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.
Laser limbo anyone? With techie parkour, video mapping trained on city landmarks, Insta-ready light shows, digital installations on every street corner and cutting-edge trails looping round the centre ville, Constellations de Metz is the festival for the VR age.
Ready to take to the skies – or cheer and whoop from terra firma as hundreds of hot-air balloons skitter over the Lorraine countryside? Needless to say, expectations are sky-high on this anniversary year.
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.