Don’t miss out on any good opportunity to enjoy music in France! Discover the top music french festivals and note when to visit!
Music festivals in France are among the best in the world, offering not only the rock, electro, indie and urban music but also the classical and opera music. Thanks to the biggest french music festivals we have a chance to hear world-class performers in some stunning historic locations. But mostly, music is good for everything: to have fun, to enjoy the moment, to laugh, to feel good, to lift our moods. That is why I would not be myself if I didn’t collect the best and biggest french music festivals that you should experience when in France.
- Les Nuits de Fourvière. I need to start with the music festival that my beloved Lyon offers! Because it is quite a great and interesting music event happening at Fourvière, a picturesque historic district above Lyon. This is where an incredible spectacle are being hosted each year. It is always taking place over the warm summer nights. Les Nuits de Fourvière offers theatre, music, dance, film and circus acts, in the ancient Roman theatre. Les Nuits de Fourvière also has an unusual tradition – in order to show their appreciation, spectators typically throw their seat cushions at the stage. I can assure you this is happening. I have been there, enjoyed a lot and wrote about it here. When & where: July, Lyon.
- Calvi On The Rocks. It is a music festival happening both indoor and in open-air venues that play techno and house music in the the beautiful commune of Calvi, on the island of Corsica. This festival is a perfect summer combination of location and summer season. It lasts six days and nights. When & where: July, Corsica.
- Pete the Monkey Festival. It is a unique, family-friendly music festival close to the picturesque village of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer in Normandy. It is an outdoor music event which takes place over three days each July. On top of the fact that this festival hosts an eclectic mix of indie-pop, disco and electronic music, the event’s main target is to raise funds for a monkey sanctuary in El Chapar, Bolivia. Attendees are encouraged to wear fancy dress, and there’s an excess of monkey-themed decorations. What makes this festival particularly special is the attention to detail in every aspect of the organization – it’s no wonder that it’s fast becoming one of France’s most popular fixtures on the summer festival scene. When & where: July, Saint-Aubin-Sur-Mer, Normandy.
- Nuits Sonores. This is another music festival happening in my beloved Lyon. It is a cultural, artistic and urban event that was born in Lyon in 2003. I have actually never participated in it but only because the type of music it offers, is not my cup of tea. But I know how popular and loved by others the festival is. Nuits Sonores offers an independent, electronic and digital contemporary culture. With a carefully-selected programming, the festival synthesises its key values of openness and diversity, championing the universal quality of music and encouraging artistic forms to break free. Every year for 5 days and 5 nights, the festival inhabits 40 locations across the city of Lyon, including distinguished industrial heritage sites, iconic landmarks and everyday locations. During this time, Nuits Sonores transforms Lyon into a unique urban space of freedom, togetherness and sharing. DJs, visual artists and even the odd live orchestra help create a progressive atmosphere that stands tall on the European scene. When & where: May/June, Lyon.
- Rock en Seine. This is one of the biggest music festivals in France, created in 2003 thanks to the support of the Ile-de-France Region (loyal first partner of the festival since then). Rock en Seine is today the most important rock event, one of Europe’s must-see festivals! Attracting huge crowds and big names, this Paris music festival is much more than a rock concert, catering to all tastes, from hip hop, urban and electronic, right through to jazz, indie and all-out pop. The festival takes place in the green fields of the Parc de Saint-Cloud and typically attracts over 100,000 spectators. When & where: August, Parc de Saint-Cloud, Paris.
- Les Vieilles Charrues. It is a huge multi-genre music festival in Carhaix, France. It is one of the country’s best-loved festival which is regularly packed with both national and global music icons from a diverse range of genres. It is the largest music festival in the country attracting national and an international audience, it welcomes something about 200000+ music fans. Whether that’s modern dance music megastars, rock giants, veteran performers or exciting new talent, the festival welcomes them all for the four day program full of regional food and Celtic themes. When & where: July, Carhaix, Brittany.
- Festival Beauregard. It is a French music festival held inside the Château de Beauregard. The festival offers the showcases of the panning rock, indie, pop and electronic music. Recent editions of Festival Beauregard hosted such stars like Depeche Mode, Macklemore and Jack White, just to name a few. All have contributed to Beauregard becoming one of the leading alternative music festivals in Europe. When & where: July, Normandy.
- Electrobeach Music Festival. It is an annual electronic dance music festival held at a park in Port-Barcarès, France. Recent lineups include Afrojack, Tara McDonald, Dirty South, Hardwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Armin Van Buuren. It welcomes 40,000 ravers and the kind of DJs you’d expect at Tomorrowland and Ultra Europe. Le Lydia, the landlocked former Australian military ship, forms part of Electrobeach’s distinctive beachside arena. When & where: July, Le Barcarès.
