France is justifiably famous for its summer festivals – not least because they are so imaginative, inclusive and beautifully staged. Here’s our pick of this year’s events in popular tourist areas across the country so you can plan to share the spectacle as part of your holiday.
• The Normandy Impressionist Festival showcases the Impressionist movement and its close links with Normandy. Runs throughout the region but activities concentrated in Rouen and Caen. Until September
• La Gacilly Photo Festival, Morbihan, Brittany, creatively displays hundreds of huge photographs in parks, squares and on buildings. The theme is based on social and environmental concerns of our society. Until September.
• In Saint-Cloud, on the edge of Paris, Rock en Seine is the last big rock event of the summer in France. The concerts at are performed on 4 stages, set at the heart of historic gardens designed by Le Nôtre. This year’s line up includes Iggy Pop, Gregory Porter and French acts La Femme and Bastille. 26 to 28 August.
• Confolens Festival in Charente is a famous world music and dance festival, celebrating with passion and colour the traditions of France and other countries. 10 to 15 August
• La Souterraine in Limousin hosts the Bridiers Historical Fresco, an exceptional show with 400 actors, cavalry, horse-drawn carriages, period vehicles, pyrotechnics and special effects. 5 to 8 August
• Carcassonne Festival in Aude has a varied line-up of sought-after international artists. The beautifully preserved medieval city offers performances of contemporary music, theatre, opera and dance – most of them free. Until end of July.
• Sète, an unspoilt Mediterranean town in Languedoc-Roussillon holds the fun-filled St Louis Water Jousting Festival accompanied by shows, quayside bars, sports tournaments and fireworks. 18 to 23 August.
• In Dignes les Bains, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Corso of Lavender has day and night parades, two firework displays, a funfair and the wonderfully fragrant international parade. 5 to 9 August
• Menton Music Festival on the French Riviera, shown in photo above, welcomes top classical artists for outdoor concerts held in a magical setting opposite the port on the Forecourt of the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel. 29 July to 14 August