Classical Music Festivals You Must Experience in France

France, with its rich cultural history, has a lot of activities and events to offer. The world-famous music festivals of France with the best names in classical music are held all year round in astonishing venues like old churches, chateaux, and antique amphitheatres. We have compiled a list for the most acclaimed classical music festivals that you must experience in France.

Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente

The chamber music festival in Charente is held from May 4th to June 2nd. Musicians from 16 different countries carry off the audience into the fantastic world of chamber music. In the five weekends where the festival is held, receptions will await you after each recital. Special events for children make it an excellent opportunity to take your kids with you and enthuse them with love for classical music. In Charante you can also meet with your favourite musicians, and after the Sunday afternoon concerts, visitors can get acquainted with the local cuisine.

Sully and Loiret Festival

First time held in 1973, the Sully and Loire festival has a lot of tradition to offer. The festival takes place from June 6th till June 23rd. In 10 towns, with culturally rich settings across the Loire valley, a total of 15 concerts will be held. The program includes famous musician like Andre Manoukian, Renaud Capucon or Jozef Orlinski and members of the younger generation of classical music like Guillaume Bellom or Marie.Ange Nguci.

Festival of Aix en Provence

Major orchestras from across Europe and famous conductors attend the festival in Aix en Provence each year. From July 3rd till July 22nd this prominent festival offers its audience the whole panoply of music. With the main focus on opera, the program also has to provide classical music concerts, as well as chamber ensembles and solo artists. Orchestra de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra and Pygmalion are just a few of the rich arrangement.

Le Off Musical du Haut Allier – The Haut Allier fringe 

Starting in early July and continuing into late August, this string festival dishes out nearly 50 concerts. Held mostly in historic churches and chateaux, an eclectic assembly of professional and amateur musician make up the program of the Le Off festival. Top international artists play alongside gifted amateurs in most informal settings. This festival offers music for all kinds of people, and plenty of concerts are for free.

The Chorégies d’Orange

The Festival of Orange is the oldest active musical festival in France. First held in 1869, the festival is renowned over the whole world and as such offers world-class musicians in its program. Although not the most significant festival on our list, the concerts are held in an antique Roman amphitheatre, which offers magnificent acoustics. The Festival of Orange takes place from June 19th to August 6th.

International Music Festival Besancon France-Comte

Famous for its Young Conductor’s competition, this entry in the list is another festival with outstanding international prestige. The first festival in Besancon was held in 1948, and since then, it has seen the world`s greatest conductors.  Markevitch, Maazel, Cluytens, Schuricht and many other renowned conductors graced its stage. The Young Conductors competition was the starting point of many great names in classical music. Winners of the Besancon include Gerd Albrecht, Zdenek Macal and Yutako Sado. Besides a rich symphonic repertoire, for which the festival is famous for, chamber music and recitals are part of the program. The International Music Festival can be visited in September.