While you're on holiday in Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean you can soak up the atmosphere at world-famous festivals, experience the rituals of some very different kinds of markets and be part of our major celebrations, helping you get under the skin of our region.
The calendar below features some unmissable events.
- Lourdes Festival of Religious Music – Early April
This week-long international festival attracts more than 400 choral singers and musicians, turning Lourdes, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées
, into a major centre of religious music
. The festival features famous choirs and ensembles performing significant works of religious music.
It is also a celebration of our beautiful heritage, with concerts taking place in Lourdes' parish church, the Abbey Church of Saint Savin and in other remarkable locations in Midi-Pyrénées.
- Fourcès Flower Market – Late April
In the heart of the Armagnac vineyards
, in the last weekend of April the gorgeous circular bastide of Fourcès
in Gers becomes an enormous bouquet of shimmering flowers.
Horticulturists, nursery growers and landscape gardeners from Midi-Pyrénées and beyond gather here for the biggest flower market in Southwest France. The market has a different theme each year.
- Toulouse International Art Festival - May
An unmissable cultural event held in Toulouse, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées
. Toulouse International Art Festival is a completely free festival
that mixes up seasons, experiences and feelings in a whirligig of art, bringing you the very best of the contemporary creative art scene from France and abroad.
Painting, sculpture, photography, video, performances, choreography and silent films with musical accompaniment on the set theme for that year are featured in some twenty locations around the centre of Toulouse. You can also visit the venues at night, guided by the city lights.
- Eclats de Voix Festival, Gers – June
Come to Gers and you'll hear the finest voices in the world in a series of concerts held at the weekends in June.
Dedicated to vocal art in all its diversity, the Eclats de Voix Festival attracts the best solo artists and choirs in the world. The concerts are held in places of remarkable beauty and acoustics such as Auch Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Flaran Abbey, a Great Tourist Site.
- Rio Loco Festival, Toulouse – June
Every year, Rio Loco, an international festival of world music, invites a different country to the Garonne riverside in Toulouse.
A fantastic occasion of festive fun, Rio Loco creates a buzzing atmosphere of music and concerts in the open air, with entertainment for children, film showings, gastronomy, crafts and more, all designed to show off the cultural riches of that year's guest country (past years have included Russia, Brazil and North Africa).
- Les Siestes Électroniques, Toulouse – Late June to early July
This very different event started in Toulouse and is now also held in Paris and Berlin. Over 4 days, Les Siestes Électroniques treats you to a series of concerts in Toulouse in a line-up that is both laid back and ambitious in the way it features contemporary music.
The free concerts take place in the city's parks, giving the festival some extra bang. This is not a place for a siesta though – you'll need to be wide awake to keep pace with these new and emerging musical cultures.
- Tangopostale, Toulouse – July
In 1890 Toulouse saw the birth of the legendary tango singer and composer Carlos Gardel. With Tangopostale, Toulouse plays tribute to him through the strains of Argentine tango. The festival consists of open-air milongas (Argentine tango dances), entertainment in the streets and parks of Toulouse, talks, film showings, folklore and evening concerts featuring world-famous tango orchestras.
- Les Fêtes Médiévales du Grand Fauconnier, Cordes-sur-Ciel – July
For one weekend in the bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées
, the entire town turns the clock back to the Middle Ages
. The Fêtes du Grand Fauconnier is a spectacle to behold! Acrobats try to outdo each other with their dexterity, storytellers pull in the crowds, bold knights face each other in sword fights and people throng to the taverns. The highlight is a magnificent long parade
through the medieval town's steep streets. By hiring a costume in town, you too can join in this extremely authentic historical event.
- Cahors Blues Festival, Cahors – July
BB King and Nina Simone, and more recently Johnny Winter and Keziah Jones, have all graced the stage at the Cahors Blues Festival. It's the oldest festival of its kind in France, first held in 1981.
Held in the heart of the town of Cahors, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées
, this festival's reputation continues to grow, attracting huge audiences who come to see world-famous artists on stage. Some fifty concerts are held over the week of the festival, with nearly forty of them being free of charge.
Around Souillac, in the abbey cloister, on the banks of the Dordogne, and even inside the fabulous caves at Lacave, the architectural and natural heritage of the Lot département forms the backdrop for this innovative and appealing celebration of all things jazz.
This midsummer festival takes over Montauban and several surrounding villages, spreading the jazz culture but also opening up new horizons by featuring Afro-Cuban jazz, gypsy jazz, drum 'n' jazz, Latin jazz, gospel, electro and more…
More than 200 artists come to Tarn et Garonne to spread the word about the wide variety of different sub-genres that make Jazz so rich.
- The Tour de France - July
Every year the Tour de France honours Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean, a region where some of the finest episodes in its history have been written.
In particular, the cols of the Pyrenees have become the star attractions of Le Tour since it was first held in 1910. Since then, year on year the racers have toiled up the mountainsides to the Col du Tourmalet, the Col d’Aspin, the Plateau de Beille and other legendary climbs.
- Tempo Latino, Vic-Fezensac – July
For 4 days, Vic-Fezensac in Gers celebrates salsa, the undisputed star of this festival with its mixture of good humour and wild extravagance, exuberance and simplicity that proves a bit hit with audiences from far and wide. The festival features top artists from Cuba, Venezuela, New York and other places too…
The concerts take place in the bull-fighting arena in Vic-Fezensac, while the village is transformed into an authentic-looking barrio cubano neighbourhood, complete with white sand, banana palms and terraces thronged with people.
