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France is one of the most regionally diverse holiday destinations in Europe, from dazzling mountaintops to vineyards that stretch as far as its meandering rivers, and of course its world-famous Mediterranean coast. It’s no surprise, then, that it brings with it an equally vibrant mix of music festivals.
Paris is the European hub for two major Chicago festivals, Pitchfork Music Festival and – along with Berlin – Lollapalooza, which shows the capital’s musical importance internationally. Both continue to bring intriguing and eclectic lineups, but the city doesn’t rely on satellite festivals to prove its musical worth. Since its birth in 2003 Rock En Seine quickly played its part to put France on the international festival map, and Main Square Festival in Arras, a few hours north of the capital, is closely following in its example. For jazz, soul, hip hop, reggae, Afrobeats and more head to AFROPUNK FEST Paris in northeastern tip of the capital.
In 2018 Paris also celebrated 20 years of Solidays Festival, a testament to the strength its popularity and partnership with AIDS charity Solidarité Sida. Running for just as long is Garorock, which, despite its consistently ‘current’ lineups is still markedly family-friendly, and a firm French festival favourite.
Top alternative billings can be enjoyed from the luxury of the French coast too. Brittany has boasted La Route du Rock for almost three decades in the historic port of Saint-Malo, or if it's dancing you’re after look to Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival for a week of expertly curated world music in the southern town of Séte, and for straight-up EDM head an hour down the coast to Le Barcarès for Electrobeach. Or if it’s a harder techno party you’re looking for why not cross over to Corsica for the infamously stylish Calvi on the Rocks.
At the other end of the spectrum, Hellfest Open Air brings hundreds of thousands of metal fans to the charming town of Clisson for what they promise to be an ‘extreme music festival’ (though that’s open to interpretation!) and as such is one of France’s most popular festivals.
France is also home to some of the best ski-slope winter festivals, including Snowboxx, which has a reliably upbeat and mainstream lineup to get the après-ski going, or for the techno lover, there’s the newcomer Chamonix Unlimited, who have proved their worth every year with authoritative, all-star techno masterclass.
From the depths of hell to the snow peaked mountains, then, France continues to flaunt its fertile ground for the music festival.
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British Summer Time 2019
Les festivals populaires
British Summer Time 2019
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