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in France for music-lovers
On this page,
the main music festivals in provincial France, and at the many other
opportunities that exist, particularly during the summer months, for
visitors to France wanting to enhance a trip to France with a concert
or two . This page does not include details for
music in Paris, as there are concerts and musical events in Paris every
day of the year.
While mostly concerned with classical music, this page also provides
brief information on the main jazz, folk and rock festivals that take
place each summer in France
Part 1: the main
festivals of classical music in France .
May - June: Loire
The Sully and Loiret Festival is a small but high quality music
festival taking place in the Château de Sully and
venues in the area of Orleans. It is mostly devoted to
chamber music and small ensembles.
Official festival site
Strasbourg International Festival. This international festival takes
place each year in Alsace's capital city, in the month of
June. It features major European orchestras and performers.
Festival of Aix en Provence. One of the most famous festivals of
classical music and opera in France, the Aix-en-Provence Festival takes
place each year in July. It attracts major European orchestras and top
Festival is each year devoted to one or two composers. . Colmar
is an attractive historic town in southern Alsace.
Official festival site
- early August; Provence
Festival of Orange, Les Chorégies. World famous opera
in the exceptional location of the Roman amphitheatre at Orange, a
small town in the Rhône valley. In terms of number of
this festival is very small, with usually just two operas being staged
twice each, plus a few other concerts. But in terms of quality, it
attracts world-class performers.
- mid August; Languedoc-Roussillon.
The Pablo Casals festival of chamber music. This festival, named after
the great cellist pablo Casals, mainly takes place in the surroundings
of historic churches in the eastern Pyrenees, notably at Prades and in
the Abbaye St. Michel de Cuxà. The festival attracts
La Chaise Dieu. Prestigious festival of classical music taking place
each August in the austere medieval abbey at La Chaise Dieu, a small
town at 1000 metres altitude in the Livradois - Forez regional park.
The 51st Festival will take place in late August 2017.
Besançon International Music Festival. Well established
classical music, taking place each year in September, in this historic
regional capital in eastern France. The festival is particularly famed
for its Young conductors competition, which takes place every two years.
Paris. Like any world city, Paris offers a rich programme
of classical music events throughout the year. The city has numerous
concert halls and opera houses, as well as churches and other venues
that are used for concerts. On virtually any day of the year, the
visitor will have plenty of concerts or other musical events to choose
2 : Music in rural France - other opportunities
In the summer months, many small towns and rural areas of France put on
concerts in a wide array of venues, including châteaux, old
open-air theatres and small halls, for the benefit of locals and
visitors. There are plenty of small festivals, sometimes thematic,
sometimes not, and many of them are hard to find until one actually
arrives in a place for a holiday. Generally speaking, concerts
organised in this manner are friendly and convivial events, sometimes
followed by a free glass of wine and a chance to chat with the
performers. Performers at these events cover the whole range, from
internationally acclaimed professionals to talented local amateur
groups; and while full orchestral events are rare, many such venues
propose concerts of chamber music, soloists, piano recitals, small
choral groups or ad-hoc ensembles.
One area that has made an effort to provide a
programme of concerts is the High valley of the
Allier, in Auvergne,
an "Art and history heritage area". The 2016 season offered a programme
of over 40 concerts
between late June and late August, most of them in the area's historic
churches and abbeys .
Another example is the south of the Jura
mountains, in eastern France, which each year proposes a programme
recitals in local churches.
For piano enthusiasts, the Roque
d'Anthéron international piano
festival, in rural Provence, is a locally organised festival
offering a programme of piano concerts over a four-week period from
late July to late August
There is also the annual International
Festival, with a week-long series of concerts at
the château de Nohant, home of the 19th century novelist
in the Centre region of France, in late July.
Music-lovers planning a week in France in October should note
string quartet festival, taking place in villages and small
towns in the hills above the French Riviera.
And for a musical break at Easter, the seaside
resort of Deauville, in Normandy, puts on each year the Deauville
Easter Festival of classical music, lasting two weeks.
Some other festivals
France offers plenty more festivals of other types of music: jazz
festivals, rock festivals, techno festivals, and more. Here is a list
of selected major festivals.
de Marciac, near Toulouse.
music festival, Craponne sur Arzon, Auvergne.
Festival Interceltique de Lorient,
Brittany. Major "Celtic" folk festival.
Festival des Vieilles
Charrues, Brittany. France's major rock restival
Belfort, Franche-Comté. France's other major rock festival.
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