In France, 21 June doesn’t only mark the start of summer, it’s also the day of the year when the whole country celebrates live music with amateur and professional concerts held in all sorts of places, ranging from streets to bars, restaurants, courtyards and even museums. Created in 1982 by former Culture Minister Jack Lang, the Fête de la Musique has since then grown into a tremendous success which is now held in over a hundred countries around the world. Next Thursday, cities, towns and villages across the region will come alive with the sound of music and as Normandy rhymes with gastronomy, why not make the most of your evening by grabbing a bite to eat while local talent is showcased? Here are our top five spots to enjoy good food and music:
Place du Vieux Marché – Rouen
Right bang in the heart of the historic city centre, the Place du Vieux Marché is packed with bars and restaurants. This is where you’ll find La Couronne, which is France’s oldest restaurant. In 1948, the inn served chef and author Julia Child her first French meal, which was said to inspire her to devote her life to promoting French cooking. Grace Kelly, Salvador Dali or Serge Gainsbourg also used to enjoy Canard à la Rouennaise (Pressed duck) here. You too can savour the famous dish on the outdoor terrace while a line-up of local bands rock the square.
Place Courtonne – Caen
A delicious and eclectic evening awaits you on this square in the heart of Caen, facing the marina. Book a table at Le Bistronome, one of the city’s top-rated brasseries, where you can enjoy a tasty and very Norman Camembert burger. While you tuck in, local jazz band Swing Uppercut will get your feet shuffling, fingers snapping and head bobbing. Finish your meal with a glass of Calvados and simply cross the street to watch a plethora of DJs and urban music acts perform of the Summer 2018 stage until late in the night.
Place Clémenceau – Évreux
Just eight days before a sonic sound-clash of electro beats, hip-hop breaks and driving rhythms fill the summer air on the town’s racecourse, Rock in Évreux festival sets up a stage on the market square to celebrate music in all its diversity. With five restaurants to choose from, it’s a great spot to sit, eat and enjoy a lineup of rising stars from a mix of genres ranging from pop to rock, folk to jazz and punk to electronic music.
Le Goéland 1951 – Jonville Beach
Recently crowned as one of France’s Top 10 beach bars by The Guardian, the Goéland 1951 is set in a scenic location, right on the sandy beach and facing Tatihou Island. Every year on 21 June, the bar invites live bands to serenade the ears and souls of music lovers. Next Thursday will be no exception, so why not Indulge yourself with seafood and white wine while a pop-rock band plays and the sun fades on the horizon? Food, music and gorgeous scenery: this is Normandy at its best!
Quai Henri IV – Dieppe
With over 20 restaurants and brasseries along this beautiful quayside, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Overlooking the marina, Dieppe’s Quai Henri IV is the place to head for gorgeous fresh seafood but also for good music. Right opposite the Tout Va Bien brasserie, one of the town’s most popular landmarks, the council will set up a stage on which local bands will perform. At 9:45pm, up-and-coming talent Thomas Breiner will hit the stage and get the town singing and dancing.
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.
Cover photo © Le Goéland 1951 | Text: Ben Collier