The Sights & Sounds of Southern France

The Sights & Sounds of Southern France


You don't need us to tell you that the south of France is worth visiting. The beautiful coastal vistas, welcoming waters of the Mediterranean and culturally rich cities have made the region popular among all manner of travellers for years.

But the region also presents plentiful opportunity for music fans, with an enviable selection of festivals. EDM, hip-hop, techno, indie and reggae, here's a pick of the best festivals on offer, and the must-see sights while you're in town.


Marseille

Sights:                            

Perhaps the most famous part of the city is the Old Port, where historic buildings such as St Victor's Abbey sit alongside restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the striking metallic architecture of the recently built MUCEM, a museum dedicated to Mediterranean civilisations.

The wild, rugged and spectacular coastal terrain of the Parc National de Calanques is worth a visit for the more outdoorsy and adventurous visitor to the city, offering some of the most stunning panoramas in the entire region.



Sounds:
     

Striking the balance between underground electronic music and the worlds of rap and hip-hop is Marsatac. Now in its nineteenth year, De La Soul share top billing with Dubfire and Nicolas Jaar at the city's Parc Chanot exhibition centre.

Similarly, the lineup for Positiv Festival draws from the worlds of rap and hip-hop, combining these elements with the more prevalent house, disco and techno on offer.

For the more bombastic side of electronic music, Summer Stadium Festival is the city's EDM epicentre. Taking place in Stade Vélodrome, home to Olympique Marseille, the festival brings the likes of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to the city's biggest stage. 


Cannes

Sights:

Famous worldwide for its preeminent film festival, the beautiful coastal city of Cannes is renowned as a glamorous hotspot on the French Riviera. Away from the hustle and bustle of the bay, head into Le Suquet (the Old Town) and you'll find untouched narrow lanes, hidden gems and spectacular views over the city.

 

Sounds:

Toeing the line between the mainstream and the underground – DJ Snake and Nina Kraviz headlined last year – Les Plages Electroniques is a three day electronic fiesta on the city’s beautiful seafront.

If indie and alternative are more your vibe, head to Pantiero. Held towards the end of August, the festival is a feast of emerging talent. As well as providing a platform for rising stars of the French alternative scene, the festival has also hosted the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Two Door Cinema Club.


Perpignan

Sights:

Due to its proximity to Northern Spain and its historical status as the capital of the Kingdom on Majorca, the architectural and cultural feel of Perpignan differs from a lot of other cities in Southern France. The city's most famous buildings, the Palace of the Kings of Majorca and the Castillet, probably exemplify this best.

Ordinarily, the city's main railway station Gare de Perpignan would be pretty unremarkable, but given legendary surrealist artist Salvador Dalí described it as 'the centre of the universe', it might be worth visiting just in case he was right. 

 

Sounds:        

Around 25km north-east of Perpignan lies the coastal town of Le Barcarès. Quiet and unassuming for the majority of the year, it is transformed into one of France's biggest party destinations when Electrobeach Music Festival rolls into town. Huge scale production, pyrotechnics and sound systems accompany dance music megastars across an unrelenting weekend party. 


Bordeaux

Sights:

The focal point of the city is the Place de la Bourse and the impressive Miroire d'eau, the world's largest reflecting pool that in summer generates a cinematic mist in front of the magnificent 18th century architecture.

Bordeaux is also renowned for its wine production, and the city is surrounded by vineyards. If you're a wine enthusiast, the newly built Cité du Vin is a museum and exhibition centre dedicated to Bordeaux's most famous export. 
 

 

Sounds:          

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Reggae Sun Ska is one of the biggest and most respected reggae music festivals in Europe. Looking forward as much as it does backwards, the lineup balances genre veterans with exciting new names and sound systems from across the continent. Headlining this year are British reggae icons Steel Pulse and UB40, French ska band Tryo and Ky-Mani Marley, son of the greatest reggae artist of all time.


See all of our festivals in the South of France here.


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