Classical Music in Nice

Besides the famous Nice Opera, Nice boasts numerous Baroque and Chamber Music Ensembles that perform monthly in Nice’s fabulous Baroque churches.  Nice also hosts a whole slate of classical music festivals throughout the year…

The Nice Opera

The Nice Opera is naturally the classical music hub with a robust program of operas, concerts and ballets… but also concerts for the family, and all kinds of community outreach including free performances, and even dinners and dances held on the stage!   There is something going on every week.  Click here for the calendar for the current month.

  • Insider Tip:  The Nice Opera ticket office has a last-minute ticket line, where one hour before the performance, unsold tickets drop to half-price …and for students and under-30s tickets are just 5€! 

The Nice Opera’s only real competition is Monaco, with the Opera de Monte-Carlo offering a full slate of top-end productions, and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra hosting concerts at the Salle Garnier in the Monte Carlo Opera House, the Grimaldi Forum, and the Auditorium Rainier III with tickets starting as low as 20€ for most concerts.   Cannes also has a strong classics presence with their National Orchestre de Cannes.

Free Sunday Concerts in Nice

Every Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm the Nice Orchestra d’Harmonie gives a free concert; here is this week’s program.  In summer they’re held in the gazebo in the Albert 1st gardens just across from the seaside.  In winter the concerts alternate between the church in the Port (tramway Port) or the Basilica Notre Dame (tramway Jean Medecin).

Monthly Nice Concert Series (with 2023/2024 dates)

Exterior of Sainte-Reparate Cathedral in NiceLes Moments Musicaux presents a series of prestigious concerts performed in the magnificent Sainte-Reparate Cathedral in Old Nice. Tram stop Cathedrale.

  • 2023 dates: Oct 4, Nov 29 so far.

And the church itself often holds organ recitals and special musical events as well, listed on their website.

Baroque Church with olive treeThe Ensemble Baroque de Nice holds concerts one Friday per month from October through May, in one of two baroque chapels in Old Nice, either the Eglise Saint-Francois-de-Paule across from the Nice Opera House (tram stop Opera), or the Eglise Saint-Augustin (tram stop Cathedrale or Garibaldi).  Concerts start at 8:30pm, tickets are 16€.

  • 2023/24 dates: Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 15, Jan 19, Feb 15, Mar 15, Apr 19, May 24

The Societe de Musique Ancienne de Nice performs Baroque concerts one Saturday a month from October to July, at 8:30pm at the Providence Cultural Center in Old Nice, 8 rue Saint Augustin, tramway Cathedrale or Garibaldi.  Tickets are 15€.

  • 2023/24 dates: Oct 14, Nov 25, Jan 30, Feb 10, Mar 16, Apr 13, May 25, June 15

Concerts Spirituals de Nice presents Chamber Music concerts at the Protestant Temple one Sunday a month from October through May.  Concerts start at 5pm, tickets 15€, 21 blvd Victor Hugo (enter rue Maccarani)

  • 2023/24 dates: Oct 8, Nov 19, Dec 3, Jan 14, Feb 4, Mar 17, Apr 7, May 26

The Chagall Museum on Cimiez hosts the Nice Philharmonic for a series of chamber music concerts in their gorgeous circular stained-glass auditorium, and tickets are a bargain at just 12€. Held one Monday a month at 8pm from October through May.  Easy access with bus #5 until 1am, or just take an Uber.  There is also free parking at the museum.

  • 2023/24 dates: Nov 6, Dec 4, Jan 15, Feb 23, Mar 18, Apr 8, May 16, Jun 3

Opera Concerts en Famille, a family-oriented concert series but open to anybody. Usually one Sunday a month, sometimes at 11am, sometimes at 3pm.  Tickets 10€, free for under 12.  It’s open seating so if you get in line early you can score a private box!  Nice Opera House, tram stop Opera

  • 2023/24 dates: Sep 10, Oct 29, Nov 5 and 12, Dec 10, Feb 11 and 25, Jun 9

Vu pas Vu Cultural Association hosts a variety of concerts each month at La Provana, 4 Rue Provana de Leyni (tram stop Durandy). Ticket prices vary by concert.

  • 2023 dates: Sep 30, Nov 18, Dec 12.  2024 dates: Jan 12 and 20, Feb 2  and 16, Mar 7, April 7 and 20,  May 4, June 9 and 15.

