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  • Writer's pictureDavid Viney

Opera Festival - Aix-en-Provence

The Festival d'Aix-en-Provence is an annual international music festival which takes place each summer in Aix-en-Provence, principally in July. Devoted mainly to opera, it also includes concerts of orchestral, chamber, vocal and solo instrumental music.

An audience 'en plein air' for the Aix Festival
An audience 'en plein air' for the Aix Festival

The festival was founded in July 1948 by Countess Lily Pastré, who famously covered the entire costs of the first edition herself! It was made up of three or four concerts in the cour de l'Archevêché, a concert in the Saint-Sauveur cathedral, and six further concerts & recitals in various locations throughout the town. An opera was added to the concerts - Mozart's Così fan tutte - a work practically unknown to the French public at the time. In 1949, they followed-up with a stunning production of Don Giovanni that people still talk about to this day. With this, Aix became a firm part of the European social calendar.

The 76th edition of the Aix-en-Provence Festival - 2024

In 2024, the festival dates are 3-27 July. This year, the overarching theme is « destinées exemplairement ambivalentes » (exemplarily ambivalent destinies); where the violence of madness & destruction are met by will, and the struggle for justice & emancipation. Predominantly, it's French (Rameau, Debussy and Gluck) meets Italian (the wit of Puccini and the baroque of Monteverdi).

2024 Poster © Aix-en-Provence Festival
2024 Poster © Aix-en-Provence Festival

There are several new productions, including Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride (coming together in a new production by Dmitri Tcherniakov, Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and the world premiere of Samson by Rameau, a true chimera of opera.

Daniele Rustioni's Madam Butterfly | Photo © Toni Suter
Daniele Rustioni's Madam Butterfly | Photo © Toni Suter

The 2024 Line-Up for the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence

A performance of Puccini's Madame Butterfly (above) is sure to be the highlight this year, as we celebrate the century of his death. But there is a lot more to savour (as you can see from the official programme below):

Check out the vibe

This nice little reel of highlights from 1961-2017 will give you a feel for the spine-tingling performances one can expect:

How to Get there

  • By train: Aix is served by the super-fast TGV service (with trains taking just 2h55 from Paris). Whilst the TGV station is 12km from the city, there are shuttles to the centre every 30 minutes. If you prefer, the Gustave Desplaces (Aix-en-Provence) station is in the centre and is served by regional (TER) trains from Marseille, Pertuis, Gap and Briançon.

  • By car: Aix is at the join of two major autoroutes; the A8 ("La Provençale") and the A51 ("Val de Durance"). The exits from both are no more than 10 minutes from the centre of the town (in normal traffic). Perfect!

  • By bus: This is probably the best-served town in the South of France, with no less than four different operators and lots of different routes:

    • ZOU! PACA Régional Express - Avignon, Barcelonnette, Briançon, Carpentras, Castellane, Forcalquier, Le Luc (Saint-Tropez), Marseille, Toulon & Nice.

    • Eurolines/Isilines - from: Annecy, Annemasse, Belfort, Besançon, Bézier, Chalon-sur-Saône, Chambéry, Chamonix, Cluses, Colmar, Dijon, Grenoble, Le Cannet, Le Frayet, Lille, Lyon, Metz, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nancy, Narbonne, Nice, Nîmes, Paris, Perpignan, Saint-Julien en Genevois, Strasbourg & Valence

    • Flixbus - from: Agen, Anger, Annecy, Barcelone, Belfort, Besançon, Bordeaux, Bourg-de-Péage, Bourges, Cannes, Chambéry, Charolles, Clermont-Ferrand, Digoin, Genève, Grenoble, Gênes, Lyon, Menton, Milan, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nantes, Narbonne, Nice, Nîmes, Paray-Le-Monial, Paris, Perpignan, Saint-Etienne, Saumur, Sisteron, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Tours, Valence & Villefranche sur Saône.

    • Ouibus - from: Gênes, Lyon, Milan, Montélimar, Montpellier, Nice, Perpignan & Valence.



With panoramic views, private infinity pool, super-fast Broadband / WiFi and modern air-conditioning, Haute Vue is a Holiday Home with panoramic view in Montauroux; perfectly positioned for exploring both the interior of Provence and the French Riviera. Sleeping 10/12 in 5/6 bedrooms, it is the perfect central base for a holiday in the South of France; close to the beautiful perched villages of Provence and in easy reach of the beaches and sights of the sparkling Côte d'Azur.

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