With some sand, sun and a cool breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean, the effect that Rouen sur Mer has on people is hopefully one of pure relaxation. The annual event tries to bring people together on the banks of the Seine in the heart of the French summer.
Started in 2009, the event offers residents and visitors a unique way to enjoy the riverside city. The historic capital in the Normandy region, Rouen is a favourite stop on French river cruises. Although it is almost 100km away from the seaside, organisers hope they will help increase the summertime vibe by bringing in several thousand tonnes of sand.
With attendance of more than 150,000 people, Rouen sur Mer offers themed days exploring differing parts of the world: a Cuban universe, introductions to zumba and salsa dancing, and spa treatments like massage, shiatsu and reflexology.
For those who want to enjoy the beach, many visitors may choose to settle into a deck chair with a cold drink. Parasols and sunbeds are available to holidaymakers on a real sandy beach. There are also creative workshops for building kites and making crafts.
The event is even hosting a VW Beetle Caravan on Sunday 2 August.
If seeking something a bit more active, there is zumba, circus arts, beach volleyball or athletics. The event is aided by more than 40 local sports clubs hoping to give people a taste of their activities. All ages and all abilities are encouraged to participate.
A key port city on the Seine, Rouen is at the heart of Upper Normandy. It dates back as one of the largest and most influential cities of medieval Europe. At the height of its prosperity, it housed the
Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was also one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties ruling both England and large parts of modern France during the 11th to the 15th centuries.
Rouen was the site of Joan of Arc’s execution in 1431.
Image Credit: Frédéric BISSON (flickr.com)