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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Founded in 1948, this international festival of lyrical arts, dedicated to opera and classical music in particular, is one of the most prestigious in France.

Each year it attracts top singers, as well as the likes of Les Arts Florissants, the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra – although more contemporary works are performed as well, some specially commissioned for the festival.

Concerts, along with an elite array of masterclasses, take place in beautiful historic venues in and around Aix-en-Provence.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
Frequency: annually
When: July
Duration: 1 month

Getting there & doing it

All events are ticketed. Tickets go on sale on the festival website on February 1st and sell out fast – so buy ASAP. Tickets can also be bought at the Boutique du Festival ticket office, next to the cathedral in the Palais de l’Ancien Archeveche, or at FNAC superstores.

The main opera venue is the Theatre de l’Archeveche in the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace, while concerts take place in the Cathedrale St-Sauveur and other glorious buildings in and around Aix. The furthest out, the Theatre du Grand Saint-Jean (10km north), is linked by a free shuttle from La Rotonde.

Various special discounts are available for under 30s and for children. Arrive on time for performances, or face lock-outs until the intermission.

When to do it

The festival tends to run for a month from the end of June.

Destination guides

2

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Aix-en-Provence

Provence, France

Sunny cardeurs square with cafes and restaurants in the old town of Aix-en-Provence.

Cezanne’s elegant hometown, filled with fountains and beautiful mansions, works of art and excellent restaurants. The ‘Florence of France’.

Provence

Provence, France

Field of bright purple lavender in front of an old church

Gorgeous landscapes peppered with beautiful villages, sunflowers and lavender, art-filled towns, lively cultural festivals and exquisite food and wine. Provence is everything you imagined it would be.