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Best Summer Festivals in France 2017

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Our choice of the best summer festivals throughout France in 2017 to suit all ages, tastes and budgets.

Southern France

  • Bouches-du-Rhône, Aix-en-Provence: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, 3rd June to 22nd July - A prestigious classical festival for opera and classical music fans that has been taking place since 1948. Programme includes Don Giovanni, Carmen, Pinocchio, Rake’s Progress.
  • Aude, Carcassonne: Festival de Carcassonne, 27th June to 31st July - One of the biggest annual cultural events in France, with over 100 performances, many of which are free or with reduced rates for certain groups of persons. Very eclectic range, with opera (Marriage of Figaro), dance, circus, theatre, classical and modern music. A mainly Francophone line-up including Renaud, Christophe Maé, Roberto Alagna, Keziah Jones, but also LP+Bryan Ferry, Pixies, Kid Creole, amongst many other acts and performances.
  • Charente, Cognac: Cognac Blues Passions, 4th to 8th July - The 24th year of this festival of Afro-American music, which takes place in the public park in the heart of the town. R&B, gospel, blues, jazz, soul-funk. This year artists include Tasha Taylor, Peter Harper, Archive, Minnie Marks, M&C and many others.
  • Vaucluse, Avignon: Festival d’Avignon, 6th to 26th June- A huge multi-arts celebration, one of the world’s greatest festivals and the oldest in France. Organised in two parts: 'In' is performed at the venue La FabricA, and 'Off' is performed in theatres, gardens, schools, streets and other venues around the town. Movies, art exhibitions, concerts are on offer, with a range of artists with whom Anglophones will be less familiar.
  • Alpes Maritimes, Vence: Les Nuits du Sud, 6th to 29th July - The programme of this 19th edition is another eclectic line-up, with a festival of artists coming from all around the world. They include Ky-Mani Marley, Olivia Ruiz, Julian Perretta, Blues Brother Band, Alpha Blondy and Noa.
  • Gers, Vic-Fezensac: Festival Tempo Latino, 27th to 30th July - The benchmark festival in France and Europe for all salsa music lovers. The whole village comes alive with the wild rhythms of salsa, flamenco, and afro-cuban music. Fabulous open air concert venue. Artists this year include Puerto Candelaria, La-33, Calypso Rose, Richard Bona and Unity by Tony Socca.
  • Vaucluse, Orange: Chorégies d’Orange, 19th July to 5th August -This classical music festival dates from 1860 and is the oldest festival in France. Takes place in the breath-taking and authentic Roman Theatre, one of the most beautiful historic monuments in France. Programme includes Bryn Terfel Concert, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Verdi Rigoletto, The Phantom of the Opera, Verdi Aida, and The Planets.
  • Alpes Maritimes, Nice: Nice Jazz Festival, 17th to 21st July - The event offers open-air concerts, and you can wander from one concert to the next one while enjoying beautiful surroundings. Headline artists such as Mary J Blige, Herbie Hancock, Becca Stevens Band, Woman to Woman, Ibrahim Mallouf, Iam and Ledendary Johnny O'Neal Trio.
  • Pyrénées Atlantiques, Biarritz: Big Festival, 9th to 17th July - The 8th year of the festival, with the main events in the Stade Aguilera. Artists include: The Libertines, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Pharell Williams, and The Kills.
  • Lot, Cahors: Blues Festival, 11th to 15th July - Around now since 1982, it has attracted the biggest names in blues music. Music all over the town. This year artists include Kathy Boyé, Mavis Staples, Dawn Tyler Watson, Kenny Neal, Johnny Gallagher & The Boxtie Band, Angel Forrest and Mister Sipp.
  • Var, Toulon: Jazz à Toulon, 15th July to 23rd July - A programme of many free concerts throughout the whole city, taking place every night in a different place.
  • Aquitaine, Bayonne: Fêtes de Bayonne, 26th to 30th July - Five non-stop days of fiesta in the Basque city of Bayonne. Over a million participants come each year to enjoy traditional Basque food and music, to see the bulls running through the streets and other spectacles. Events for all ages and tastes. Wild stuff!
  • Gers, Marciac: Jazz in Marciac, 28th July to 15th August - Arguably the best jazz festival in Europe. Takes place under the ‘Chapiteau’ in the charming village of Marciac in Gascony. A staggering line-up of artists who include Norah Jones, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Didier Lockwood, Orchestra Baobab, Dhafer Youssef and many others. Free open air 'off' concerts every day on the main square.
  • Gironde, Bordeaux: Reggae Sun Ska Festival, 4th to 6th August - The largest reggae festival in France takes place at the University campus of Pessac-Talence-Gradignan, Bordeaux. Around 80 bands from all corners of the globe.