- Toulouse d’été – Mid-July to mid-August
Toulouse is a city of music with a reputation for producing top soloists, ensembles and bands. The Toulouse d'été festival brings this explosion of cultural and creative energy to you.
Every year more than twenty concerts are held in Toulouse's historical centre in an eclectic blend of musical genres (jazz, popular music, flamenco and classical music) featuring established artists and the stars of the future.
- Festival du Comminges, Saint Bertrand de Comminges – Mid-July to mid-August
Head for Saint Bertrand de Comminges, a Great Tourist Site, 110 km south of Toulouse. This festival features chamber music, baroque music, religious music and contemporary music, performed in magical venues such as the Cathedral of Saint Bertrand de Comminges, the Basilica of Saint Just de Valcabrère and the Collegiate Church of Saint Gaudens.
Famous soloists and ensembles rub shoulders with brilliant young artists in a festival which has earned itself an international reputation.
- Sylvanès Abbey International Festival - Mid-July to late August
This famous and prestigious festival takes place in the outstanding surroundings of Sylvanès Abbey in the south of Aveyron (not far from Millau Viaduct).
For more than 30 years, the Sylvanès Abbey International Festival has been bringing top talent from all over the world to audiences of cognoscenti. Through a combination of music, song, poetry and dance, its philosophy is to stand up for the principle of dialogue between cultures, religions and people.
- Festival de Saint Céré et du Haut Quercy - Late July to mid-August
This major festival explores opera, music and song in a way you might find surprising. Humour and irreverence are the order of the day for this event designed to appeal to the wider public and not just an elite.
It consists of 3 weeks of performances held in various iconic locations around the Dordogne Valley, a Great Tourist Site in Midi-Pyrénées, including Souillac Abbey Church, the Château de Montal and the Château de Bretenoux.
- Jazz in Marciac festival – August
Marciac, a Great Tourist Site, is home to one of Europe's most famous jazz festivals. Every summer from 1 to 15 August, the stars of planet jazz gather in this Gers village for the long-awaited Jazz in Marciac festival, a memorable occasion you just have to experience. The atmosphere, buzzing with passion and excitement, is irresistible.
The outstanding artists who have appeared here and who regularly return to Marciac include Diana Krall, Didier Lockwood, Keith Jarrett and Sony Rollins. In addition, on the square in Marciac, the fringe festival stage puts on free concerts featuring the best jazz musicians currently on the scene.
- Au Fil de l'Eau une Histoire, Valence d'Agen – August
Au Fil de l'Eau une Histoire is a Son et Lumière show that lights up the town of Valence d'Agen. It takes place on the bank of the Canal des Deux Mers, a Great Tourist Site in Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean.
Each year features a new show that takes the audience on a journey through time, re-playing episodes from the area's local history. Pyrotechnics, lasers, original music and expert staging come together to make this event an unforgettable experience.
- Piano aux Jacobins International Festival, Toulouse - September
Toulouse offers music-lovers a whole month of world-class piano performances. In September, in the stunning surroundings of the cloister of the Église des Jacobins, top pianists perform works from the entire musical spectrum and a wide variety of eras, with the added effect of the magical setting. An unmissable event that has been going since 1979 and whose reputation has spread far beyond France's borders.
- Toulouse Les Orgues, Toulouse - October
With 30 organs, 9 of which are listed as Historical Monuments, Toulouse is a leading European centre of organ music. The Toulouse Les Orgues international festival takes place across Toulouse and the region, performing to a wide variety of audiences. Renaissance, baroque, romantic, contemporary: the festival explores every kind of music, sometimes featuring more than one genre at a time and including vocal accompaniment, film, festive shows and more…
- Jazz sur son 31, Haute Garonne - October
Jazz sur son 31 is a festival that covers the area around Toulouse, taking place throughout the Haute Garonne département. Over two weeks it features more than 50 concerts, some of which are free. Big names in jazz come here to perform alongside local artists and young talent, buying into the idea behind this festival, which is to be highly accessible, eclectic and open to all kinds of jazz.
- Fête du Safran du Quercy, Cajarc – Late October
Both a flower and a spice, saffron
has been cultivated in Quercy since the Middle Ages. Its red stigmas are prized for their indefinable and delicate flavour.
This luxury product is featured in a fun and friendly festival held in the little village of Cajarc in Lot. A celebration of the local terroir, it takes place in the middle of the flowering season and features a market of saffron-based produce (the dish tripoux, cheeses, honey, saffron cakes, etc.), a competition for the best saffron, tours of saffron farms, a gastronomic meal on the theme of saffron, and more…
- Circa, Auch - Late October to early November
Circa began in Auch, where the Zavatta Circus came to spend the winter in the 1980s. It soon became an international hit, with circus schools, artists and circus professionals coming together from all over Europe to practise their art.
Today, this open and innovative festival appeals to both fans of the circus arts and a very broad public. For 8 days, in big tops erected in the centre of Auch, a Great Tourist Site in Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean, Circa features the most inventive shows in the modern circus.