brings together some of the top names in the sport at Marseille's Palais des Sport


  • Carnaval - mid-March, traditional carnival processions, including the main city centre parade, which ends at the Vieux Port. Accompanied by music and street theatre events
  • French Winegrowers and Farmers Spring Fair - end-March to early April, displays of fine wine and food by producers from all over France. Held at Marseille's Parc Chanot exhibiton centre
  • Russian Festival - mid-March to early April, the Théâtre Toursky, situated on the outskirts of Marseille, presents its annual celebration of Russian plays, film, cabaret and exhibitions


  • SNIM (International Mediterranean Nautical Week) - early April, a high-profile international competition which over the last forty-odd years has attracted the stars of the sailing world


  • 10km du Conseil Général - runners take to Marseille's streets in this popular race on the May Day public holiday


  • Festival de Marseille - mid- June to mid-July, at locations throughout Marseille and featuring a wide variety of performances from contemporary dance to theatre, classic film and music
  • Garde'n Blues Festival - 3-day event in Marseille's Jardin de la Barasse-St. Marcel, with performances by local and international blues performers


  • Documentary International Film Festival of Marseille - films screened at a variety of locations throughout the centre of Marseille, including the Palais du Pharo
  • Bastille Day - held on 13th and 14th July, Marseille stages two extravagant days of celebration, including a folk parade and ball, a grand finale firework display in the Vieux Port, and music and dancing at the Cour d'Estienne d'Orves
  • 5 Continents Jazz Festival - staged in the Palais Longchamp and featuring performances by top European, African, Asian, North and South American musicians


  • Fête de la Vierge du Panier - a pilgrimage procession in which the Sainte Marie is carried through the Panier district from the Eglise Saint Laurent


  • Festival of the Wind - teams from France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain take advantage of the Mistral wind to fly their colourful kites over Marseille's Plage du Prado. Also, children's workshops and dancing
  • Juris' Cup - In one of Marseille's popular regattas teams of lawyers take to the high seas to compete in a sporting challenge which starts at Quai Marcel Pagnol
  • Marseille International Fair - September to October, held at Marseille's Parc Chanot exhibition centre. Displays of the latest food, furniture, gadgets and gizmos, new technologies, culture and heritage from over 40 countries. Also, cultural, sporting and educational activities


  • Tasting Week (La Semaine du Gôut) - a celebration of French gastronomy through various events held throughout Marseille


  • French Winegrowers and Farmers Fair - held at Marseille's Parc Chanot exhibition centre, this event attracts some 25,000 visitors with its exhibits of fine wine and farm-made foods


  • Santon Fair - end-November to end-December. Marseille's annual Santon market takes place in the allées de Meilhan and its centerpiece is a traditional nativity scene featuring these tiny Provençal figures