With the arrival of warm weather in France, the Paris sidewalk cafes are packed with sun-worshippers sipping glasses of rosé, and the parks resemble the French Riviera beaches with every patch of grass claimed for picnickers. On June 21 (the summer solstice), the festival season kicks off in France with the Fête de la Musique, a nation-wide party with organized concerts and impromptu performances on every street corner. In Paris, you’ll find a band set up in every quartier.
The season continues with a festival for every taste—from jazz and Django Reinhardt-style guitar to theatre and culinary celebrations. If you are planning a trip to France in the summer months, consider buying tickets in advance to one of these stellar festivals.
In its 54th year, Jazz à Juan is one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the world, held in a prime waterfront spot in Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera. July 11-20.
For jazz lovers, the Nice Jazz Festival is also a stand-out. July 8-12
Also in the Provence region, Nuits du Sud is a wonderful world music festival in the town of Vence. Concerts every night with acclaimed musicians from all over the planet. July 11-August 9
The Festival d’Avignon, the annual theatre festival, is world-renowned, with performances taking place in prestigious venues like the Papal Palace couryard and, in the "Off" version of the festival, on the streets of the beautiful Provençal city. July 4-27
The not-to-miss Jazz in Marciac festival takes place every year in southwest France, staging performances by musical greats like Herbie Hancock. July 28- August 17
The Bordeaux Wine Festival combines wine tasting with concerts, seminars, art shows and a sound and light show. June 26- June 29
Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie is an internationally renowned photography event. July 1-September 22
For history buffs, the Fêtes Medievales de Bayeux is a weekend of Middle Ages-style merriment. July 5-6
Rock en Seine brings major pop and rock stars to the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, just outside Paris. August 22-24