If you’re going to take a trip to France this summer, why not do it in style? The French know music festivals, packing in a full summer schedule that makes other country calendars look scarce. From mega-festival camping in the French countryside to intimate events in the heart of Paris, you can spend the whole summer here at a festival. Below are some of our recommendations and you can see more in our French music festival calendar.
The postcard-perfect French village of Clisson, known for its historic ruins and picturesque river, transforms one weekend each June into the heavy metal mecca known as Hellfest. More than 160 bands show up to perform on six stages with subgenres that include pagan metal, stoner, punk, thrash, grind, and black metal. The 150,000+ extreme music typcially spend the weekend camping and exploring the the wide-ranging Hellfest experience. Act quick. Hellfest sells out every year.
Photo Credit: Evan Forget
Marvellous Island Festival 2020
Head to the east side of Paris and spend a day (or two) at the beach listening to world-class electronic music, From the organic beats of the Beach Stage to the incredible production of the 360° Digital Stage to the hedonistic gurus at the Hippie State, Marvellous Island is the perfect way to welcome in the summer.
Photo Credit: Marvellous Island
Garorock is one of France's premier electronic and rock festival, taking place in the southwest of the country. Recently celebrating their 20th anniversary, the four day camping festival is well known for its hard-partying experience.
Rock En Seine 2020
Born in 2003, Rock en Seine has become one of France's top mega-festivals. Held just outside of Paris at the incredibly scenic Domaine National de Saint-Cloud (an 1100 acre historical park), this festival showcases the best of international and regional rock rock on five unique stages.
Featured Artists: Run The Jewels
Main Square Festival 2020
The first weekend of July is full of French festivals and one of those standouts is Main Square. Situated at the stunning Citadelle Vauban, this mainstream dose of rock/pop/electronic boasts an impressive alumni list like Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Placebo, Muse, and Metallica.
Photo Credit: Main Square Fest
Le Printemps de Bourges 2020
One of Europe's longest running festivals, Le Printemps de Bourges has been offering up a wide-ranging lineup of diverse genres for over forty years. The venues, bars, clubs, and streets of Bourges all host the variety of talent that comes through this annual French fest.
Photo Credit: Antoine Monegier du Sorbier
Festival de Nîmes 2020
The Festival de Nîmes is a summer concert series in the south of France that brings in the biggest names in music history. The performances all take place in the epic Arena of Nîmes, a massive Roman amphitheater built in AD 70 and remodeled in 1863 into a bullring. It's one of the most incredible places to see a concert in Europe.
Nuits Sonores 2020
Nuits Sonores, a boutique electronic festival, is held in the in the historical city of Lyons. Spread out over five days, be prepared for unique performances, events, and workshops, taking place 40 different venues across the city. There's both a day and night program here so be prepared for delights throughout the event.
Photo Credit: Nuits Sonores
Calvi on the Rocks 2020
A week-long dance party under the sun and the stars in rugged Corsica, Calvi on the Rocks is on fire 24 hours a day. Multiple beach parties (including secret ones) kick off each day. At night, everyone gathers under the shadows of the ancient citadel for the headliners, and then it's off to dance until sunrise in the many clubs of Calvi.
Papillons De Nuit 2020
The late-spring Papillons de Nuit is a pop music festival in Normandy. The tiny village of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves is transformed when 60000 festival goers show up for three days of music and fun.
Featured Artists: Macklemore
Photo Credit: Camille Meligine
Worldwide Festival Sète 2020
The Worldwide Festival may put on editions across the world, but the flagship fest in Sète is still the spot to experience this unique line-up of electronic artists. Located just south of Montpellier, Sète in sun drenched southern France is an ideal place to spend a week on the beach soaking up the sounds from DJs from around the globe.
Photo Credit: Pierre Nocca - WF
Les Eurockéennes 2020
The independent Les Eurockeenes in Eastern France is also one of the largest multi-genre music festivals in the country. With a focus on solidarity and sharing, the non-profit fest remains committed to offering an affordable musical experience to everyone. Tucked away on the Malsaucy peninsula, the eco-friendly venue showcases amazing views and tranquil camping.
Photo Credit: Christian Ballard
Festival Beauregard 2020
Herouville St-Clair, France
Named after the amazing château where it's held, this is one of France's largest pop and rock festivals. Founded in 2009, Festival Beaugard has boasted lineups with Phoenix, Editors, ZZ Top, Motorhead, Hot Chip, Kaiser Chiefs, Sting, and Alt-J. The scenery is beautiful, the camping is amazing, and like John Beauregard himself -- this festival is legendary.
La Route Du Rock 2020
St Malo, France
This very hip, very cool, indie rock festival is one of the few in France that can boast a 25+ year history. The biannual event has featured Portishead, Disclosure, The XX, Blur, Pulp, Air, and Sonic Youth and has even spun off a winter edition.
Festival Musilac 2020
This pop and rock festival takes place in Aix-Les-Bains in the beautiful south of France. The festival itself is perched on the shores of Lac du Bourget, in the foothills of the French Alps. 75,000 attendees flood the shores to see artists from around the world alongside local talent from the region.
Photo Credit: Festival Musilac Facebook
Vieilles Charrues 2020
It's France biggest music festival of the summer! Translated to old plows, Les Vieilles Charrues is a 4-day indie rock and pop festival held in the northwest of France. What started as a 500 person party has exploded into the largest music fest in France with 280,000 revelers along with an incredible 5,500 volunteers in 2017.
Cabaret Vert 2020
Le Cabaret Vert (aka The Green Cabaret), may be one of the largest festivals in France, but still remains close to the hearts of fans. Closing out the summer during the last weekend in August, Cabaret Vert brings a little bit of everything to eastern part of France. The campsite and festival are located around the edges of an abandoned factory.
Check In Party 2020
This DIY indie rock fest may be new to the scene, but its lineup is one of the more buzzworthy additions to the season. Taking place over three days in central France, Check In Party is an ideal way to close out the summer.
Les Déferlantes 2020
Argeles Sur Mer, France
If you're looking for the idyllic peace found in the south of France, Les Déferlantes will not be on your wishlist. The multi-day festival may feature hip-hop and electronic, but wears its love of rock firmly throughout the lineup. There's two campsite lifestyle at this festival -- sleepy for those that need quite and groovy for those that want to party all night with the French.
Family Piknik 2020
Bring the kids and your open attitude to the Family Piknik in the south of France. Held annually in Montpellier, this electronic festival aims to include all ages into the world of underground electronic music. Admission is free for anyone under 14, over 55, and people with reduced mobility.
Photo Credit: Patrick Ortega