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Summer Festivals in France 2009

Tuesday 16 June 2009

We have made a selection of the best music and cultural festivals in France this summer.


  • Vence, Côte d'Azur, Les Nuits du Sud, 10th July to 8th August - The 12th edition of this "Music of the World" festival with exhibitions, activities and free concerts on the 16th and 23rd of July and 5th of August. Artists include Gilberto Gil, Grand Corps Malade, Pascale Picard, Amadou et Mariam, Khaled, Kasav, Murray Head...
  • Toulon, Var, Jazz a Toulon, 16th to 26th July -The 20th anniversary of this free jazz festival. Performances on stage each evening in a different place of the city. Artists include Keziah Jones, Stéphane Huchard, Renaud Garcia, Andy Jaffe, Steve Grossman.
  • Nice, Côte d'Azur, Nice Jazz Festival, 18th to 25th July - Created in 1948, this is the oldest jazz festival of France. Five concerts are organized in open-air venues each evening, in wonderful settings. Artists include Tracy Chapman, BB King, Chick Coreo and Garry Burton, Youssou N'Dour, Sonny Rollins, Maxime le Forestier, James Taylor, Keziah Jones, Julien Doré.
  • Vic Fezensac, Gers, Festival Tempo Latino, 23rd to 26th July - A very famous festival amongst salsa lovers when the whole town is taken over by salsa music. Fabulous open air concert venue. This year you can follow the hot rhythms of Kumar, Cubanismo, Calle Real, and La 33, amongst others.
  • Bayonne, Aquitaine, Fêtes de Bayonne, 29th July to 2nd August - A raucous celebration of Basque music, food and culture when the whole town is taken over by party goers in the bars, restaurants and on the streets of the town. Over 1 million visitors each year. Concerts, running of bulls in the streets and a variety of other events.
  • Marciac, Gers, Jazz in Marciac, 31st July to 16th August - A worldwide renowned jazz festival that has been taking place every year since 1978. It has welcomed the most famous jazz musicians in the world. This year over 40 artists will perform including Sonny Rollins, Charles Lloyd, Omara Portuondo, Ahmad Jamal, Yuri Buenaventura...
  • Orange, Vaucluse, Theatre Antique, Les Aut'antiques d'Orange, 7th to 12th August - Beautiful French festival with dance presentations, pop rock concerts, popular music, shows and humour on offer.


  • Reims, Champagne Ardennes, Les Flâneries musicales de Reims, 18th June to 22nd July - With a programme of two or three concerts per day over a month, the choice is wide for jazz and classical music lovers. Composers such as Bach, Schuman or Beethoven will be honoured on stage. This French festival is absolutely not to be missed!
  • Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris, Solidays, 26th to 28th June – A festival in support of the fight against HIV. During 3 days more than 150 artists perform on stage. In 2008 160,000 people attended the numerous concerts of Solidays. French artists such as Manu Chao, Sinsemilia, Les Blérots de R.A.V.E.L, La Grande Sophie and NTM, with international singers and bands such as Digitalism, Groundation and The Ting Ting are awaited this summer.
  • Saint-Quentin, Picardy, Jazz aux Champs Elysées, 28th June to the 6th September 2009 - This festival takes place in Picardy, one Sunday out of two during summer, in the magnificient botanic garden of les Champs-Élysées. All jazz lovers will be seduced by this festival. Free access.
  • Arras, Pas-de-Calais, The Main Square Festival, 2nd to 5th July – This music festival takes place on Arras main square (listed by UNESCO). Both French and international artists, including Amy Macdonald, Lily Allen, Placebo, Lenny Kravitz, Franz Ferdinand, Katty Perry, Moby and Duffy.
  • Grand Palais, Paris, Les étés de la danse, 6th to 25th July - Every year Paris becomes the kingdom of the classical ballet. This year, the company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre will perform.
  • Nancy, Lorraine, Nancyphonies, 6th July to 5th August - This festival offers about 40 concerts with great classical music performers. From recital to concerto, this festival has much to offer.
  • Normandy, Les Promenades musicales du Pays d'Auge, 12th July to the 16th August - Since 1995, this event has proposed unusual concerts that best represent the richness and diversity of the Pay d'Auge. From classical to tzigane music from the Balkans, through to capella concerts with artists from all over the world, you will not be disappointed by the wide choice of concerts and originality of this festival.
  • Normandy, Les Musicales de Normandie, 31st July to the 12th September - This festival offers numerous concerts of classical music in wonderful places such as Rouen's cathedral, and churches in Dieppe - definitely one of the best festivals in France.
  • Domaine de Saint-Cloud, Paris, Rock en Seine, 28th to 30th August Seventh Edition of this festival created in 2003. ‘Rock en Seine’ is a renowned music festival which should not be missed. On the stage this year artists include Oasis, The Offspring, Amy MacDonald, Yan Tiersen.