- The Cabaret Vert. This is an eclectic music and arts festival that manages to bring together diverse acts from the genres of rock, pop, electronic and urban music. Known for attracting small, local acts as well as big names, the Cabaret Vert is an immensely popular festival located on the banks of the River Meuse. What is very interesting is the fact that the Cabaret Vert is one of the most eco-friendly and hosts the recycling workshops and advocating environmental awareness at all levels of the event. When & where: August, Charleville-Mezieres, Ardennes.
- Main Square Festival. It is an annual international music festival organized by Live Nation which takes place in the first week-end of July, about 180km north of Paris, in the main square of the small provincial town of Arras. In and amongst a strong foundation of rock and indie, mainstream performers of many other genres crop up most years. When & where: July, Arrasa.
- Route du Rock. This is an alternative music festival in the historic port town of Saint-Malo in Brittany, France. Nowadays, the festival is an institution with almost thirty years experience and has long gained international acclaim. La Route du Rock is famous for lineups made up of exciting, genre-pushing artists from the loosely named alternative genre. What is more, its setting within the picturesque coastal town adds a special touch as the festival utilises a historic fort, a modern cultural hub and a beachside stage to host performances. The festival lasts four days. When & where: August, Saint-Malo.
- Hellfest Open Air. It is also called Hellfest Summer Open Air and it is a French rock event focusing on heavy metal music, held annually in June in Clisson in Loire-Atlantique. Its high attendance makes it the French music festival with the largest turnover. The self-proclaimed “extreme music festival” welcomes around 100,000+ attendance each year! When & where: June, Clisson.
- Les Eurockéennes. This is one of France’s largest rock music festivals and the long-running, multi-genre music festival held each summer in Belfort, northeastern France. Born in 1989 as an initiative of the General Council of the Territoire de Belfort, the festival Eurockéennes de Belfort is one of the main outdoor events dedicated to the current music in France and Europe. Every year, about sixty concerts and shows are offered to festival-goers, during the 4 days. When & where: July, Belfort.
- Choregies d’Orange. This is a summer opera festival held each August in Orange located about 21 kilometres north of Avignon in southern France. The Choregies d’Orange offers a truly remarkable festival experience. Each performance takes place in the breath-taking Roman amphitheatre in the historic town of Orange in Provence. The remarkable acoustics of the ancient venue creates a unique and memorable spectacle, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the festival each year. As the oldest music festival in France, the Choregies d’Orange has a reputation for excellence and is widely regarded as one of the best opera and classical music festivals in the world. When & where: June – August, Orange, Provence.
- Festival Garorock. It is perhaps France’s best-loved music festival and has been delighting audiences for over 20 years. Showcasing European and global stars in rock, urban and electronic music, Garorock is a great venue to broaden your music tastes and listen to artists you might not usually encounter. From internationally renowned headliners spanning rock, indie, rap, pop and dance music all the way down the lineup to new and exciting talents from across the music spectrum, the festival has rightly developed a reputation for being one of the nation’s best. Beyond the music, the festival also treats its fans to all manner of extra activities; sports tournaments, funfairs, inflatable waterparks and giant beer pong to name a few, all situated on the beautiful rural site in France’s southwest. It’s also a particularly family-friendly festival, with a laid back atmosphere. When & where: June-July, Marmande, Lot-et-Garonne.
- Festival de La Roque-d’Anthéron. It is the International Festival de Piano de La Roque-d’Anthéron which takes place every year in the beautiful grounds of Château Florans in Provence. An ode to the piano, this music festival showcases new talent and international names in a line-up of outdoor summer piano concerts, some of which are free to the general public. The specially designed stage in the grounds of the castle boasts incredible acoustics, making this an excellent venue for classical, jazz, and contemporary piano music. When & where: July-August, La Roque d’Anthéron, Provence.
- Jazz in Vienne. This is a Jazz event in Vienne near my beloved Lyon. The festival has been held since 1981 in the months of June and July for two weeks. Every evening during the festival, there are concerts in the ancient Roman theater of Vienne. On top of the great artists playing for you, the festival has an interesting proposition for aspiring musicians. They can sign up for workshops at the Académie du Jazz in Vienne itself. Regularly featured on lists of the top 10 French festivals, Jazz in Vienne is well worth a visit simply for the incredible atmosphere. When & where: June-July, Vienne, Rhône-Alps.
I will stop here as the list grew more than I expected! I hope you found this list of the best and the biggest french music festivals that you should experience in France interesting and inspiring. Do you have any preferences in which french music festival would you like to take part in? Or have you ever taken part in any that you can recommend? Thank you for sharing!