France 2016 promises to be a fun and exciting year. Here are major developments and events that you will be sure to enjoy!
- Norwegian non-stop flights to Martinique & the Guadeloupe Islands It’s time to visit Martinique and the Guadeloupe Islands. December through April, the award-winning low-cost airline Norwegian is flying non-stop and very affordably to both islands from three East Coast locations: New York’s JFK, Baltimore’s BWI and Boston’s Logan airports. It is the first time in 20 years that residents of the Northeast will enjoy direct service to these French Caribbean Islands.
- Re-opening of the Unterlinden in Colmar, Alsace**** Home to the remarkable Isenheim Altarpiece, the museum reopened December 12, 2015, after a reorganization of its extensive collections and three years of major works including a new wing dedicated to contemporary art.
**- Normandy’s Impressionist Festival – April 16 to September 26, 2016** As the cradle of Impressionism, Normandy will shine from April 16 to September 26, 2016, during the 3rd edition of its Impressionist Festival. It is the perfect time to experience both the works and sights that inspired masters like Monet, Pissaro, Caillebotte, Millet, Boudin, Renoir, Degas, and Cassat.
**- La Cité du Vin: Inauguration June 2, 2016** The gloriously restored wine capital of Bordeaux will include a Wine Museum and Cultural center, the Cité du Vin. Minutes away from Bordeaux’s elegant city center, the Cité will offer visitors immersive and multi-sensory technologies to explore a huge permanent exhibit about great wine cultures throughout the ages. Its opening will coincide with the lively Bordeaux Wine Festival scheduled for June 23 to 26, 2016.
****- Euro 2016 – June 10 to July 10, 2016**** Sports and soccer fans have plenty more to celebrate in France, which, for the third time, is hosting the great European soccer tournament, Euro 2016, from June 10 to July 10. The month-long soccer fest will feature 24 of the top European teams. The 51 matches will unfold in 10 cities throughout France: Bordeaux – Lens – Lille – Lyon – Marseille - Nice – Paris – Saint-Denis – Saint-Étienne and Toulouse.
**- Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt Reopening & Inauguration of new wing - Fall 2016** At the other end of the country, in Picardy, the Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt, will reopen in the fall of 2016 after an ambitious expansion that includes a new wing and reorganization to showcase its comprehensive collection of art and documents dedicated to the Franco-American relationship.
****- Lascaux IV – inauguration in Fall 2016**** In the fall of 2016, the Montignac-Lascaux International Parietal Art Center, also known as Lascaux 4, is poised to become the leading tourist attraction and cultural tool associated with Lascaux's world-famous painted and engraved cave art.
****2016 MAJOR ANNIVERSARIES****
****- 100th Anniversary of WWI - 1914-1918**** The story of Anne Morgan’s war, the Chateau de Blérancourt and WWI all go hand in hand. There will be events to commemorate the WWI battles of 1916, most notably the battle of the Somme in Picardy and, of course, the battle of Verdun in Lorraine. Although the United States had not yet entered the war in 1916, it's never too early to experience the moving memorials honoring the American dough boys and allied soldiers who fought or lost their lives in Picardy and Lorraine during Great War.
**- France & Loire Valley: 500th Anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's arrival in France** In 2016, France will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s arrival with the Mona Lisa in tow, which could explain her cryptic smile. Invited by France’s great Renaissance King Francois 1er, da Vinci crossed the Alps to reach Amboise in the Loire Valley, where he settled and spend the last 3 years of his life at the Château du Clos Lucé, now a museum in his honor.
****- [Normandy 2016](http://us.res.france.fr/press/pk16/normandie/normandie.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=page&utm_term=navbarnormandie&utm_content=navbar&utm_campaign=presskit2016)** Stretching back even deeper into history, the 1,050-year-old Mont-St-Michel Abbey in Normandy has been restored to its island status at the highest tides. A major decade-long national ecological project tackled the problem of rising sand levels, which posed a threat to the monument. The area's new and improved water flow will safeguard Mont-Saint-Michel bay as a maritime area and protect the ecosystem of this varied and precious place. To mark the occasion, the Tour de France will begin on July 2, 2016, from the Mont-St-Michel.
High on the radar of newsworthy items are new destinations to experience and new accommodations to enjoy. In Paris, there has been an impressive wave of boutique hotel openings. To name just a few, there are The Maison Souquet, the Grand Hotel Pigalle, the Bains Douches and the Champagne-themed and aptly named Bubbles of Paris Hotel. This coming winter there will also be the long-anticipated reopening of the legendary Hotel de Crillon and the Ritz.
Paris is not the only place where things are happening, of course. This fall, the Paris Region welcomed a boutique hotel of its own, La Demeure du Parc, in royal and beautiful Fontainebleau. This summer the Rhone-Alpes' classy Royal Evian Hotel reopened after extensive and innovative renovations. And Bordeaux has embraced the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa, brought in July into the InterContinental family of hotels. It has turned to world-renowned chef, restaurateur and television personality Gordon Ramsey to oversee its gastronomic restaurant, Le Pressoir d'Argent.