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Scouting France's Biennial Hot Air Balloon Festival: Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

"The largest international Hot Air Balloon gathering."

grand est mondial air ballon festival hot air balloons in flight

I'm going to make this one quick since I need to be leaving to try to catch the balloon launch again an hour and a half from now!

This will be my third attempt to see the balloon launch at the biennial Grand Est Mondial Air Ballon Festival. The weather has been terrible lately, and many launches have been canceled. Just this morning, it looked favorable; they had confirmed the launch on Facebook, and then suddenly, the confirmation was deleted, and a cancellation was posted. I was bummed but stopped at the festival to take some photos and see what it is like so I could report back to you all!

They make daily cancellation announcements, but they are all last minute. You will have to plan your visit based on the weather. Checking both rain and wind conditions.

grand est mondial air ballon festival parking area

The farmers have cleared Parking in these giant fields for the crowds. As you drive up, they are clearly labeled and easy to enter. The parking lot was empty this morning, but I am sure it will be pretty crowded tonight. Please note that due to the wet weather we have been having, the ground is soggy and muddy. Wear waterproof shoes you don't mind getting dirty! I didn't even think about it this morning and wore nice shoes I now have to clean.

When entering the festival, you will pass a security check at a station like the one pictured above. They didn't check my purse, but I assume they would check large bags.

grand est mondial air ballon festival

Be sure to stop and check out this neat historical display with highlights of past festivals! It goes all the way back to the 1990s.

The slideshow above exhibits activities you will discover at the festival. They have VR headsets, tennis, rock climbing, a few stations catering to children, swings, and more.

There are food and craft vendors with plenty of seating. Few of which were open this morning. It seems that the morning launches are not as busy or popular. In my experience, the European rule is that festivals do not fully open until around 2 pm. Therefore, I would go in the afternoon if you wish to experience it all.

Don't forget there are many areas to visit nearby if you want to make it a full-day trip. Nancy and Metz are within an hour's drive from the location. For example, my friends and I are leaving the Ramstein area today at 2:30 pm. Stopping at Cora in Forbach, attending the festival (launch scheduled for around 7 pm), and then finishing the night watching the light and sound display at the Metz Cathedral.

There are free on-site bathrooms.

Aircraft displays.

sunflower field outside of the grand est mondial air ballon festival

And even a stunning sunflower field you drive through on the way to the festival (depending on the direction you come from).

I absolutely love sunflowers!

The views can be pretty beautiful, and I pray for a successful launch tonight.

That is the most frustrating thing about hot air balloon festivals and the weather we have been having. They do not cancel launches till the very last minute. Therefore, if you are not staying in the immediate area, you will have to drive there, not knowing whether you will see a launch hence why I ended up going to the festival location three times before I finally saw the balloons take off.

I, unfortunately, cannot advise you on an actual hot air balloon ride as I did not schedule one for myself this year. That is the one piece of information missing here. However, you can check out prices on their website, and I did see a booth where you can book flights. I assume you would want to purchase and make plans as early as possible to ensure a spot if you wish to go next year.

I hope this helped some of you, and say hi if you see me out and about tonight!


I returned in the afternoon to attempt the festival again, and it was a success!

For more, check out my second blog post <-- (click me)!

You'll find all my beautiful photos and descriptions of my evening there.

Additional takeaways I have from my return in the afternoon:

  • This is a BIENNIAL celebration. The next one should be in 2025.

  • Indeed, all the food and vendors were opening in the evening after 2 pm.

  • The food was generic festival food—no unique food trucks or anything special. The pizza I ordered was lukewarm and had deli ham on it (I picked it off). In my opinion, I would skip the high prices and mediocre food and bring your own.

  • The best spot for us to stand was at the end of the field in the parking lot area (towards the left). Find a good place along the fence inside the festival to watch the balloons set up and take photos, then when they begin to launch, walk to a better location outside the festival grounds for unobstructed views of the balloons on their journey.

  • Bring an umbrella and poncho with you if the weather demands. We got soaked!

  • Bringing a chair or blanket to sit on might be beneficial.

  • Be prepared for the launch to not start on time. Flexibility is key here. Ours began after 8:00 pm, and I didn't return home until midnight.

  • There was plenty of traffic exiting the parking lots. I would leave as soon as the launches begin to wane to get a head start.

  • I thought arriving at around 4:00 pm was perfect for my needs.

  • If you are heading to a launch in the morning, I would plan to arrive by 6:00 am at least. So that means early mornings if you are not staying nearby.

  • If you plan to attend this festival and can afford it, I suggest staying there for 2-3 days. This ensures you see the balloons take off without wasting time driving back and forth. Nancy and Metz (mentioned previously) are nearby and are both beautiful cities you can explore during your stay.

Google Maps Link Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Official Website of the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Schedule Link for Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Facebook Page for Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Second Blog Post on the Balloon Festival:

Cora Forbach Google Maps Link:

Cora Forbach Address:

Av. de l'Europe, 57600 Forbach, France

Official Website for Metz Light & Sound Show "Constellations de Metz:"

Metz Light & Sound Show Schedule & Address:

I appreciate your support.

Happy adventures!

- Allie


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