Weather in Normandy is notoriously temperamental, so once summer finally arrives, there is no time to waste indoors. Normans celebrate their fleeting moments of sunshine by hosting music festivals on their pristine beaches, castle grounds and unspoiled landscapes. With something for every taste, from family-friendly jazz events to electro dance parties, here are the best festivals in Normandy, France.
Jazz sous les Pommiers
In the medieval town of Coutances, Jazz sous les Pommiers (Jazz under the apple trees) is an eight-day long festival, running from May 5 to 12, 2018, showcasing jazz talent from around the world. The event is open to guests of all ages, making it a family-friendly affair. It attracts upwards of 30,000 visitors to this town bearing a population just under 10,000, with performances taking place over seven stages and spilling into the streets, restaurants and cafes. Day passes begin at 12 EUR per person, with festival-long passes going for 20 EUR each.
The grounds of a 19th-century castle, Domaine de Beauregard, are home to the annual Beauregard Festival in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, a suburb just outside of Caen. This outdoor garden party runs from July 6 to 9, 2018 and is one of the most anticipated events of the summer, attracting big-name artists like Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Offspring, Macklemore and Depeche Mode. Its proximity to Caen makes for easy-access from Paris (about a two-hour direct train ride from Saint-Lazare station) and widens the net for accommodation with options abound in the city. For those who wish to stay close to the action, there is camping available a 10-minute walk from the site. The cost for a day pass starts at 49 EUR per person (camping not included).
Jazz en Baie Festival
Combining music with heritage, the Jazz en Baie Festival is an event centred around the bay of the historic Mont Saint-Michel. The misty and moody vibe of the bay and its mount are a match for the sound of smooth jazz and soul music that permeates the atmosphere during this 12-day event, which takes place from July 25 to August 8, 2018. This year’s line up includes Earth, Wind & Fire, Marcus Miller and Selah Sue. Ticket prices vary depending on the show.
Lovers of indie music and the outdoors should flock to the Hello Birds festival in the picturesque town of Étretat on the Alabaster Coast. Running from July 6 through 8, 2018, this event is free of charge and features DJ sets, live performances and local food vendors. Backdropped by the blue water of the English Channel crashing against white chalk cliffs, Hello Birds is a gorgeous spot to revel in nature and soak up the summer vibes in Normandy. While there is no official camping ground set up for the event, there are two campsites near the festival grounds.
Cabourg, Mon Amour
Frolick on the sandy shores of Cabourg, one of Normandy’s most popular coastal towns of the Belle Époque, at Cabourg, Mon Amour from June 29 to July 1, 2018. This trendy festival has been happening every summer since 2012, catering to lovers of indie and electronic music. Cabourg’s sparkling sunsets set the tone to dance from daytime to dusk and onto the afterparties that pop up in town. Overnight camping is available a 25-minute walk from the festival grounds. If you book early, you can stay at the Grand Hôtel de Cabourg situated on the main promenade, a spot frequented by writer and philosopher, Marcel Proust. A three-day pass, not including camping, goes for 83 EUR per person.
Pete the Monkey Festival
The Pete the Monkey Festival is a vibrant arts, music and food festival in the coastal town of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer running from July 12 through 14, 2018. Since 2011, they’ve operated an environmentally conscious and charitable initiative, with all festival proceeds going to the Jacj Cuisi Wild Animal Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre, an organization that protects Amazonian monkeys from animal trafficking. Alongside performances by up-and-coming artists and musicians, the festival features gourmet food trucks, painting and drawing ateliers, yoga classes, massages and other creative workshops. Falling over the Bastille Day weekend, tickets sell fast, so act early!
Papillons de Nuit Festival
The Papillons de Nuit Festival takes place at the crossroads of three French regions – Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley – in the small town of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves. International artists of genres ranging from rock to indie to electronic will come together for a three-day affair from May 18 to 20, 2018, taking the stage for an estimated 65,000 attendees. A large camping area with shops, bars and restaurants featuring regional specialties allows for a hassle-free stay and the designated family area away from the crowds features kid-friendly activities for guests with children. Ticket prices start at 40 EUR for a day pass, including camping.
Rock in Évreux
Rock in Évreux is a three-day event taking place from June 29 to July 1, 2018, in the city of Évreux, which is a quick 1.5-hour train ride from Paris’ Saint-Lazare station. Joining forces this year with Green Horse, a former dance music festival in Normandy, Rock in Évreux combines alternative rock with electronic music performances in the town’s Hippodrome. Headliners include DJ Snake, Martin Solveig and Synapson and with its number of attendees increasing annually, Rock in Évreux is set to continue to attract international artists. Prices range from 42 EUR per person for a day pass, to 98 EUR per person to attend all three days.
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