Music Festivals on the French Riviera

A guide to the summer music festivals on the French Riviera. In Menton, Nice, Monaco, Vence, Biot and Juan les Pins. How to get there and where to stay on the Cote d'Azur...

Below is information on the cycle of annual music festivals which run from May through August across the Côte d'Azur and in Monaco.

Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

March/April

This music festival started in 1959 when Prince Rainier III invited the Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo, alongside international solo artists, to perform on the forecourt of the Palace. The festival in its current format has been running since 1985 and offers a series of concerts by renowned international musicians as well as masterclasses and conferences.

Concerts are held in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum, the Yacht Club, the Auditorium Rainier III, the Eglise St-Charles and the Opéra Garnier as well as at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Travel Information

Festival des Heures Musicales de Biot

May/June

The music festival of the hilltop village of Biot started back in the early 80s and is a series of concerts by both professional musicians and young talents.

  • All concerts are held in the church of Biot
  • Limited space means reservations are necessary. All bookings must be made at the Tourist Office, Tel: 04 93 65 78 00 or online
  • Find more information about the festival (in French)

Travel Information

  • By train: Take the train to the Gare SNCF de Biot. Then take a taxi to the village or take the bus Envibus, ligne 10 from the station to the village
  • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take exit 44 to Sophia Antipolis and follow the signs to Biot
  • By bus: There is a bus that goes between Antibes, Biot, and Valbonne village

Crossover Festival

June

Electronic and alternative cutting edge music festival in Nice, running for 5 nights with French and international DJs, producers and artists.

Performances take place at the Chantier 109, Anciens Abattoirs.

Travel Information

  • By train: Take the train to the Gare SNCF Nice Riquier. Train timetable (in French, select rechercher un horaire)
  • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take the exit Nice Promenade des Anglais, follow signs to Nice Centre and take the Voie Mathis to the Port exit, then follow signs to Nice Quartier Riquier
  • By bus or tram: Several buses and trams are available. For timetables and routes see the Lignes d’Azur website and search for the Abattoirs stop. 

La Fête de la Musique

21 June

This music festival first took place in 1982 when the minister of culture Jack Lang, and Maurice Fleuret, invited all musicians to perform in the streets of towns and villages across France. Since then, it has become an annual arts event on the national calendar taking place on midsummer's night.

  • Concerts take place in the streets and squares of most towns and villages of France, there are no tickets and all shows are free entry
  • Every year there is a big concert that takes place on Place Masséna in Nice
  • See the Fête de la Musique website (in French)

Jazz à Juan

July

The annual Jazz at Juan les Pins festival welcomes some of the most best known international jazz artists.

  • All jazz evenings begin at 20:30 and take place in the Pinède Gould
  • Ticket prices vary, depending on the performance, with up to 50 percent off for students and under 18s. Tickets are sold online, at the Tourist Office, 60 chemin des Sables or Tel: 04 22 10 60 01

Travel Information

  • By train: Take the train to the Juan-les-Pins SNCF train station, from there follow the sign to the town centre
  • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take exit 44 Antibes Sophia Antipolis, then follow the signs in the direction of Antibes and then Juan-les-Pins town centre

Nice Jazz Festival

July

With more than 45,000 spectators and 500 musicians each year, the Nice Jazz Festival is one of the largest in Europe having several stages with concerts taking place over eight days. All genres of jazz, blues, gospel, fusion and urban funk are played.

  • Traditionally at the Arènes and Jardins de Cimiez; now moved in to Nice town; concerts nightly
  • Tickets on sale at FNAC
  • See the Nice Jazz Festival website

Travel Information

  • By train: Take the train to the Gare SNCF Nice Centre Ville
  • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take the exit Nice Promenade des Anglais to Nice Massena
  • By bus: There is a night bus service in Nice, Noctrambus, there are also night buses between Nice, Cannes and Menton

    Festival des Nuits du Sud, Vence

    July and August

    The Nuits du Sud festival in Vence showcases sounds from the South, with music by celebrated performers and musicians from Chili, Columbia, Cuba, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Mali, Spain, Senegal and many more countries. During the festival there are also exhibitions, activities and free concerts.

    • Tickets are sold online, at the Vence Tourist Office, at Carrefour supermarkets, and at FNAC. Entrance is free for children under 12 years of age
    • All concerts take place outdoors in the Place du Grand Jardin from 20:30 and carry on until about midnight
    • For more information Tel: 04 93 58 40 17
    • Festival Nuits du Sud website

    Travel Information

    • By car: From the A8, take exit 47/48 in direction of Cagnes-sur-Mer, then follow the signs to Vence. Free parking is available south of the town (near the Gamm Vert) with a regular shuttle service to the venue
    • By bus: Ligne d'Azur has routes from Nice to Vence
    • There is a bus route  that goes from Vence to Sophia Antipolis, passing through St-Paul-de-Vence and aroute from Vence to Grasse

    Festival de Musique de Menton

    August

    The Menton Music Festival welcomes well known musicians from around the world for three weeks of classical music at Le Parvis de la Basilique Saint-Michel Archange in the old town, at the Musée Jean Cocteau, on the Esplanade Francis Palmero and Square des Etats Unis.

    Tickets available for one concert or book of tickets available for 3 to 10 concerts. Reduced rates for students and for groups of more than 20 people. Free admission for children under 6 years. Tickets are sold online via the festival website and from the Tourist Office, FNAC and regular outlets.

    Travel Information

    • By train: Take the train to the Menton station (Gare de Menton
      • Train timetable (in French, select rechercher un horaire)
      • Taxis are available from the station to the concerts. Tel: 04 92 10 47 02
    • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take exit 59 Menton, and follow the signs to the town centre
    • By bus: Lignes d’Azur has a route from Nice to Menton via Monaco and there is also a night bus service

    Le Sporting Summer Festival, Monaco

    July and August

    The Sporting Club Monte-Carlo hosts international music artists every summer for performances in the spectacular Salle des Etoiles.

    Travel Information

    • By train: Take the train to Gare SNCF Monaco Monte-Carlo and follow the signs to Place du Casino. The train timetable is available online (in French, select rechercher un horaire)
    • By car: From the A8 Autoroute, take exit 56 in direction of Monaco, and follow the signs to the town centre and Place du Casino

    MANCA Festival

    November

    For more than 30 years, a festival organised by the Nice-based Centre International de Création Musicale (CIRM) presenting an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary works by innovative artists.

    • Performances take place across the region in Nice, Menton, Vallauris, Carros and Biot.
    • Tickets on sale at FNAC and Tel: 04 93 88 74 68
    • See the MANCA festival website