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France’s Fête de la Musique

band performs on the street during France's Fete de la Musique (Flickr: 
boklm)If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start planning your summer adventures.


Why not take a trip to France, one of the world’s arts capitals, this summer?


One of the most exciting times to visit France is during la Fête de la Musique, an annual nationwide music festival that takes place on June 21st (the summer solstice).


In addition to scheduled performances in venues throughout both major cities and smaller villages in France, musicians also crowd into the streets and public parks to play impromptu concerts for passersby. One of the unique aspects of the festival is that performers range from world-renown musicians to unknown teenage bands.


As one might expect, Paris hosts the largest Fête de la Musique. Attendees’ strategies for experiencing Paris’ Fête de la Musique vary. Some people prefer to download the official concert schedule and map out exactly which concerts they want to attend. Others (like yours truly) prefer to pick a neighborhood or two where quite a few concerts are happening and use this as a “home base.” I find it very enjoyable to hop from café to café (while stopping to listen to street performers on the way) and soak in the unique spirit of this festival in a relaxed manner.


Especially in Paris, the streets and public transportation (le métro and buses) are packed to the gills throughout the entire day of June 21st. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and to plan alternate routes back to your hotel (or to the concerts you want to attend) in case you get stuck. Or, just adopt a Zen attitude and experience the day for what it is: a chance to hear a wide variety of international musicians, drink good wine, munch on street food and enjoy being in Paris in the summer.

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