Les Fêtes de Bayonne

Founded in 1932, the Bayonne Festival in France’s Basque Country is one of the biggest summer events in France, with concerts, street dances, parades, bull runs and bullfights, Basque sports and games, and crowds all dressed in white with traditional red kerchiefs and sashes. July 24-28, 2013

Lyrique en Mer

A small fleet of boats ferries music lovers to operas and concerts in a 16th-century fortress on Belle-Ile island, off the coast of Brittany. This year: Carmen by Bizet, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Haendel’s Messiah. July 19–Aug 16, 2013

Festival de Carcassonne

Classical, jazz and pop music, opera, dance, theater, circus and comedy acts in the spectacular medieval walled city. Music, theater, dance and contemporary art exhibitions against the backdrop of the historical city. This year for the first time the festival will be held in two venues: Bastide St Louis in the corner of Place Carnot and the heart of the Cité Médiévale in the gardens of Théâtre Jean-Deschamps. In addition there will be cultural exchanges all throughout the city and a contemporary art walk along more than 16 locations joining the two  main festival venues. June 19–Aug 4, 2013

Festival de la Vézère

A prestigious classical festival in a string of towns and villages along the Vézère River in Corrèze (Limousin): Chicago Orchestra with Wendy Warner  – Pascal Amoyel- Philippe Bernold- Les Violoncelles Francais. June 19–Aug 22, 2013

Festival Interceltique de Lorient

For the last 40 years the port city of Lorient, on the southern Breton coast, has piped in a gathering of the Celtic clans—from Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Galicia, Asturias and the Isle of Man—for a festival of Celtic music, dance, arts and crafts. On the program: Nolwenn Leroy, Sinnead O’Connor, I Muvrini, and many more. Aug 2–11, 2013

Les Nuits de Fourvière

Music, dance, theater, cinema—Lyon’s big summer festival continues through July with Rufus Wainright, Crosby Stills and Nash, Patti Smith and her Band, Sigur Rós, Diana Krall and more. Through July 31, 2013

Festival de Country Music Mirande

In the unlikely setting of a medieval bastide town in southwest France, a high-spirited celebration of American-style country and western, bluegrass and folk music. Sixty concerts in five days. July 11–14, 2013

Nice Jazz Festival

The oldest jazz festival in France, launched in 1948, is held today in Nice’s Albert 1er gardens.  Highlights this year: Shai Maestro Trio, Chic Corea, George Benson. July 8–12, 2013

Festival de Nîmes

In the city’s almost perfectly intact ancient Roman amphitheater, a pop-rock music festival that always boasts some big-name stars. This year’s roster: Mark Knopfler, Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, Sexion d’Assaut, Green Day, Neil Young, Patti Smith, C2C. June 29–July 18, Aug 23, 2013

Rock en Seine

A three-day rock fest in the beautiful Domaine de Saint Cloud, a vast park on the outskirts of Paris. The lineup this year includes Franz Ferdinand, Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Marr, Phoenix and more. Aug 23–25, 2013



Originally published in the July/August 2011 issue of France Today, and updated in June 2013.