2011 marks several major anniversaries in France, with events and festivals scheduled for the entire year. Among the locales and institutions celebrating an anniversary are Normandy celebrating its astounding 1110th anniversary, the Jazz à Juan marking its 51st year running, and Riems Cathedral celebrating its 800th anniversary. Each locale or institution focuses on one aspect of France’s rich history and culture. Celebration events will cover the gambit from tours, shows, exhibitions, fairs, and of course food.
Celebrating History– While Normandy is most widely known as the location of the D-Day invasion during World War II, it’s history goes much farther back to the middle ages, when King Charles le Simple struck a deal with the Viking leader Prince Rollon in 911 that would ultimately establish the region of Normandy. 1,110 years later, the region has become a center of medieval history and fine French cuisine, the latter being profiled in the March 2011 issue of National Geographic Traveler. Over 200 events are scheduled for Normandy’s 1110th anniversary, which will run from April to October, 2011. (www.happybirthdaynormandie.com)
Celebrating Music– The Jazz à Juan, the oldest continuously-running jazz festival in Europe, is marking its 51st year in 2011. For this year’s festival, B.B. King will be peforming, as well as Ben l’Oncle Soul, and Manu Katche known for his collaborations with Sting and Peter Gabriel. The festival runs from July 14- 24, 2011 in Antibes. (www.antibesjuanlespins.com)
Celebrating Faith– The Reims Cathedral is celebrating its 800-year anniversary. Known as a masterpiece of gothic art, and the coronation cathedral of the Kings of France, the cathedral will host conferences, exhibitions, and services, as well as inaugurate new stained glass windows. Celebration events are scheduled for May 6- October 22, 2011. (www.reims-cathedral.culture.fr)
Getting There– Air France is unveiling a number of new service offerings in 2011. Starting in June, the airline will be flying the A380 aircraft out of Washington D.C. Air France will also be offering a new class of seats on their longer flights called Premium Voyageur. Located between Business and Economy, Premium Voyageur seats have 40% more space than economy, individual on-demand entertainment, priority check-in and boarding, and Business Class amenity kit. Air France partners with Delta to cover departure cities where Air France doesn’t fly from. (www.airfrance.com)