Friday, June 26, 2015

Nuits Romanes in Poitou-Charentes


French Village Diaries Nuits Romanes music concerts Poitou-Charentes France
Nuits Romanes Gospel singers open air concert

This weekend sees the opening of the 2015 Nuits Romanes (Roman Nights) summer concert season in Poitou-Charentes. Now in it’s 11th year it was originally the initiative of local Member of Parliament Ségolène Royal to highlight the 800 Romanesque churches and abbeys in Poitou-Charentes, as well as bringing culture and the arts to the people. Many of the Romanesque churches in our region are on the pilgrimage route to Compostela in Spain and although we may not be home to the Pont du Gard or the huge arena in Nimes, we are still one of the top regions in France for Roman architecture.


French Village Diaries Nuits Romanes music concerts Poitou-Charentes France
Nuits Romanes light show on Romanesque church

Advertised widely throughout France, including on the Paris Metro, these free concerts are a great way of highlighting our region and each year many camping car tourists arrive from elsewhere to follow the spectacle around the Poitou-Charentes. In 2014 160,000 spectators enjoyed the music, dance, light and fire shows in villages and towns with Romanesque churches. Even small villages with fewer than five hundred inhabitants can see audiences of around a thousand.



French Village Diaries Nuits Romanes music concerts Poitou-Charentes France
Nuits Romanes fire dancers

This year there will be 170 evening concerts from 26th June to 5th September, all with free entry and providing a perfect way to spend a convivial evening with friends and family while enjoying the beauty of the architecture and the art of the performers. To coincide with the sailing of the replica of the Hermione from Rochefort to America earlier this year, four American groups will be appearing as guests of honour at thirteen of the concerts, performing Cajun, Gospel, Jazz and Soul music. Many of the events will also be holding a local produce market that takes place before the main spectacles begin at 21h00 and I’m hoping that like last year some venues may also offer a small platter of regional produce. The melon, paté, farci, goat cheese and apple juice handed out for free in Couture-d’Argenson was the perfect end to a lovely evening. I would advise taking your own chairs or picnic rugs, although some seating is usually provided if you get there early, and if you want to make a real evening of it, why not bring a picnic and wine too.


French Village Diaries Nuits Romanes music concerts Poitou-Charentes France
Nuits Romanes Poitou-Charentes

These are some of the photos I took last year, but for those with the ability to take really good action shots in the dark don't forget to enter the Nuits Romanes photo competition. Full details on the competition and all the information on the 2015 programme can be found on their website here. You can also follow the Nuits Romanes Facebook page here.