The Nice Music Conservatory on Cimiez holds a robust schedule of concerts from July through April, with something on every week and too numerous to list here, so just click the link above.  Prices depending on concert.  Accessible by bus #5 which goes every 15 minutes and runs to midnight so easy to get back (get off at Commandant Gerome stop, then turn left at the giant dog statue and follow the arrows to ‘C.N.R.’) or with bus #16 and #18.

Candlelight Classic Concerts are held at various venues around town, and some, like the Nice Observatory, are quite extraordinary.

Touring Ensembles

Church interiorThe major hub for one-off concerts touring on a national level is the Saint-Francois-de-Paule Church across from the Opera, tram stop Opera.  They don’t post the concerts on any consistent website, so best to just pop by and check out the posters of upcoming concerts out front.

  • April 6 at 4pm Pianist Johathan Benichou.  Tickets 20€
  • April 19 at 8:30pm ‘Baroque in our Times’ Tickets 25€

Same goes for occasional concerts at the Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate at Place Rossetti in Old Nice, and the Anglican Church, 11 rue de la Buffa

Virtual Live Opera

You can experience the entire season of the New York Metropolitan Opera transmitted live at special Saturday showings at the Pathe Massena Cinema

  • 2023/24 dates: Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 9, Jan 6 and 27, Mar 9 and 23, Apr 20, May 11.

And the entire season of the Royal London Opera House shown live at the Varieties Cinema, usually with one afternoon and one evening performance.

  • 2023/24 dates: Oct 12, Dec 1 and 5, Dec 25, Mar 14 and 19, Apr 18 and 19, May 23 and 28, Jun 13 and 18,  Jul 11.

Summer Music Festivals and more…

Monaco’s Printemps des Arts de Monte Carlo Springtime Music Festival – March 13 – April 7, 2024

Sacred Music Festival in the Sainte-Reperate Cathedrale in Old Nice, June 29-July 5, 2024, tickets 20€, tram stop Cathedrale.

Noon Canon Concerts FREE – lunchtime concerts in front of the Nice Opera at the stroke of noon, 2024 dates tbd. Tram stop Opera

Nice Classic Live outdoor concert series set in the Cimiez Monastery.  From mid-July and into August, high-quality classical concerts held under the stars in the dream-like French gardens of the Cimiez monastery.  Tickets are 9-19€.  Easy access with bus #5 until 1am.

Candlelight Concerts in the Nice Observatory.  From May through September – An intimate one-of-a-kind concert venue, illuminated with a thousand candles …and at the end the observatory opens the coupole to the stars!  Various concerts are proposed: some are classical (Vivaldi…), and some are classical interpretations of rock icons like Queen or Coldplay.  Tickets 45€/60€  Read more about the Nice Observatory and how to get there.

Festi’Vence – last weekend in June – Free – a slate of back-to-back classical music concerts spread out over 3 days in the town square of the charming town of Vence.  It’s easy to get there by bus, even coming back late.

Concerts in the Prince’s Palace – Monaco, late July/early August – The Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra gives a series of summer concerts in a one-of-a-kind venue: the interior courtyard of the Palace of Monaco. It’s a coat and tie affair, and tickets go from as low as 30€ to up to 250€.

Les Nuits Rothschild  Every Monday and Tuesday night from July through August, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap-Jean-Saint-Ferrat opens its doors from 7:45pm-midnight, for an evening ambiance like no other.  The villa is resplendent at night lit by hundreds of candles; enjoy live ballet and ‘dancing fountains’, wander the gardens with a ‘picnic panier’, enjoy the bar, or dine in the villa. Tickets are 35€, or 60€ including a picnic basket to enjoy in the gardens (note: no bringing in your own food/bottles), or 105€ including a glass of Champagne and 3-course dinner in the villa.  There is also a family admission of 80€ for two adults and 2 children.

Autumn and Winter Classical Music Festivals

Antibes hosts the Festival of Sacred Art for two weeks mid-September.

C’est Pas Classique free November music festival, where classical music is turned a bit on its head.  Since its home turf is currently being blown up, the city is taking the opportunity for the 2023 edition to blow the festival up as well: from 3 days to 3 weeks (November 3-19), and instead of the (ex) Acropolis, now at venues all over the region. Just click on the website then click on your town.  It is still totally free (and freewheeling!) but the other new feature is that many concerts now require free tickets via the website, but even if the concert that you want is sold out, there is now a waitlist, so jump on the site and sign up!

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