Skip to main content

Top Events This Summer in Provence

Where to go & what to see to make the most of your time in Provence

featured in News & reviews Author Pam Williamson, Provence Editor Updated

Provence is well known for its summer festivals which include everything from celebrating the wine harvest to an ode to the humble strawberry, a classical music concert in the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and some of the top names in popular music performing to the biggest crowds in the south of France.

A trip to Provence would not be complete without a visit to at least one of these events and we've picked out our Top Ten Provence events that we think should not be missed this summer! (In date order, not order of preference...too hard to choose!)

  1. Fete de la Transhumance 25th May - A traditional festival celebrated across the region, but St Remy de Provence is one of the biggest, when flocks of sheep are herded to their summer pastures. Historically, this journey could take up to 10 days by foot; these days the transhumance is mainly ceremonial. On the 25th May thousands of sheep, lambs, goats and donkeys will line the streets, looked after by shepherds in traditional costume. The local town hall will also put on a feast which you can participate in. If you want a taste of the traditional Provencal country life then this is the vent for you!

  2. Drac Medieval Festival 30th May - The perfect event for kids, the small town of Mondragon to the north of Orange hosts an annual festival to celebrate all thing Medieval. This fantastical event brings to life the legend of the dragon who lived in the river Rhone and who would come out of the water to steal young maidens from the village. Will elaborate re-enactments, fancy dress, street entertainment and markets this is a fun family day out on the last weekend of May.

  3. Fete de la Saint-Jean 24th June - Midsummer night celebrated in towns and villages across France. Certainly one of the more dramatic events that takes place, the 'Fires of St John' is thought to have been adopted from neighbouring Catalonia in Spain and were originally pagan festivals. Nowadays all towns will host their own celebrations so regardless of where you are staying you are bound to have the joy of the summer solstice, this year on the 24th June.

  4. Festival de Nimes 24th June to 26th July - This festival brings some of the biggest names in music to the south of France. With concerts throughout June and July there will be the chance to see Pharrell Williams, Lenny Kravitz and mention just a few! The other wonderful thing about this festival is that the gigs are hosted in the stunning Roman ruins of the Arenes de Nimes!

  5. Festival d'Avignon 4th to 26th July - One of the biggest performing arts festivals in the world, this amazing programme of theatre, dance and musical events takes place with the wonderful architecture of the Palais de Papes as its backdrop. Taking place from the 4th to the 26th July there are performances taking place at all times of the day and night for visitors to enjoy.

  6. Lavender Fairs - A few dates for the Lavender diary are the Ferrassieres Lavender Fair, 5th July and the Lavender Parade in Valreas 1st to 3rd August. Known in Provence as 'blue gold', lavender has long been part of their culture and heritage, used in everything from soap and perfume to herbs and Provencal cooking. Both of these festivals will celebrate this fragrant and beautiful plant with cropping, distilling, demonstrations, markets and of course the usual floats and parade that befit such a celebration.

  7. Les Choregies d'Orange 7th July to 4th August - One of the oldest festivals in France is Les Choregies d'Orange, a classical music concert dating back to 1860! Hosted annually in the ancient Roman town of Orange in the stunning backdrop of the Roman amphitheatre. With dates throughout July it attracts up to 10,000 classical music fans each year and is normally a sell-out so get in there quick!

  8. Jazz Festivals If jazz is more your thing then there are no shortage of festivals across the region, including the Arles Jazz Festival 13th to 23rd May, the Luberon Jazz Festival 2nd to 7th June in Apt in June and the St Remy Jazz Festival with various dates in July & September. But perhaps the best known is the Avignon Jazz Festival 31st July to 5th August. Every evening is packed with well-known artists, plus new and up-coming musicians and jazz bands from across Europe. There will no doubt be plenty of music in the streets as well so you won't miss out if you decied just to wander through the town.

  9. Wine Festivals - One of the most popular reasons to visit the region of Provence...and of course this traditional and highly prized drink has it's own celebrations and festivals throughout the year. From opening bottles, to new vintages, the grape harvest and the new wine tastings, you are always sure to find some kind of wine festival going on. A couple worth noting are the Ban des Vendanges 29th & 30th August at the beginning of September in Avignon and the Fete de la Veraison 1st & 2nd August in the famous village of Chateauneuf du Pape.

  10. Festival Arelate 17th to 23rd August - The first Roman province outside of Italy the region was conquered by Rome at the end of 2nd century BC and remained in their hands until the 5th century AD. Much of the town of Arles stands as a reminder of the Roman times adn you can relive those days during the Festival Arelate. Expect entertainments through the streets of Arles, gladitorial fights, parades and film showings in the ancient Roman theatre.

There are of course many, many other events on throughout the summer and the rest of the year, please see our events calendar for more information about the above events and other things happening in your area.