France Celebrates la Fête de la Science
The Science Festival is an annual event that brings together the general public and the scientific community in France. Generally, la fête de la science takes place in France during two weeks in October.
This festival aims at promoting all kinds of sciences such as chemistry, physics or mathematics, for example. It allows everyone to share special moments with researchers. The main goal is to make scientific culture more accessible to the general public and students.
In this article, you’ll learn more about la fête de la science in France:
Fête de la science
La fête de la science has existed for at least 30 years in France.
Each year, a theme is chosen for la fête de la science (science festival).
The theme can be, for example :
- Eureka! The emotion of discovery (2021)
- Sport & Science (2023)
Scientists open the doors to high-school students and their teachers, as well as to the general public so that they can visit the laboratories and meet with the researchers.
For example, you’ll be able to study Neolithic pottery, play with your visual perception, share experiences with Thomas Pesquet; discover the sea flowers ….
At the Science Festival (Fête de la science), there are thousands of free events, all over France.
All the scientific disciplines participate, as shown in the graph below (data from MESRI-SIES). The public has the opportunity to discover all the sciences: physics, social sciences, mathematics, and also chemistry.
It is a unique opportunity to discover the world of scientific research, see demonstrations, meet researchers, engineers, and lab technicians.
The Science Festival usually takes place in October for 10 days of free events.
For la fête de la science, there are more than 1 500 events in France.
There are three different ways to participate:
- le village des sciences: it brings together in one place and for several days many national and international scientific experts.
- a themed walk: a themed walk is a walk along which there are information boards covering a specific topic. It allows visitors to discover different sites over several days during the same scientific theme and throughout its region.
- a unique event: the “Fête de la science” events are scientific projects that take place outside the science villages and outside the themed walks. There are thousands of them, in every region!
The festival is organized all over France by many different organizations and experts such as researchers, engineers, technicians, or associations. The table below summarizes this information (data source).
They are all volunteers. Their aim is to communicate the results of their research.
|Pourcentage des personnes mobilisées
|Nombre de personnes mobilisées
|Personnels de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche
|Bénévoles associatifs, étudiants, élèves, retraités, service civique
|Enseignants du primaire et du secondaire
Most of the universities in France participate.
In 2021, 10 universities have participated to publish the book “Sciences en bulles : Eurêka !”.
In this book, you’ll discover 10 university research topics, carried out by doctoral students during their theses. The topics are presented and explained in a French comic (a BD in French).
Many research organisms participate, such as the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) or the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE).
More and more associations are joining the French Science Festival. They provide support and diversity in the actions carried out in the country. With this interactive map of France, you can find out what local events are organized for the science fair in every region.
French companies and their research and development sectors, or R&D, are increasingly present at la Fête de la science. It is a privileged moment to communicate about the latest technological innovations and their effects on our daily lives. Example: The French multinational electric utility company (EDF) has already been among the participants.
The objectives of the science festival
There are 5 main objectives:
- raise awareness among the scientific culture
- improve communication between researchers and the public: it allows citizens to interact with the scientific community by discovering or questioning knowledge, techniques, innovations
- facilitate access to quality scientific information
- promote the work of the scientific community
- encourage vocations among young people by stimulating their interest in science and curiosity about scientific careers
All audiences, of all ages, are concerned:
- curious people
- science enthusiastic
The different kinds of animation
Examples of science day activities as reported by the same data source mentioned earlier:
- workshops (ateliers)
- exhibitions (expositions)
- games (jeux)
- conferences (conférences)
- laboratory visits (visites de laboratoire)
- discussion/debate (rencontre/débat)
- show (spectacle)
Looking for virtual events in French?
There are more and more conferences accessible online.
With this interactive tool, you can find virtual events in France. It’s a great way to improve your French listening, to learn new vocabulary, and to follow topics that interest you.
You can also follow Master Your French on YouTube where you’ll find a lot of videos to learn French.