In case you hadn't heard (unlikely with all the hullabaloo surrounding the anniversary), it's been 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci breathed his last at the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise. And the Loire Valley town (and the rest of the region for that matter) is not about to let the milestone go by without a full year of events, concerts and light shows. Enter the Viva da Vinci! 2019 festival, an anniversary celebration of epic scale.
Riding its 'European Capital of Culture' high, Lille is poised to seal its rep as a cultural gold mine with the lille3000 Eldorado festival. Borrowed from Mexican folklore and South America legend, Lille will treat locals and visitors to the Latin Fiesta of the decade.
Thirty monumental sculptures by French artist Nathalie Decoster are featured in the first edition of Panzano Arte. Starting in the village of Panzano, Chianti, the art trail winds through the roads of the region, taking in four vineyards along the way.
During the Great War, around 6.6 million soldiers were captured. What was life like for them? The Verdun Memorial presents a major exhibition with personal items, public archives and prisoners' own testimonies.
Art Nouveau took designs from the natural world and created flowing flora and fauna patterns. This fascinating exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia features lamps, posters and prints as examples of the endless decorative possibilities of the Art Nouveau style. Ongoing event. Image © National Gallery of Australia
An excuse to watch sailors thwack each other overboard with great big sticks (otherwise known as water jousting) Sète's Fêtes de la Saint-Louis must be seen to be believed. Mind the backsplash!
This autumn, Bayeux is set to play host to Ulster Museum's Game of Thrones tapestry. Modelled after the Calvados city's own embroidered epic of the Norman Conquest, the 90-metre medieval-style linen masterpiece charts the blood-splattered saga of the Seven Kingdoms in painstakingly vivid – and gory – detail.
Dubbed the 'Mecca of Puppetry', every two years the Ardennes city plays host to some 350 weird and wonderful (but mostly weird) acts and their floppy sidekicks at the world's largest puppet rally. The bonanza promises to deliver child-like fun and chills in equal measure.
Renaissance Faire meets live action role-playing meets Tolkien – with fire dancers, hatchet throwers and a mythical menagerie to boot – Calvados's fantasy festival covers all the bases. What does cider have to do with it? Nothing. It just comes with the territory… Get in contact via enquiry form on site.
HERITAGE DAYS From the Senate to the Paris Métro control room, the Journées du Patrimoine offer nosey denizens behind-the-scenes access to a flurry of off-limits "attractions" – and the odd crypt.
Montier-en-Der is hosting the 23rd edition of their photo festival, it becomes the capital city of wildlife and environmental protection! An estimated 40,000 visitors will discover the excellence of the 100 exhibitions, conferences and campaigns. Image credit: Baptiste Gerbet.