I took part in the REF French CW contest this weekend (Championnat de France HF Télégraphie). I am not a great contester, or CW operator, but this event was a delight to take part in.
The object is to work as many French stations as possible. Foreign stations send RST + Serial, French stations send RST + Department Number - these are the multipliers and as there are 96 of them plus 11 overseas territories and Departments, there's plenty to go for.
The nice thing about this contest was that very few French stations were sending stupidly fast and secondly, they were all very polite - a massive contrast to the normal scrum of most CW contests. This would be a very good event to start with if you are thinking of trying a CW contest but are intimidated by what you hear in most events.
It takes place on the last full weekend of January (with the SSB contest the last weekend of February) and runs from 6am Saturday until 6 pm (UTC) Sunday. As the exchanges are numeric, you don't even need to speak French!
Full details are on http://concours.ref-union.org/reglements/index.php with the rules in several languages.
Thanks to the RÉSEAU DES ÉMETTEURS FRANÇAIS / UNION FRANÇAISE DES RADIOAMATEURS for running this event.