Paris’s Rock en Seine Music Fest Happens in One of Europe’s Prettiest Gardens
Yes, summer is the season of music festivals, but how many of them are held in ravishing Andre Le Nôtre-designed gardens once owned by relatives of Louis XIV? Compared to the mud-pits of Glastonbury, or Bonnarroo in swampy Nashville, Rock en Seine’s setting in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud proves that Paris, once again, has the upper hand.
The event, which runs from August 28 through 30, consists of three days of back-to-back live music across five stages. And the line-up’s not bad. This year, acts include Tame Impala, the recently reformed Libertines, engagé hip-hop act Run the Jewels, gender-bending dance music sensation Shamir, and a cross-generational meeting of the minds in a joint performance by Sparks and Franz Ferdinand.
If you’re able to divert your attention from the main stage for a moment, the park—a former nature reserve attached to the site of the Duc d’Orléans’ chateau (itself burned to ground after the Franco-Prussian War)—is worth a visit in its own right. The geometry of Le Nôtre’s gardens was a favorite subject of pre-modern photographer Eugène Atget; Sinead O’Connor filmed the video of “Nothing Compares 2U” here, too.
But aside from these three days in August, when 100,000 people descend on the park, contemporary tourists don’t often visit. All the more reason to buy a ticket and see it all for yourself.