France is the most visited country in the world, tourists arrive in their numbers and not for no good reason. As a country, France has it all, culture, cuisine, fine wines, beaches, mountains, cities, countryside and now apparently… music! Not exactly known for their musical prowess, their most famous musical exports being Edith Piaf or Charles Aznavour but in recent years there hasn’t been musical talent on the same scale. The French have become a nation with an eclectic music taste, making for festivals with diverse and international line-ups!
Garorock, held in Marmande South-West France, is one of the biggest music festivals in the country. The three-day punk, rock and electro festival sees over 50,000 music fans come to party. This year’s festival saw Franz Ferdinand, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and many new and undiscovered bands grace their stages. The camping is free and the Garo site is just 5 minutes from the Marmande town centre. Garorock is a festival gathering momentum fast and is set to be even bigger and better next year – check out the teaser video on their website.
Let Nuits Sonores, set in the second city of France, after Paris, brings artists together to play across the urban cityscape of Lyon. The city is transformed throughout the five day event to accommodate the music festival, DJ booths and stages popping up all over the ancient streets. More than 250 locations are taken over and redesigned, from galleries to industrial wastelands, from rooftops to swimming pools. The festival is entirely dedicated to electronic, independent music and digital culture where music, design, graphic arts and architecture are closely related. Use the well maintained transport infrastructure that will get you from one set to another by tube, tram or bus in under an hour.
If Jazz and blues is more your thing, Cognac Blues Passion, plays host to talent from across the globe. This year’s line-up included Brit Lilly Allen, Cambodia’s Irma, Ireland’s Imelda May, and contribution from the USA and many more European countries. This is a festival geared at all ages, set in a beautiful area of France, it is perfect for soaking up the French culture, at the local vineyard’s and distilleries where Cognac is made.
Rock en Seine takes place every year, the last weekend of August, on the edge of the French capital, in the National Estate of Saint-Cloud. Each year over 100,000 music lovers gather to listen to famous bands and discover up and coming artists who are showcased here. This year, the four stages will see the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Blondie, The Prodigy and Lana Del Ray. As the last big rock festival of the season, it’s a must see event.
If you plan on going to more than one of these festivals, check out our advice on travelling with an InterRail pass in Europe.