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Best South France festivals: Carcassonne Festival 2024

 

carcasonne festival franceCarcasonne festival South France - 10th largest festival in France, 200,000 spectators and 120 events [Photo courtesy of https://www.tourisme-carcassonne.fr/]

 

Throughout July, the Southern French city of Carcassonne throws open its doors to dance, music and theatre, with nightly performances in the castle's amphitheatre and venues throughout the town. The 67th edition of the Carcassonne Festival in South France will be held in 2024 between 28 June to 31 July 2024. Carcassonne festival is by all accounts the 10th largest festival in France, both in terms of number of spectators (over 200,000 over the month long programme) and by the number of events (over 120 concerts, theatre productions, dance events, plus the medieval jousting and the medieval faire).

To be honest, I hadn't realised just how big a deal the Festival de Carcassonne was until I started to research some of the acts that have played here. Over the years we have taken our boys to see both the Artic Monkeys and Liam Gallagher perform in Carcassonne, but these are relatively low-level acts when it comes to some of the headliners that have played at the festival over the years. Just to give you an idea of how big Carcassonne festival is, previous artists performing here have included Joan Baez, Elton John, James Blunt, Bob Dylan, Black Eyed Peas, Chuck Berry, Diana Ross, BB KingDeep Purple, and Simple Minds, to name but a few. So - alright maybe James Blunt aside - but we are talking Rock Royalty here.

And this doesn't even include some of the really big French artists (who you have probably never heard of), such as Christophe Maé, SuperbusChristine and the QueensLes Négresses Vertes, Charles AznavourJohnny HallidayMichel Sardou and Patrick Bruel.

The stunning amphitheatre within the walls of the famous castle, can hold up to 3,000 spectators and is an amazing space for a concert. The amphitheatre is called the Theâtre Jean-Deschamps and is named after the celebrated French actor and director, Jean Deschamps, who starred in Cyranno de Bergerac and was one of the founding members of Carcassonne festival.

 

Carcassonne Festival history

carcassonne medieval festival 

Carcassonne is a small city in Southern France with a population of around 45,000 people. The main attraction in Carcassonne is the magnificent medieval Castle, which is the largest fortified town in Europe. Carcassonne Castle is the second most visited historical monument in France outside of Paris. The firework display held at the Castle on Bastille day (14 July) is one of the best in the South of France. Carcassonne Castle features as the main venue for the festival, with the amphitheatre in the walls of the castle holding many concerts throughout July.

Carcassonne Festival was first created back in 1957. The brain-child of the French Actor and Director, Jean Deschamps, the festival originally was more of a theatre, Opera and film event, held in the amphitheatre. It later expanded to include popular musical acts, Comedy and Choral Music and Classical Music, as well as a large Medieval faire featuring jousting events and battle re-enactments. 

Today, the festival is spread across 8 venues across Carcassonne and features many free events. There is both an official festival programme (the so-called 'IN' programme) and the 'OFF' programme which is a sort of officially organised unofficial festival.

 

 

2024 Carcassonne festival line up

 

carcassonne festival south franceCarcassonne festival 2024 South France [Photo courtesy of https://www.tourisme-carcassonne.fr/]

 

The 2024 line up for the Carcassonne festival is still being finalised, but the confirmed acts so far include:

  • Sting, formerly of The Police and an equally successful solo career, will be performing in the amphitheatre in Carcassonne Castle (30 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • Christophe Maé, one of the most popular French singers in the last 25 years (13 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • The National Orchestra of Toulouse will be performing from excerpts from Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, the overture to The Barber of Seville and Berlioz, Summer Nights (28 June 2024 at 21:30)
  • The famous opera, Carmen, will be performed by the Lyric Opera Company from Spain and the Spanish Ballet of Murcia (5 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • Toto, the celebrated American soft rock group famous for their songs "I'll be Over You", "Hold the Line" and the Worldwide hit "Africa" (headlining on 29 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • The World famous international artist Mika will be headlining the festival on 25 July 2024 at 21:30
  • There will be a Ballet performance from 10 dancers and soloists from the Paris Opera (Tuesday 2 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • Status Quo and The Stranglers will be joint headlining on Monday July 15, 2024 at 20:30
  • The legendary German rock group, Scorpions, will be playing Carcassonne festival on Tuesday 23 July 2024 at 21:30
  • Louise Attaque, one of the biggest French rock bands from the 1990s and early 2000s (27 July 2024 at 21:30)
  • The very popular French artist, Patrick Bruel, will be closing the Carcassonne festival (31 July 2024 at 21:30

 

Carcassonne festival, South of France:

Dates: 28 June to 31 July 2024

Venue: Theâtre Jean-Deschamps (+ many venues throughout Carcassonne)

Tickets: Ticket prices for the headline acts in the Amphitheatre vary from €49 to €89 euros. Tickets can be purchased online at: Festival de Carcassonne

 

 

 


 

Where to next . . .?

If you are planning a trip to the South of France in 2024, then Carcassonne is an excellent location. Carcassonne Castle is obviously a major tourist attraction, but Carcassonne also has some excellent restaurants (including 2 Michelin star restaurants), some fantastic local vineyards and there is beautiful countryside nearby. You can also visit the local Cathar monuments, including the old Cathar village of Minerve and the Cathar castles at such as the castles at QuéribusChâteau de PeyrepertuseChâteaux de Lastours and Château de Montségur. The Canal du Midi also snakes its way through Carcassonne on its route across the South of France from Toulouse to Beziers and the Mediterranean coast. From a tourism perspective, Carcassonne has plenty to see and do.

If you are planning a trip to Carcassonne or the Languedoc in 2024, then the following articles are a good source of local information:

 

beziers riverCarcassonne airport - cheap flights to South of France in 2024

Check out the latest schedule of cheap flights to Carcassonne airport in South France. We have compiled a handy guide of the 9 airports across Europe that fly to Carcassonne and which days they fly in 2024 

 

carcassonne restaurants10 best Carcassonne restaurants in South France

The restaurant scene in Carcassonne is buzzing at the moment, with 2 Michelin star restaurants and many interesting new restaurants opening. Discover the 10 best restaurants in Carcassonne to eat at in 2024.

 

beziers feria2Best South France festivals 2024

See the full list of festivals taking place in the South of France during 2024. We cover everything from Jazz festivals to food festivals, wild parties, processions and medieval fairs.

 

beziers riverThings to do & see in Carcassonne

Discover everything that Carcassonne has to offer including its amazing Castle, its summer festival. its markets, great restaurants and nearby Cathar ruins to visit. 

 

beziers airport south franceHolidays in Carcassonne - vacation villa rentals in South France

Go Languedoc provides high quality holiday accommodation across the South of France. Check out these 9 stunning holiday villas & gites to rent near Carcassonne in 2024 .

 

Cathars in LanguedocThe Cathars in Languedoc

Read all about the fascinating history of the Cathars and all the local monuments that have inspired writers such as Kate Mosse, Dan Brown and Lynna Banning.

 

 

Contact Iain by Email if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about visiting the South of France. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France. 

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