Regular readers of this blog will know that Jess and I are no strangers to hot air balloon events and hot air ballooning in general.
We’ve been lucky enough to attend a number of hot air balloon events around the world, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. We’ve also flown in a hot air balloon a number of times, including ballooning over the Costa Brava, ballooning in the Spanish Pyrenees, ballooning over Napa Valley and ballooning in Cappadocia.
So you could say that we are kind of fond of hot air balloons and hot air ballooning events!
One event that we have always wanted to visit was Europe’s largest hot air balloon event. This is held every two years in eastern France, and is known as the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons event.
This is a 10 day event which currently holds the record for the most hot air balloons launched together within an hour (456, set in 2017).
We spent four day attending the event in 2019, and we’ve put together an incredibly comprehensive guide to attending the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons festival here. That post has everything you need to know to plan your own trip to this amazing event, including tips on getting here, flying in a balloon, what there is to see and do, and loads more.
This post is for those of you who would like to see lots of photos of balloons. We took hundreds of photos during our time at the event, during which we also took a hot air balloon flight. We’ve whittled all those photos down to some of our absolute favourites, to give you an idea of what you might expect were you to visit yourself.
Without further ado, here are our favourite photos from the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons festival!
A highlight for us was the “Grand Ligne”, which is held once during the event. This is when they try to set the record for the most number of balloons launched within an hour. When we attended in 2019, they matched the number of the previous record, set at 457 balloons.
Setting up the Grand Ligne. It consists of three long rows each with over a hundred balloons in!
Of course, no hot air balloon festival would be complete without some special shapes! This cat was one of our favourites.
A mass ascent was scheduled for every morning and evening of the 10 day event. This meant we got to see a lot of balloons going up!
Not every balloon has a basket! This guy just has a chair.
Another one of those fun special shapes.
The first mass ascent we saw at sunset was quite impressive!
We were really lucky to have our balloon flight on the same day as the Grand Ligne! This was our balloon inflating.
And this was the view as we started to take off with hundreds of other balloons.
Yep, it’s quite a view!
So many balloons, and such a beautiful day!
We tried counting all the balloons.
But we failed…there was just way too many of them!
So many balloons! There’s even a bottle of champagne in there.
Balloon just taking off.
Love those colours against the sky
We were particularly lucky as we had press credentials, meaning we got these snazzy jackets and were allowed to wander the field during the mass ascents.
Another of those special shapes with a chair instead of a basket.
This was the balloon we flew with our pilot Filip.
Well those were some of our favourite photos from our visit to the the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons event. If you want to know more, check out our complete guide to visiting, which has loads of practical information to help you plan your own visit.
Whilst you are in France, we expect you might want to see a few more sights as well. If so, do see some of our other content in France, which includes:
- A guide to visiting La Montagne des Singes (monkey park) in the nearby Alsace region.
- Itineraries for 1 day in Paris, 2 days in Paris and 3 days in Paris
- A guide to the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass
- Tips for choosing the best Seine River Cruise, afternoon tea in Paris, and doing a perfume making class in Paris.
- A guide to visiting Normandy for 2 days
- A guide to visiting Grasse, visiting Nimes, Oradour Sur Glane, and visiting Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
- If you’d like a guidebook to France, check out the Rick Steves France guidebook.
And that’s it for this photo essay! As always, we’re happy to hear your comments and feedback, just pop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
**Disclosure: As press we were provided with parking passes and access to the Press areas. However, we paid for our own transport, accommodation, food, and balloon flights. As always, this article contains only our own honest thoughts and opinions. You can read more in our Ethics Code about how we work**