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Summer Festivals in France 2010

Our choice of the best summer festivals in France for 2010 to suit all ages and tastes, and wherever you may lay your hat.


  • Bouches-du-Rhône: Festival de Marseille, 17th June to 6th July - The 15th year of the “Dance and Arts Festival of Marseille” honours Canada, Japan and the United States and presents a rich and eclectic programme, including ballets, minimalist music, baroque concerts, free cinematic projections, as well as pop-rock music. Artists such as New York choregrapher Jonah Bokaer, the prestigious Japanese Ballet dancer Megumi Nakamura, Ginette Laurin a brilliant dancer from Quebec.
  • Aude, Carcassonne: Festival de Carcassonne, 19th June to 15th August - One of the major annual cultural events of Southern France, with 110 shows (concerts, dance, operas, theatre), more than 75 of which are free! A lot on offer this year with artists including: the ballet dancers of Maurice Béjart, the operatic tenor Roberto Alagna, the French humorist Gad Elmaleh, and singers such as the legendary Bob Dylan, Jamiroquai, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Simple Minds, Mika, The Cranberries, Phoenix, Charlie Winston amongst many others!
  • Bouches-du-Rhône, Istres: Les Nuits d’Istres, 4th to 12th July - This year the “Estivales d’Istres” event offers a “cocktail buffet” concocted by the Michelin starred Chef Sébastien Richard, and hosts great artists such as the sublime French Rock Icon Vanessa Paradis, the famous French humorist Patrick Bosso and the legendary rock star Iggy Pop, who will be performing with his band The Stooges!
  • Vaucluse, Avignon: Festival d’Avignon, 7th to 27th July - Created in 1947, this huge multi-arts celebration is one of the world’s greatest festivals and the oldest in France. Organised in two parts: “In” is performed in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes, and “Off” performed in theatres, schools, streets etc. Movies, art exhibitions, concerts are on offer.
  • Alpes Maritimes, Vence: Les Nuits du Sud, 8th July to 7th August - The 13th edition of this big event will take place in the wonderful “Grand Jardin”. The 2010 programme is worthy of the best festivals, with legendary artists coming from all around the world: Youssou N’Dour, Johnny Cleg, Mickey 3D, Le Peuple de l’Herbe, Admiral T, Axelle Red, Fantasma. Free concerts on 10th and 15th July.
  • Vaucluse, Orange: Chorégies d’Orange, 15th July to 7th August - Taking place in the stunning authentic Roman Theatre, this festival is perfect for any fans of classical music. Great series of concerts and renowned Philharmonic Orchestra performances on offer.
  • Var, Toulon: Jazz à Toulon, 16th to 25th July - The 21st edition of this big free Jazz festival. A nice programme of 18 touring concerts throughout the whole city, taking place every night in a different place. Artists include Marcel Sabiani Quartet, the band Fly Trio and the renowned Michel Jonasz Trio.
  • Alpes Maritimes, Nice: Nice Jazz Festival, 17th to 24th July - Probably the most prestigious Jazz festival in Europe, this eight day event offers open-air concerts in three different stages and beautiful settings (including the “Jardins de Cimiez” and their Roman amphitheatre). You can wander from one concert to the next one while enjoying beautiful surroundings. Great artists such as Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Maurane, and James Hunter...
  • Gers, Vic-Fezensac: Festival Tempo Latino, 22nd to 25th July - Now the benchmark for all Latin Music lovers. The whole village is packed and filled with the wild rhythms of Salsa, Hip Hop, Flamenco, and Afro-Cuban music! Fabulous open air concert venue. Artists this year include Ojos de Brujo, Salsa Celtica, Sebastian Avispa, Choco Orta,...amongst others.
  • Aquitaine, Bayonne: Fêtes de Bayonne, 28th July to 1st August - Five non-stop days of fiesta in the Basque city of Bayonne. Over a million of participants dressed in white and red come each year to enjoy traditional Basque food and music, and to see the bulls running through the streets. Highly recommended!
  • Gers, Marciac: Jazz in Marciac, 30th July to 15th August - Since 1978 this famous jazz festival takes place under the ‘Chapiteau’ of the medieval and charming village of Marciac in Gascony. This year artists include Jamie Cullen, Yaron Herman, Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Chick Corea, Gilberto Gil, Cuban star Chucho Valdes, and many others. Free open air 'off' concerts every day on the main square.


