Around six million lovers of good foam go to the Oktoberfest in Munich each year, better known in France as the Fête de la bière. Almost two centuries old, this gigantic popular festival is one of the most famous events in Germany. From 19 September to 4 October 2020, beer, good food and merry-go-rounds are the pillars of this hoppy bacchanal which is also a family fun fair. Take our advice for coming back from Munich saying, "I survived Oktoberfest!" ".
The Munich Oktoberfest began with a wedding. The event, which is called Oktoberfest across the Rhine, was launched during the marriage of the future King Louis I to Thérèse de Saxe Hildburghausen in 1810. The festivities, to which Munich residents are invited, end with a horse race so popular that the king decides to establish the tradition of “October celebrations” (Oktoberfest). A meadow, located at the gates of the city and baptized "Theresienwiese" (Thérèse's meadow) in honor of the bride, welcomes the celebrations.
The following year, an agricultural festival is added to the Oktoberfest to highlight the potential of Bavarian agriculture. It was not until 1818 that the first funfair facilities were built, namely a merry-go-round and two swings. A few stalls began to sell beer, and in 1896 large tents were erected to shelter drinkers. At the end of the XNUMXth century, Oktoberfest had become a real beer festival. It was not until 1960 that the popular horse race was removed from the festivities.
In more than 200 years of existence and 186 editions, the Oktoberfest has established itself as the biggest international festival in the world. Every year around 6 million visitors go to the Wiesn, “the meadow” in German, which by extension has become the local name of the festival.
Bubbles, rides and pretzels
The third largest beer consumer in the world, the Germans could not exclude beer from the October party. Over time, it has even become THE beer festival. There is even a production for the party, the Märzenbier, stronger than lager beers. Six to seven million liters are drunk in each edition. In fact, a third of the annual beer production of the city's breweries is consumed during Oktoberfest.
Foam lovers can choose from fourteen tents in the colors of their favorite Munich breweries. They all house a folk orchestra. Kitchens are also installed there. Each tent will serve you chicken, sausage, potato salad, cheese and pretzels.
According to tradition, the mayor of Munich inaugurates the Oktoberfest by letting the first drops of beer escape from the first barrel. Several parades take place in the city during the festival. The first Sunday, a big parade composed of traditional Bavarian groups, animals, horse-drawn carriages and marching bands parading to the meadow. It is also customary for a large concert to be organized in the open air. It brings together all the musical groups from the different tents.
While inside the tents, visitors drink and eat relentlessly, the party is also in full swing outside. A huge funfair is set up in the meadow, with roller coasters, all kinds of rides, bumper cars and ghost train, something to delight young and old. Because children are also welcome! “Family days” are dedicated to them, with a special rate.
Little survival guide
Be careful, the two-week orgy that is the October holidays can be very trying if they are poorly organized.
The first advice to give is to book accommodation in advance, because the hotels are quickly full. It is also essential to reserve a table in the tent of your choice: the 100 seats are obviously not enough for the millions of annual visitors. It is good to remember that you do not go to the festival by car! The roads are very crowded during the festivities and public transport has planned a greater frequency of passage to facilitate travel. It would be very dangerous to get behind the wheel after a day of beer tasting anyway. And, don't forget that when it comes to alcohol, moderation is good!
At Oktoberfest, we don't drink from glasses, nor from pints but from Masses, liter mugs. No, there is no such thing as a smaller glass! Each Mass costs between € 10 and € 11 depending on the type of beer, so plan the change in advance. The lucky ones will be offered a beer in a boot or spiral shaped glass. These fun glasses are nonetheless difficult to handle and you will certainly get them everywhere.
To be at the forefront of local fashion, know that the skin panties worn by many men is the local costume called Lederhosen and as the women prepare for a Dirndl, an apron dress.
If you survive Oktoberfest, you can easily face off against its counterparts from Canada, Brazil or Switzerland, born after the first. Finally, know that there is a phenomenon in Bavaria, called Post Oktoberfest, every year in July, i.e. nine months after the party, the birth rate is on the rise...
Oktoberfest official website in english and german
Munich Tourist Office in French
Good to know: For safety reasons, backpacks are prohibited on the Oktoberfest website
Go to Munich
From CDG and Lyon: Air France and Lufthansa, several direct flights per day.
From Nice, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille and Toulouse: direct flights with Lufthansa.
By train By train, direct TGV of the Deutsche Bahn from Paris-Est, approximately 6 hours.
The A4 towards Metz and Saarbrücken, then towards the South, direction Stuttgart and Munich.
Bus connections with FlixBus and BlaBlaBus.
Go to Theresienwiese: U-Bahn 4 & 5, station “Theresenwiese”.
Where to sleep ?
Remember to book!
Find your hotel in Munich
Have a drink and have a bite to eat
- Hofbräuhaus: Am Platz 9. One of the most famous breweries in the world, opened in 1589. With 3 seats, it receives around 600 customers every day. Bavarian music concert almost every evening. Their tent is the second largest of the festival.
- Biergarten am Chinesischer Turm: located in the Englischer Garten. This Biergarten welcomes you when the weather is nice, under the chestnut trees. Bavarian music orchestra and surprising decor. Self-service and restaurant for refueling.
Other beer festivals around the world:
Beer Festival in Stuttgart, Germany.
Vevey Beer Festival, Switzerland.
Blumenau Oktoberfest in Brazil.
Kitchener Oktoberfest in Canada (Ontario).
Mondial de la beer from Montreal to Quebec.
Oktoberfest by the Bay in San Francisco, California.
... and also an Oktoberfest in Paris, from October 10 to 18.