Mud, rain, sun or fun – which word best describes a music festival? And does it even matter? At Spotahome we love a good party, and we love France too. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite French festivals you’ve never heard of (but should have).
See also: World’s Craziest LGBT Pride Parades
So, whether you’re after a wild and reckless weekend, a daytime concert with your granny, or the chance to celebrate the humble citrus fruit (really) – your Spotahome friends have got you covered:
Indie and alternative
Where: Lac de Malsaucy near Belfort
When: Early July
Les Eurockéennes is the place to enjoy your favourite indie and alternative artists. The site is accessible for those with limited mobility, the lakeside setting is picturesque, and the organisers pride themselves on their Eco-friendly attitude.
La Route du Rock
When: mid-August, every other year
If you want [rock], you’ve got it. La Route du Rock is a 25-year-old festival that doesn’t disappoint. It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.
- Fact: La Route du Rock also has a winter edition which you can attend if you miss the event in summer!
José Gonzales playing at La Route du Rock in 2008
When: beginning of August
Despite being set in a primary school, Baleapop music festival is making big waves in the music festival scene. Did we mention that it’s by the beach? Too cool for school? We should say so.
Do you live for electronic music? Then you could also try the Nuits Sonores, a festival in Lyon that takes place for 5 days every May.
An ‘extreme music festival,’ Hellfest is hell-bent on fomenting headaches. Since it started, the festival has attracted headliners including Motörhead, Rammstein and reigning Gods of Metal Iron Maiden. We now understand the name. Brother and sisters of metal – unite!
- Controversial fact: Both religious and right-wing groups asked sponsors to stop supporting Hellfest in June 2009. Coca-Cola complied and cut ties with the festival a few days later.
The Festival of Aix-en-Provence
The Festival of Aix-en-Provence provides the perfect excuse to visit this charming, historical town whilst soaking up some classical music culture. With orchestras, operas and instrumentals, this festival is one not to miss.
- Fact: This event was created in 1948 by the Countess Lily Pastré, who funded the whole festival herself.
Jazz à Vienne
Where: Ancient Vienne
When: end of June – mid-July
Where better to hear the grooviest jazz soldiers do battle than in an ancient, Roman amphitheater? Jazz à Vienne showcases the smoothest selection of jazz around, with performers spanning the decades. Past headliners have been Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, and Eric Clapton. No, Eric is not jazz, but yes, Eric is awesome.
The Avignon Festival
The Avignon Festival is (very) famous in France, but not so famous outside it. Chances are, then, that you haven’t heard of it, which is a shame. It’s the country’s oldest performing-arts festival, with live performances taking place in the Palais des Papes, a gargantuan Gothic fortress. All-in-all, well worth a visit.
Bout du Monde Festival
Where: Parc Natural Régional d’Armorique
Love world music? Then come along to the Bout du Monde Festival, which takes place each August. We promise you won’t regret it!
Weird and wonderful French festivals
The Lemon Festival
Where: Provence, Côte d’Azur
When: February – March
Can you think of a better way to spend a day than by celebrating the almighty lemon? Neither can we. How else could we show our gratitude to the citrus fruit that sharpens our drinks? For more ways to use a lemon, read this handy website.
Where: Le Quesnoy, Pas de Calais
Do you – like every other young girl – dream of winning the Miss Protein crown? Well, now you have the chance to earn that elusive title. Head to the annual Milk Festival in mid-September to see more cows than you’ve ever seen before. Moo.
The Festival of Twins and Triplets
Yes, you read it correctly. The Festival of Twins and Triplets attracts thousands of twins and triplets (did you guess?) who often dress the same for a laugh. Even if you don’t have such a coveted sibling, it’s worth attending just to celebrate seeing double!
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