  • Champagne-Ardenne, Reims: Les Flâneries Musicales, 17th June to 21st July - Around 100 concerts by great artists of classical music and jazz who will light up Reims’s summer. Free for the most part, these concerts will take place at prestigious or unusual sites, such as the stunning Saint-Remi Basilica and the city parks. This year, Mozart, Shumann, Debussy and Haydn will be honoured on stage, for the pleasure of classical music lovers!
  • Paris, Hippodrome de Longchamp: Solidays, 25th , 26th and 27th June - Over three days, the festival brings together 150 artists performing on the stage of the Longchamp Racecourse to fight against AIDS. A huge event with both French and International artists performing: Beat Torrent, Crookers, Hocus Pocus, Wax Tailor, Olivia Ruiz, Babylon Circus, Vanessa Paradis, M, Pony Pony Run Run, Oxmo Puccino...
  • Picardy, Septmonts: Festival Pic’Arts, 26th and 27th June - Since 1998, Septmonts hosts the 'Festival Pic’Arts' in its castle’s courtyard and offers an eclectic programme of Ska, Rock, Reggae and Pop. This year, Gush, Emzel café, Gush, Izia, Saez, Les Tambours de Brazza, Pily Pily, Fefe, Alain Souchon...on offer.
  • Pas-de-Calais, Arras: Arras Main Square Festival, 2nd to 4th July - This major musical event takes place on the Majestic 'Grand Place' (unique in Europe and listed by UNESCO) and receives great French and international artists: Black Eyed Peas, Jamiroquai, Vitalic, David Guetta, Pearl Jam, Ben Harper, M, Phoenix, Rammstein, Gossip...amongst many others.
  • Pas-de-Calais: Festival de la Côte d’Opale, 8th to 25th July - This large two-week festival will take place in the 10 towns running along the Côte d'Opale, from Dunkirk to Berck-sur-Mer. The event includes various concerts, ranging from jazz to pop and presents a programme with artists such as: the beautiful Elodie Frégé, Jeanne Cherhal, Da Silva, Olivia Ruiz, Ricky Lee Jones, Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra, Calogero, Renan Luce, Oxmo Puccino...
  • Lorraine, Nancy: Nancyphonies, 15th July to 8th August - This festival offers about 50 concerts with great classical music performers. From recital to concerto, the festival has a lot on offer.
  • Normandy: Promenades Musicales du Pays d’Auge, 15th July - A variety of concerts, featuring dance, theatre and poetry, will be held in various locations from chateaux, churches and chapels to workshops, parks and gardens. From classical to tzigane music, with artists from all over the world, you will not be disappointed by the wide choice and originality of this festival.
  • Paris, Domaine de Saint-Cloud: Rock en Seine, 27th to 29th August - One of the most renowned French festivals and definitely worth a visit. This Rock’n Roll event lasts 3 days and is held in the astonishing Château de Saint-Cloud’s park. The programme is once more exceptional. Artists include Blink 182, Cypress Hill, The Kooks, Deadmau5 (the DJ), Massive Attack, Paolo Nutini and The Ting Tings...


