Once a year, in summer, La Rochelle houses Les Francofolies de La Rochelle as Buenos Aires, Spa, Montréal, Genève do. It all started in la Rochelle in 1985 and spread over countries.. even reached Berlin in 1996. Yes, you read "Berlin"...
It's all about music.. en français.. Many indies as well as "espoirs". Worth noticing: many celebs de la chanson française performed there while starting... Say Patrick Bruel, Patricia Kaas.
Later on, les Franco de la Rochelle became the place to be for live recording. Hence, big names of Chanson française perform there and release their live opus. Big hits in Francophonialands...
Plus, some diversified style.. Les Francofolies now include Hip Hop folies, another festival in the festival.
In 2003, the planned program couldn't be followed. The whole festival was cancelled due to strike of intermittents du spectacle. Those latter are "smaller" artists. They were revendicating some rights, better working conditions and recognition of their status, if I recall it well... Their demands never met any full satisfaction so... the festival was cancelled.
2004 is planned. Rendez-vous July 13-18 2004 in La Rochelle. Wait and see...
As I said earlier, La Rochellle is a pioneer in eco-friendly transportation measures. At a time, it was possible to hire yellow bikes since cars were banned from the center... I haven't seen them though I saw electric cars in this clean city.
Clean cars have their own parking lot, where they are re-loaded. It is possible to hire them at some places for some euros. 24/24 and 7/7.
It was the first French city to implement in Sep. 9 1997, the "No-car day". Moreover, the city is involved in the R&D concerning electric cars. Its engineer school EIGSI still houses a lab dedicated to testing electric cars, Laboratoire Européen d’Essai des Véhicules Electriques.
La Rochelle is a city with a past, but already with her feet in our millenium.
An International Boat Show that used to be a huge economic event in the region, Poitou-Charentes'.
Some hundreds of exhibitors would be there to represent their nations, with their newest items: boats, yachts, superspeed engines.
Well, think of huge and superspeed boats as items and not our simple pairs of shoes. Attendants gather both amateurs, newbies as well seasoned professionals. With on-water and on-the-ground displays according to the size of the boats.
Each year, the event has its guest country of honor, 2003 was Danemark year and 2004 would be South Africa's. The guest country would be in highlight, would present a big picture of its nautical sector. Along that, sampling of guest country's specialty food products.
Most interesting stand, I think, is the "Wood village". An area dedicated to longtime forgotten material and that is brought back to the style of the day. Personally, I always appreciated wood for its warmth and tradition. It seems to be the case of shipyards, architects, designers who are involved in research on modern techniques that would allow/enhance the use of wood in shipbuilding. Oddly enough, other categories use to attend the Wood village as well: the antiques dealers and decorators. Well, it's not that odd given that La Rochelle has a lot of those trinkets and antiques shops (see shopping tips)
Plus, demo and free first lessons are given to introduce sailing to newbies.
All of that usually attracts thousands of attendants in Port des Minimes area each year.
Pic of Port des minimes will come soon.
Check the website, it will tell you more.
The two departments Charentais, Charente and Charente-Maritime produce an increasingly wide range of local wines and vine wines, white, red and rosé. The wine growers organise themselves in order to diversify and change the image of the vineyard.
The white wines represent more than 80 % of the production. Dry, light and fruity, they are the perfect accompaniment for seafood dishes. Among the white pure vine wines, the ‘colombard’ is particularly typical of the area.
The red, fruity wines, best drunk young, perfectly accompany local, traditional food.
The rosé wines are gaining more and more popularity all the time.
We are told that in the 16th century, a wine grower made the mistake of pouring fresh fermenting grape juice, (must), into a barrel still containing brandy. This mixture stopped the fermentation of the must and gave alcoholic strength to the wine.
This is how pineau was born; a liquor wine, appellation d’origine contrôlée. The operation of mutage makes ‘musts’ inactive by stopping fermentation with the addition of alcohol. Pineau exists in white and rosé, according to the type of vines used.
The alcoholometric volume must be at least of 16 %. Pineau ages in oak barrels.
The preparation of pineau follows strict rules, which guarantee a superior quality. You will notice on each bottle, the guarantee stamp of the trade union of the Producers of Pineau des Charentes. Pineau has to be served chilled, without ice and in general, offered as an aperitive. It is a good accompaniment for melon as well as foie gras.
If you want to entertain a local, do it at the beach.
The people here love their beach a lot, and all their lives revolves round it.