  • Carhaix, Brittany, Festival des Vieilles Charues, 16th to 19th July - The largest music festival in France and one of the biggest in Europe. The festival aims to offer an eclectic choice of music styles, accessible to everyone This year you will be able to sing with Bruce Springsteen, Benabar, Alamo, Leny Kravitz, and many more!
  • Angoulême, Poitou-Charentes, Garden Nef Party Festival, 17th to 18th July - Third edition of the music (mostly Rock) festival. Artists include Vitalic, Franz Ferdinand, Phoenix, Etienne de Crecy, Gossip, TV on the radio, John and Jehn.
  • Belle-Ile-En-Mer, Brittany, Belle-Ile-En-Mer Lyrique-en-mer Festival, 17th July to 14th August - A magical setting for a range of terrific operas. The artistic director has chosen Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale for 2009, to be played at the Citadelle Vauban. Rossini’s La Petite Messe Solennelle will be performed in the four churches of the island.
  • Sarlat, Dordogne, Aquitaine, Festival des Jeux du Théâtre, 18th July to 5th August - A substantial programme of traditional and modern theatre. Twenty shows, with lectures and debates. The festival welcomes new talent, as well as renowned artists, actors, writers, and directors.
  • Saint-Malo, Brittany, La Route du Rock, 14th to 16th August - The19th edition of this rock festival, which was attended by 16,500 persons last year. Some of the artists this year include My Bloody Valentine, Dominique A, The Kills, Grizzly Bear, Tortoise, Simian Mobile Disco live, The Horrors, Peaches with Sweet Machine, Andrew Bird, Bill Callahan, Camera Obscura, and Marissa Nadler.


  • Lyon, Rhône Alpes, Les Nuits de Fourvière, 5th June to 1st August – Big festival which brings together theatre, dance, music and cinema. There are three theme nights: 18th July will be the African night; 22nd July will be the Folk night; 29th July the Cuban night. Performances such as West Side Story, La Traviata, Cabaret, Hair, Blur, Jamie Cullum, David Bryne, Tracy Chapman, Olivia Ruiz, Amadou and Mariam.
  • Vienne, Rhône Alpes, Jazz a Vienne, 27th June to 10th July - The term “mixing” characterises this 29th edition of the jazz festival. Mix between jazz and african music, performed by Hank Jones and Cheick Tidiane Seck; mix between classical music and jazz and blues, performed by the lyrical singer Barbara Hendricks as well as mix between modern jazz, big band and rap with MC Solar.
  • Belfort, Franche-Comté, Eurockéennes de Belfort, 3rd to 5th July - One of the biggest rock festivals in France. In addition to the numerous famous artists who perform there, its popularity is also based on its beautiful natural environment on the Malsaucy peninsula. Some of the artists include The Prodigy, NTM, the Kills, Olivia Ruiz, Groundation, Phoenix, Laurent Garnierm Charlie Winston.
  • Aix-les-Bains, Rhône Alpes, Musilac, 10th to 12th July - Around thirty artists in two open air stages in a beautiful natural environment at the edge of the Geneva Lake. This year will be the eighth edition of this pop-rock festival which brings over 60,000 fans every year. Amongst others you will hearJolga, Sinsemilia, Keziah Jones, Gossip, Camille, Franz Ferdinand, Duffy.
  • Grenoble, Rhône Alpes, Cabaret frappé, 20th to 29th July - More than 70,000 people attend the festival every year. A multi ethnic and multi age festival attracting families and singles alike. Artists include Natty, Tahita 80, Baobal, Emzel Cafe, Syrano, Clare & The Reasons, and Hugh Coltman.
  • Villegusien, Haute-Marne, Festival Chien à Plumes, Concerts, 7th to 9th August - Reggae, ska, rock and electronic music with some of the most influential artists of the moment such as Tremplin, Raj, Orchesta Buena Vista Social Club, Fumuj, Anais, Fatals Picards.

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