Francine’s Summer Solstice

The French have a traditional way of celebrating the summer solstice; the whole country joins in staging a fête de la musique, in which very varied types of musical entertainment break out all around the streets in cities, towns and villages countrywide. Being fans of June camping in France, we’ve enjoyed these French celebrations on numerous occasions.

Our French campsite hosts, Luc and Nadine, set themselves apart from the vast majority of campsite hosts by also having traditions in that they frequently seem to be trying to entertain their campsite guests. As well as hosting a reception for their guests with snacks and wine every week, they organize the odd trip, as well as inviting campers to join them at local events. For midsummer’s evening, Luc gathered a group of willing revellers and took them to join the fête de la musique in the picturesque, you-simply-must-see-it-before-you-die mediæval walled city of Carcassonne, which looks more like a Hollywood film set than a real city. Nonetheless, real it is and a few car loads of willing revellers set off to enjoy the sights and free entertainment.


Franco was not among the revellers. Franco is not really a city person, particularly when it gets in the way of an evening glass bottle or two of vino. Besides, after a little overindulgence the previous evening, Franco didn’t really want a second consecutive late evening. This was much more Francine’s thing so she joined a few other campsite regulars to wander the streets of Carcassonne and try its version of the fête de la musique.

Lying outside the walled mediæval city of Carcassonne, looking more like King Arthur’s Camelot than King Arthur’s Camelot, is the modern city of Carcassonne, looking entirely unlike King Arthur’s Camelot. Surprisingly, to me anyway, Francine returned to report that the fête de la musique in the modern streets had seemed more interesting than anything in the old city. Stomp might be playing in one street to be replaced, when a corner was turned, by a rock band in the next street. Turn again into the square of the Hôtel de Ville, and you’d be confronted by a wind-only classical orchestra and chorus.


It’s all terrific fun and something that should be experienced. I just prefer to experience when sobriety and driving isn’t a necessity. 😉 Francine had a great time, though.

That’s it then, it’s downhill from here. 😀

Posted in 2014 France

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