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Top 6 classical music festivals in the heritage

of the South of France

An invitation you just can’t refuse – when the buildings which belong to the heritage of the South of France welcome musical art and its audience. This summer, emblematic, imposing or more intimate monuments, open their doors so that music can ring out with even more grandeur.

Festival Nice Classic Live

In July and August, the cloister of Cimiez monastery in Nice hosts the Nice-Classic-Live Festival: a festival with a really eclectic outlook which delights its audience and where Vivaldi, Beethoven, Chopin, Philip Glass and Ligeti rub shoulders with jazz. Associated with the Académie Internationale d’Eté in Nice, the festival welcomes the elite of French musicians who have come to teach young artists from all over the world and perform in the superb setting of the monastery’s cloister overlooking the Baie des Anges: genuine live entertainment.

Musicales des Villages et Domaines Provençaux at Festival Gloriana

In July and August, get ready to set off on a historic trip through the Provencal estates and villages with the Festival Gloriana. You’re sure to be moved by the striking combination of Provencal architecture and famed artists. The artists set out to conquer chapels, parks and churches in the villages for almost a month in small musical ensembles and turn them into unique musical experience venues, an enchanted journey in the Var.

Les Nuits de la Citadelle in Sisteron

Dance, music and theatre are all there in the citadel in Sisteron, in July and e mecca. The festival proposes shows spread over the three key venues in the mecca of the Provencal heritage: Cloître Saint-Dominique, the Théâtre de Verdure and Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Pommiers. Sisteron’s citadel has always been closely linked to art and live entertainment. In 1928, Marcel Provence organized the third Alpine season there and presented the Cid. And ever since, the site has been a reference for the poets, actors, musicians and dancers who wish to perform there.

Festival de Musiques Anciennes in Simiane la Rotonde

Every year in August, the Festival de Simiane-la-Rotonde (Early Music) takes place in its castle. The concerts are given in the Rotonde with its Romanesque architecture. It was once the fortress’s dungeon. With its remarkable acoustics, the sublime room under a dome is the ideal place for the musicians’ talent to ring out.


The Abbaye de la Celle Festival

Every summer, the Association des Soirées Musicales unveils its festival at the Abbaye de La Celle, an emblematic monument of Provencal Romanesque art which is one of the jewels of the Var’s heritage. And, even though more and more people attend it, the festival has always managed to maintain an excellent programme every year. Nearby, you can enjoy dinners by starred chefs at L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye.

Bonus: a season of concerts in Abbaye Saint Victor

This is more than a festival, it’s a real musical season. All year round, the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Marseille hosts various performances of classical music, and is now open to world music and jazz: major orchestra, and choir concerts.
For the last 50 years, The Les Amis de Saint-Victor association has been showcasing the remarkable heritage of the abbey for visitors and the Marseillais.