When the sun is shining and the lavender fields are in bloom in Provence, it’s time to celebrate with some fantastic events throughout the summer. Wine, lavender, antiques and even melons are the stars of some of the fabulous fetes you can join in with. But here we look at three major summer events in Vaucluse at the heart of Provence. The Avignon Festival tops the list with more than a thousand shows held all over the city – in churches, cloisters, chapels, gardens and monuments – including the Palace of the Popes. Meanwhile the Chorégies d’Orange takes place on a unique Roman theatre stage, and in Vaison-la-Romaine, it’s time for dance…
Chorégies d’Orange – a spectacle you’ll never forget
The Chorégies d’Orange is the oldest French festival, dating back to 1869, and it takes place in an ancient theatre with the most amazing acoustics. The Roman Theatre of Orange is a UNESCO World heritage site, a perfectly preserved legacy of Imperial Rome built in the 1st century AD, with an impressive 37-meter-high stage wall. In this unique setting which can accommodate an audience of up to 9000, the annual open air festival features the greatest performances of the music of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart as well as ballet and modern music.
This unmissable festival is one that you’ll never forget.
When: Takes place throughout June and July
Details and tickets: choregies.fr
Festival of Avignon – monumental and magical
The Avignon Festival in July is one of France’s most popular events and one of the oldest and, founded in 1947, it is one of the most famous theatre festivals in the world. Artists and spectators from around the world converge on this historic city to present a multitude of fantastic shows. Theatre and dance performances taking place throughout the town which, for almost the whole of July, becomes a sort of artistic open-air forum. Ancient churches, historic buildings and beautiful public gardens, as well as the UNESCO-listed Palace of the Popes which can host up to 2000 spectators, act as the stages for these incredible shows.
At the same time this event is held, known as the IN, the OFF also takes place. This is more street-performance style and there are hundreds of performers in the city which really is by now a giant theatre. Colourful posters and banners promoting the shows bring an air of festive fun. OFF performers need to convince their audience to come and see a show and that brings an electrifying and vibrant energy and atmosphere to the streets. Pop to the tourist office to get a discount card for the OFF shows.
Vaison la Romaine dances to the rhythm of summer
This once opulent Roman city is now an enchanting Provencal town in which each summer, the ancient Roman theatre set on a hill, vibrates to a happy rhythm. Big names in the dance world give open-air performances here – and it really is quite magical.
For more than 100 years, the theatre has hosted shows, and with 4000 seats, Vaison Danses which takes place each July, is an irresistible event for dance fans. This year on the stage will be dancers from around the world with classical and modern performances.
When: 13-26 July, 2023
Details and tickets: vaison-danses.com
Vaucluse has a year-round agenda of events which you can find on the tourist office website: provenceguide.co.uk/events