5 Ways the Paris Music Festival Rock en Seine Is So…FRENCH

Nothing says summer more than music festival, even in Europe. So this weekend, just outside of Paris we attended France’s answer to Coachella or Governor’s Ball: Rock en Seine (sounds like “Rock On, Seine! to the Frenchies…kind of cute).

rock en seine 2016

At the concert with random Frenchman bombing our pic with his best Frenchie pissy face

A three-day festival launched in 2003, in many ways, it’s just like any festival you’d go to in the U.S.: Loads of people, lots of stages, good music, and pot wafting through the air. But then there are a few things that make it…well, typically French:

1. The super-feminist man band: The band Olivier was most excited to see, La Femme (“The Woman”), consists of four dudes and a woman who was actually the last member to join, years after they started. Their latest album of “lo-fi surf pop” music contains such special songs as “La Mycose” (“The Yeast Infection”). Yes, exactly that yeast infection. This was the first time the group had played this song for the public, and it was the first song from their new album they played at the concert. Ballsy…or something. Lyrics included (in French): “It itches/It burns/Why won’t it just go away?” Granted, these were sung by the female lead, but the other members were definitely into it, as were many of the fans.

Then there was the time the lead singer, dressed in an all-white traditional Basque music outfit with a red scarf and beret, played the accordion while the other members joined arms and danced. Leave it to the French…

2. The stinky cheese: And the blood sausage (boudin), and prosciutto, and ginger chicken, and pain perdu (aka French toast fried right there on site…aka the French version of fried Oreos). But of course. At the end of the night, though…it was still concert food. Let’s just say Olivier and I have been paying for what we had last night all day today.

rock en seine 2016 food stand

3. And tea. Maybe not necessarily the Frenchiest, per se, but several stands served straight up mint tea, iced and hot. There was also a fresh-squeezed fruit juice stand. And, of course, a Brittany cider stand. But the French selection of four beers sadly paled in comparison to what you’d get in ‘merica.

4. No one puked: Or no one that we saw. No one passed out from over-doing it, despite 90F+ heat. Not saying people always puke in the U.S. either, or that people in France don’t get wasted. But people were behaved for a concert. Then again, the headliner for the night was the 90s group Massive Attack…so not exactly the same scene as Burning Man, either.

5. An environmentally-friendly cup. This is pretty genius…not sure it’s French, but it’s definitely Euro. You deposit 1 euro extra for your first drink. Then every time you order a new drink, you exchange your cup. At the end you can cash in your cup for 1 euro back, or you can take it home. Keeps the space clear of trash (really, it was shockingly spotless all things considered) plus it’s a souvenir (we still had ours from the first concert we went to, in 2013, until we moved this year).

In the end, after the year that France has had, between the terrorist attacks last November in Paris and again on their independence day in Nice this July, it was simply great to see so many people out and celebrating. That’s the way to deal with terrorists…don’t let them win:

rock en seine 2016 crowd

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