Rock en Seine: Dancing under the Eiffel Tower

Next weekend, Rock en Seine Festival takes place in Paris, France.
Last year, on that exact weekend, I visited that festival for the first time.
So for everyone who is heading there next weekend OR is planning on heading there any time in the future, I thought I’d write a little (late) review about how I experienced the festival in France’s capital.

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When I saw on John Butler Trio’s Facebook page that they are going to play Rock en Seine in 2015, there was no other option for me than to go there. John Butler’s music was the soundtrack to my first time in Australia back in 2010 and I wanted to see him live ever since.

The fact that Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kasabian, Marina and the Diamonds, Alt-J and many other great bands were playing the festival made the decision even easier – and it also made it easier to find people to accompany me.

We decided to go camping at the event, for which you have to buy camping tickets on top of the festival tickets.
How much? The festival ticket was about €120 and the camping ticket for 2 was either €60 without or €90 with breakfast. The breakfast included a pain au chocolate, a hot chocolate/coffee/tea, an orange juice and fruit.

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Breakfast with a view

Attention! If you buy a camping ticket for 2, you also get space for a two-men-tent. If you have a bigger tent, you can also get a camping ticket for 4, for €120 (or €180).
The camping ground at Rock en Seine is not like you might be used to from other festivals. It is very well-organised and ushers are leading you the way to your particular camping spot. So there’s no space to build up any common area with pavilions or anything else. So don’t even bother bringing one.

ESPECIALLY because the way up to the camping ground is awful. The day we got there was probably around 32° hot and we were melting as it was with all our luggage on our backs. So we took the train to the right station and started walking to the festival ground, which is about a 10-minute walk. We then noticed that that’s not it because we had to walk “a bit” further to the camping ground. It turned out to be around 30 minutes more, mainly uphill. So make sure to pack light!

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Drinks and Food: Well, unfortunately, you are not allowed to bring any drinks onto the festival ground. They even stopped us with a water bottle once and since it’s a little bit of a walk up to the camping ground we decided to not even try it again. So, keep your drinks at the tent and just try to drink as much as possible before you get to the festival ground, if that’s what you are after 🙂 Drinks at the festival ground are the usual, around €5 for a beer (if I remember correctly).
Like already said, breakfast is included and we also bought some stuff for lunch. The offer at the festival ground was really great, though, so you wouldn’t go hungry either way.

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Not into camping? That’s fine! I think if I’ll ever go there again, I might do it like a friend of mine did and get an apartment in the city. That way, you’ll be able to visit the city in the morning (What you should see in Paris? Here’s a list for your inspiration) and make your way to the festival afterwards. You should calculate around 60 minutes from wherever you are to get to the festival, including the walk from the station, but that still leaves you a bit of time in the morning, depending on when the first band you want to see is on.
I really enjoyed camping because I loved the people I was with and the area looked pretty cool but I gotta say: I’m used to more. In Germany the paths between the tents are full of people playing Flunkyball (my favourite drinking game!) or other fun games, blasting music and having a good time. At Rock en Seine I really missed that atmosphere. At most festivals I’ve been to, I had trouble sleeping at night, because people would just party all night long, at Rock en Seine I had trouble finding people to stay up with and party late. There is a party tent, which was a lot of fun, but music finished rather early.
It might be different another year, but since the partying at the campsite is one of the things that make festivals so great for me, I really missed that.
Unfortunately, I also had the feeling that the crowd at the festival itself was rather reserved and the atmosphere wasn’t as loose and crazy as I’m used to from most German festivals.

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All in total, I really liked the setting and location of the festival, since there was a lot to discover. Normally, I don’t explore the festival ground that much, but here there were a lot of fun things to do in between the bands.

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So, Rock en Seine, if you ever decide to bring, let’s say, Mumford and Sons or James Bay or Tom Odell, let me know, I might come back!

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