Northern France

  • Pas-de-Calais, Arras: Arras Main Square Festival, 30th June to 2nd July - This major rock and pop festival takes place on the Citadel (UNESCO listed) and receives many big international bands. This year bands include Major Lazer, Radiohead, Rag'N'Bone Man, amongst numerous others.
  • Champagne-Ardenne, Reims: Les Flâneries Musicales 22nd June to 12th 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.
  • Paris, Hippodrome de Longchamp: Solidays, 23rd to 25th June - Over three days the festival brings together around 80 bands and solo artists for a younger audience on the stage of the Longchamp Racecourse to fight against AIDS. A huge event with both French and international artists.
  • Picardy, Septmonts (Soissons): Festival Pic’Arts, 23rd to 24th June - Since 1998 the village of Septmonts hosts the 'Festival Pic’Arts' in the castle courtyard and offers an eclectic programme of ska, rock, reggae and pop from mainly Francophone artists.
  • Normandy: Promenades Musicales du Pays d’Auge, 15th July to 9th August - A variety of over 20 concerts featuring dance, theatre and poetry held in chateaux, churches, chapels, parks and gardens. Wide choice and original series of performances.
  • Paris, Domaine de Saint-Cloud: Rock en Seine, 25th to 27th August - One of the most renowned French festivals. This Rock’n Roll event lasts 3 days attracting around 20,000 fans, and is held in Saint-Cloud’s park. The line-up includes Slowdive, The Lemon Twigs, Her, Rone Jain, The Shins, PJ Harvey and a host of others.

Western France

  • Brittany, Carhaix: Festival des Vieilles Charues, 13th to 16th July - The largest rock and pop music festival in France and one of the biggest in Europe, attracting around 200,000 festival goers each year. The four-day event offers a choice of music styles. Artists include DJ Snake, Seasick Steve, Feder, Jean-Michel Jarre, Justice, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Renaud, Vianney, Acid Arab Live and many more.
  • Brittany, Belle-Ile-en-Mer: Lyrique-en-Mer, 1st to 18th August - A lovely setting for a range of operas and classical concerts.
  • Pays de La Loire, Saint Nazaire: Festival Les Escales, 28th to 30th July - One of the most important festivals of World Music in France with around 30 concerts over the two days. Highlights LP (Laura Pergolizzi), Milky Chance, Jain, Pixies, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Carl Craig ...
  • Poitou-Charentes, Confolens: Festival de Confolens, 9th to 15th August - The 60th year of the ‘Art et Traditions Populaires du Monde’ (Folklore) event attracts each year over 100,000 visitors to enjoy and discover traditional dance and music from the five continents.
  • Brittany, Lorient: Festival Interceltique de Lorient, 4th to 13th August - 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. Very packed and varied programme of events.
  • Brittany, Saint-Malo: La Route du Rock, 17th to 20th August - The 27th year of this festival in the stunning coastal city of Saint-Malo, either on the beach or Fort de Saint-Père Castle stages. Includes PJ Harvey amongst long list of artists.
  • Deux-Sèvres, Cauney: Mad Hatter's Wonderland Festival,11th to 13th August - A festival run by British expatriates in the grounds of their property. Now in it's 7th year. An impressive line-up of no less than 16 bands, including 60's pop legends Slade. Fun, food and activities for the whole family.

Eastern France

  • Franche-Comte, Belfort: Eurockéennes de Belfort, 6th to 9th July - One of the France’s largest rock festivals with around 100,000 in attendance over the three days. In addition to the numerous famous artists who perform there its popularity is also based on its location on the beautiful natural environment of the Lake Malsaucy peninsula.
  • Rhône Alpes, Lyon: Les Nuits de Fourvières, 1st June to 5th August - Huge and very varied festival running since 1946 on the Gallo-Roman site of Fourvière which brings together theatre, dance, rock, jazz and classical music and circus. Over 60 performances with many leading international artists and bands, including Norah Jones, Lee Fields, and Lady Sir.
  • Burgundy, Beaune: Festival International d’opéra baroque, 7th to 30th July - Created in 1982 and now the leading European Baroque festival, it offers sublime opera concerts in stunning 15th Century locations (Roman Basilica Notre-Dame and Beaune’s Hospices). Unmissable if you are a fan.
  • Rhône Alpes, Aix-Les-Bains: Musilac, 13th to 16th July - Over 3 days the event welcomes around 30 artists in two open air stages in a beautiful natural environment at the edge of Lake Bourget. Pop-rock festival that attracts over 70,000 fans every year. Sting, Jamiroquai, Texas, The Lumineers, LP and many more.
  • Rhône Alpes, Vienne: Jazz à Vienne, 29th June to 13th July - This major festival takes place in a wonderful Roman amphitheatre, as well as other venues. Amongst the array of artists will be Zucchero, Tony Tixer, Trio, Mary J Blige, Kenny Neal, Knower and Keziah Jones.
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