Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées stakes its claim as a land of many festivals
As a region boasting diverse scenic, historic, cultural and culinary assets, Sud de France Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées destinations offer something for everyone.
A rain of festivals
Music, lively shows, cinema, plastic arts, theatre for a young audience, literature, Occitane culture… each year more than 400 festivals animate the thirteen departments of the region Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées. And there are things, of course, to suit all tastes. But there exists a strong common factor between the prestigious manifestations which call on great names of the repertory and those that are more modest or intimate. In both cases it’s a question of sharing and showing and hearing moments of grace and beauty. For that the most iconoclastic places are brought in: the prestigious concert halls with superb natural areas that the region offers, like those of the cirque de Gavarnie or of the maritime theatre in Sète with its view over the Mediterranean. But beyond the celebration, these manifestations are also a privileged moment to discover or rediscover the Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées destination and to combine culture and tourism. By way of introduction a taster of some festivals that will light up your stays.
Spectacles on the Bridge
The pont du Gard lights up in June at nightfall. « Feux Gaulois » is the name of the extravaganza for 2016. Sound and light, pyrotechnics, characters and structures made of lights plunge us into an intoxicating Celtic atmosphere. Each night in the summer at 10:30 pm the lighting up of the Bridge ‘A la belle étoile’ prolongs the magic. Still in festive mode the dance hall spirit and its accordion music, from swing to Argentinian tango, makes you get up and dance each Friday in summer. Finally the festival ‘Live au Pont’ offers two nights of present day music on 7 and 8 July.
Carcassonne: A thousand fires
When the city bursts into flame!
Every 14th of July the City of Carcassonne shines with a thousand fires during a firework display of more than 25 minutes which attracts nearly 700,000 spectators! The tradition goes back to 14 July 1898, to the arrival of the “Cadets de Gascogne”, a delegation of personalities from literature, art and politics. On this occasion the town organized great celebrations to welcome these distinguished visitors. In order to finish with a flourish, the poet Achille Rouquet had the idea of setting off Bengal lights!
Jazz festival in Sète
The sound of jazz swings through a theatre open to the sea at Sète. In the Venice of the South of France, the canal is festive with water jousting and street theatre.
In Nîmes, rock groups electrify the Roman arenas and flamenco melodies rise from the bodegas. The ‘Un Réalisateur Dans la Ville’ (A Director in the City) festival puts up giant screens in the Jardins de la Fontaine. Over the years, Bertrand Blier, Claude Chabrol, Claude Miller, Bertrand Tavernier, and Claude Lelouch, among others, have each presented an open-air showing of their selected film to thousands of spectators.
In Perpignan, ‘Visa Pour L’Image’ displays great photojournalists’ photographs in various places throughout the city and on the enormous screen provided by the wall of the Campo Santo. In the city squares, musicians melodiously mark the rhythm of the sardane, the traditional round dance in which groups of friends mingle.
In Montpellier :
A more classical note is struck by Montpellier with its celebrated Festival Radio France, its symphony orchestras and opera stars, or again its famous Festival de Danse.