The star-filled Cité and Bastide
The whole town is transformed into an international stage and welcomes more than 200,000 spectators who come to enjoy the rock and variety concerts, be moved by classical music, ballet or dance, or to let themselves drift away on the aria of a great opera.
The 'In' in the Cité and the 'Off' in the Bastide (free of charge) make this festival a rare event, as its diversity make it one of the great French festivals, and, without any doubt, THE cultural event in the Grand Sud in July.
Carcassonne festival is...
- Choosing from 120 shows, 80 of which are entirely free (the OFF), on 12 stages in the Cité (Grand théâtre, place Marcou and château Comtal) and in the Bastide (place Carnot, square André-Chénier, Hôtel de Rolland, church of Saint-Vincent...)
- Sharing emotions during an opera at the Grand théâtre de la Cité, or a dance spectacle or classical music concert. It's also about dancing and singing along with an audience of 3,000, during a concert by one of the international artists
- Seeing your favourite French singers or rock groups live in a unique setting
- Marvelling at the Cité as the thousand year old ramparts are lit up and seeing the beating heart of the Bastide Saint-Louis, when the sweet night fills the café terraces.
A concert in the Cité... a unique experience
A backdrop of a blue, starry night above the crenelated ramparts of the Cité, the scent of summer filling the historical théâtre Jean-Deschamps, applause and a voice from the past, the murmur of the impatient crowd increases slowly, you're at the Carcassonne festival. Whatever the show, the group or the company, this is a wonderful moment. An open-air concert in a sumptuous setting, where history and the arts mix to create a beautiful symphony. All the stars have appeared here, Aznavour, Chuck Berry, Johnny Halliday, Sting, the Arctic Monkeys, Dylan, Diana Ross, BB King, and not forgetting Michel Bouquet, Gérard Philippe and Maria Casares. Nows, the Bruels, Vanessa Paradis, Bigflo and Oli, Maé, Calogero, Julien Doré, Jain and IAM are on the bill so that you can have... a unique experience.
Originally, the basilica of Saint-Nazaire de la Cité had a cloister that ran along its southern side, and included different buildings, home to the canons. Destroyed in the Revolution, in 1793, it gave way to vines and an orchard, in the shadow of the ramparts and the towers. At the beginning of the 20th century, as tourism and the fashion for open-air theatre began to develop, as seen in the amphitheatres in Nîmes and Orange, a theatre was planned in the Cité. In June 1908, the decision was taken and, in just over a month, the land was cleared, rubble was removed, the stage was built and the seating was in place. The theatre could hold 500 people. On 26th July 1908, the first play, 'La Fille de Roland' was performed in the Cité.
And that was just the start of the story!