Knowing a language improves so many aspects of our lives. One of them is travel. Ability to communicate with the locals in their own tongue does wonders.
- You can always ask anyone for help, directions, etc.
- You can make friends with anyone. It’s easy, too, because people love foreigners who try speaking their own language.
- You can find more practical information, navigate more easily, save time and money.
Most importantly, you can immerse into the local culture. Immerse to an extent that a regular tourist couldn’t imagine. That’s because you can always talk to the people directly. Along with their language, you can understand their land, their art, their culture.
Want to see it for yourself? There’s no better way to experience a local culture than participating in traditional events with the locals. Celebrations, carnivals, festivals, you name it. That’s why we’ll talk about French festivals you haven’t heard about. By that, we mean festivals in the French-speaking world. French is widespread all across the globe. So, if you know French, you can take whatever direction you want and have a quality journey, too!
Madagascar: Feria Oramena
Southern tip of Madagascar. Fort Dauphin. Feria Oramena, a week-long festival, takes place there every June. It’s dedicated to promoting local Antanosy culture. Since Fort Dauphin is a sea town, this festival is primarily about seafood and lobsters. So, that’s THE time and place to taste various exotic local dishes. On top of that, you may take part in excursions, contests, craft exhibitions, sports, conferences, seafood fairs and more. You won’t avoid traditional Malagasy music, either. Malagasy music breathes freedom. You have to hear it at least once in a lifetime.
The people in Fort Dauphin, as well as other parts of Madagascar, speak French as a second language. So, although Feria Oramena is all about Antanosy culture, you’ll do fine without speaking Malagasy. French is more than enough to delve into this unknown and fascinating world.
Haiti: Haitian Carnival
This celebration lasts a few weeks and leads up to Mardi Gras. Its most exciting part is the carnival in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as other towns in Haiti. Let go of yourself in the largest Mardi Gras carnival of the Central and North America. If you aren’t a passive spectator and take part in the celebration, you’ll feel freedom you’ve never felt before.
Music is a very important part of the carnival. There are concerts of both traditional and contemporary musicians all the time. Other festive events, like comedy plays, are also open to the public. While many such events are in Haitian Creole, some are in French. This language will make you feel at home. You’ll find new friends easily, because roughly half of Haitian population speaks French, too. Among French festivals, this one is probably the craziest!
New Caledonia: Nouméa Carnival
If you’re into carnivals, Nouméa (the capital of New Caledonia) is another place to be. There’s a Carnival of Nouméa during August every year. The most important event of the carnival is, of course, the parade. Various local communities and associations are invited to take place. Up to 15,000 visitors are there during the carnival. For an island like New Caledonia, that’s quite impressive. On top of that, giant screens are set up along the parade route to broadcast the entire show live for even more people.
Aside from the parade, there are also concerts, costumes, dancing, great food and fireworks for a dessert. All sorts of fun that can only be experienced by being there. It’s a great occasion for every francophone because everyone in New Caledonia speaks French. So, go there and see what’s it like in another corner of the world!
Les FrancoFolies de Montréal
Montreal is basically the capital of French culture in Americas, as well as the cultural capital of Canada. Therefore, you may have heard about Les FrancoFolies de Montréal. We’ve focused on little known festivals so far. However, that’s hardly correct if you don’t know the basics. And Montreal’s Les FrancoFolies is something you absolutely must experience.
Why? Because among all the French festivals, this one is considered the largest one when it comes to music. Yep, it’s all about music and performances. Most importantly, all the music and artists are exclusively French. And there are over a thousand artists to listen to. On top of it all, many events are free. So, it’s the perfect festival for a French-speaker. The festival takes place in Montreal in June. Don’t miss it!
This is only the tip of an iceberg when it comes to French festivals. You can find all kinds of celebrations in various French-speaking parts of the world. Or even in places where French isn’t so popular anymore. Sometimes they hold festivals related to French culture as a heritage. As we said before, you can travel all around the world with French. And if you aren’t a francophone, it’s never too late to become one!