Bon Vacances! It’s holiday time again and you may well be planning to make the most of our Gallic neighbour’s rich culture, stunning scenery and (let’s face it) vastly superior beach weather. If you also love festivals as much as we do, why not incorporate one into your French adventure? There’s a whole season to explore – we’ve picked out a few to look out for in July.
Les Eurockéennes, Belfort, 3-5 Jul
Created by not-for-profit Territoire de Musiques as an independent alternative, this now 26-year-old French festival near the Swiss and German borders takes place on a beautiful peninsula jutting into the Lac du Malsaucy. The four arenas can together accommodate more than 60,000 fans, yet the vibe is relaxed and friendly, in part due to policies aimed at making everyone feel welcome.This year’s diverse musical offerings include Alabama Shakes, Sting, Major Lazer, Eagles of Death Metal and Seasick Steve.
Tickets range from €46 day passes to €108 weekend tickets, all incuding camping.
Musilac, Aix-les-Bains, 10-13 July
A stunning lakeside site in the foothills of the craggy Alps annually hosts one of France’s newer, hipper music events. The first Musilac, in 2002, showcased an eclectic mix of local musicians and new bands. The bills have got more impressive since, with this year’s hipster treats including Muse, Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip and Alt-J, and now attract crowds of more than 70,000 music lovers from across France, yet it’s still got that idyllic, small-festival vibe. An open-air stage in the centre of the village now hosts a free, new-bands gig on the night before the festival proper.
Tickets range from €53 day passes to €204 for four days with camping. There are campsites and B&Bs nearby.
Les Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix, Finistère, 16 – 19 July
France’s biggest music festival, near Carhaix, is similar in scale and age to Les Eurockéennes, but a large part of the appeal for visitors is its strong Breton cultural vibe – it’s almost worth going just for the food. This may have something to do with its origins in small private barbecues organised by the Mayor! Musically it prides itself on catering to all tastes, and this year, you can expect to see Muse, SBTRKT, The Prodigy, Joan Baez. Tom Jones and London Grammar, as well as a thoughtful bill of jury-selected new talent. The main arena is a grassy natural amphitheatre meaning you can see and hear even from right at the back.
Tickets from €44 day passes to €144 four-day passes include camping, or there’s a range of local B&Bs and hotels
What’s your favourite French festival?