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Entertainment in France

French holidays sports and Entertainment

Horse racing goes on almost all year at one track or another near Paris. Soccer is popular at the Pare des Princes and at Colombes Stadium. Tennis tournaments and championship matches take place at Stade Roland-Garros in the Bois. Boxing matches are frequent. Basketball games during the winter. The best skiing areas are in the high Alps, where there are scores of resorts, the biggest being Chamonix (for expert skiers), Megeve (fashionable), and Courchevel and Val d'Isere (lively and youthful). They always have plenty of gaiety and nightlife. You can also ski in the lower Alps (behind Nice) and in the Jura, Pyrenees, and Vosges.
Good fishing, especially for salmon and trout, can be enjoyed in many of France's hundreds of rivers. Sailing is popular both in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, but there are hazards, and it is best to have expert advice. Or you can sail along inland canals and rivers, preferably in the spring or early summer. For swimming, the Atlantic is best in June to early September, in the Mediterranean, the season is longer. Water-skiing, diving, and the new sport of water-parachuting are popular in the Mediterranean. There are a great number of tennis courts and some golf courses.
Cycling is a favorite sport around Paris. There is a fine golf course at St. Cloud (card necessary), also at St. Germain, Chantilly, Mortefontaine, etc. Riding in the Bois. There is skiing in the French Alps and the Pyrenees in winter. Yachting, swimming, fishing, golf, riding all along the Riviera, Deauville, Biarritz, and good fishing in Brittany. The great sporting spectacle of the year is the Tour de France bicycle race, in late June and July. For car enthusiasts, there is the Le Mans 2q.-hr race in June, and the Monte Carlo rally in January. La Rochelle Week in early June is the main sailing regatta. The most important racecourse is Longchamps, in Paris's Bois de Boulogne. There are big association football matches on Sundays and holidays in many towns rugby is played a great deal in SW. France. In Provence, the locals play boules (a kind of bowls), and in the Basque country, as at Arles and Nimes, you can see bullfights in summer. Pelota is a popular ball-game.
There are scores of arts festivals in France each year. Some of the biggest provide music at Strasbourg in June, Aix-en-Provence in July, Besan~on in September, chamber music at Menton in August, opera and choruses at Orange in August, drama at Arles and Angers in June, Avignon in July, films at Cannes in May.
Son et lumiere spectacles are held all summer in thirteen Loire chateaux, the best being at Chenonceaux, and in some thirty-eight other historic buildings, notably the cathedrals of Albi and Vezelay, the Chateau of Versailles, the Palais des Papes at Avignon. Then there are hundreds of folklore festivals and pageants, including the Nice Carnival, before Lent, the Menton Lemon Festival, in February, Easter ceremonies at Lourdes, the Gypsy Pilgrimage at Saintes Maries, May zq and 25, the Festival of the Nights of Burgundy at Dijon, in May and June, leading Breton pardons at Rumengol in June, Auray in July, Le Folgoet in September, other big Breton festivals at Quimper in July, Concarneau in August, the Basque Folk Festival at Bayonne in August, the Burgundy Wine Festival in November, the Joan of Arc Festival at Rouen in May. July iq, Bastille Day, is marked by festivities and parades throughout France.
The leading state-supported theatres in Paris are the Opera and Opera Comique, and the Comedie Fran~aise, Theatre de France, and Theatre National Populaire (all for classical or experirrtental plays). There are some thirty commercial `boulevard' theatres, some of them tiny ones doing difficult plays, and a few chansonniers (for political revues). Theatres mostly start at g p.m. Sometimes they close for a month in summer, they remain open on Sundays, but may close on Mondays or Tuesdays. The best provincial repertory theatres are at Lyons, Aix-en-Provence, Caen, Rennes, Bourges, St Etienne, and Strasbourg. Some towns are building maisons de la culture or arts centres.
Although the theatre is generally less flourishing than in London, the cinema has far more to offer. In Paris there are scores of `art' cinemas showing classic or unusual films, in the provinces, film clubs proliferate. Concerts are
frequent in Paris and other main towns. Theatre and cinema attendants are usually tipped.
Municipal casinos exist in most seaside resorts and spa towns, but not in ordinary towns. In some towns you will find travelling fun-fairs, but there are no seaside piers. Paris has two zoos, at Vincennes and the Jardin des Plantes.

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