  • Brittany, Carhaix: Festival des Vieilles Charues, 15th to 18th July - The largest music festival in France and one of the biggest in Europe attracting around 200,000 festival goers each year. The event aims to offer an eclectic choice of music styles, accessible to everyone. This year you will enjoy a very rich programme. Artists include Muse, Jacques Dutronc, Mika, Indochine, Phoenix, M, Alain Souchon, Jamiroquai and many more!
  • Brittany, Belle-Ile-en-Mer: Lyrique-en-Mer, 23rd July to 20th August - A magical setting for a range of terrific operas! The artistic director has chosen Verdi’s Rigoletto and Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte for 2010, to be played at the Citadelle Vauban. Fauré’s Requiem will be performed in the four churches of the island.
  • Pays de La Loire, Saint Nazaire: Festival Les Escales, 6th and 7th August - Created 18 years ago, this annual festival is now one of the key events for World Music, having already welcomed over 3,000 artists from all around the world and drawing an audience of up to 40,000. This year the African continent will be honoured with 14 nations invited. Over 200 performers and 25 concerts a day.
  • Poitou-Charentes, Confolens: Festival de Confolens, 9th to 15th August - Created in 1957, the ‘Art et Traditions Populaires du Monde’ event attracts each year over 200,000 visitors and calls any curious or dance and music lovers to come and discover new cultures through the five continents. The 2010 programme will honour Brazil, Scotland, USA, Uruguay, Panama and Hungary.
  • Poitou-Charentes, Vienne: Jazz à Vienne, 25th June to 9th July - Now in its 30th year, this major festival takes place in a wonderful Roman amphitheatre. Amongst the artists will be Norah Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diana Krall, Bobby McFerren, Elvis Costello, and Joe Coker. Not to mention traditional nights focusing on Blues, Gospel, African music, Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms!
  • Brittany, Lorient: Festival Interceltique de Lorient, 6th to 15th August - Since 1971, this annual festival takes place in the heart of the Breton city, featuring Celtic traditional, classical and rock musicians, singers, dancers, as well as painters and sculptors. For its 40th edition, Lorient particularly welcomes artists from Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Canada, and Scotland.
  • Brittany, Saint-Malo: La Route du Rock, 13th to 15th August - As each year, the 20th edition of this festival will occur in the stunning coastal city of Saint-Malo, either on the beach or Fort de Saint-Pere Castle stages. Festival lovers will not be disappointed this year with artists such as The Flamming Lips, Yann Tiersen, Liars, Caribou, Massive Attack...


  • Rhône Alpes, Lyon: Les Nuits de Fourvières, 4th June to 31st July - Big festival which brings together theatre, dance, music and cinema. There are several theme nights including: 4th and 5th July, Indian nights; 6th to 10th July, Flamenco nights; 25th July, Edith Piaf night. Performances include Pekin Opera School, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Benjamin Biolay, M, Jacques Dutronc, Django Drom.
  • Burgundy, Beaune: Festival International d’opéra baroque de Beaune, 2nd to 25th July - Created in 1982 and now the leading European Baroque festival, it offers sublime opera concerts in stunning XVth century locations (Roman Basilica Notre-Dame and Beaune’s Hospices). This year, the programme features the opera Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria by Verdi as an opening, and honours the German composer Handel. An event definitely not to be missed!
  • Franche-Comte, Belfort: Eurockéennes de Belfort, 2nd to 4th July - One of the France’s largest rock festivals. In addition to the numerous famous artists who perform there, its popularity is also based on its beautiful natural environment on the lake Malsaucy peninsula. Some of the artists include Empire of the Sun, Kasabian, Gable, Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Hives, JAY-Z, Massive Attack, Mika, Missy Elliott, Emilie Simon and many others.
  • Rhône Alpes, Aix-Les-Bains: Musilac, 16th to 18th July - Over 3 days the event welcomes around 30 artists in two open air stages in a beautiful natural environment at the edge of the Geneva Lake. This year will be the 9th edition of this pop-rock festival which attracts over 55,000 fans every year. Once more this year the programme is exceptional: ZZ TOP, M, Pete Doherty, Pony Pony Run Run, Gush, Mika, Renan Luce, Indochine, Seasick Steve, Florence and The Machine, White Lies, Paul Weller..amongst others.

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 01/06/2010

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