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French festival to celebrate Jersey's continental cousins

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A FESTIVAL to celebrate the culture of Jersey's nearest neighbour is due to be held next month.

Le French Festival, which will run for nine days from 10 July, will feature a number of events including open-air film screenings, a Norman market and live music.

One of the organisers, Camille Perdereau, director of the Jersey branch of the Alliance Française, said that she wanted the event to reconnect Jersey people with their French roots and Norman ancestors.

She said: 'We have a Portuguese and Polish festival, and it struck me when I came to the Island a few years ago that there was not a French one. So myself and a few others naturally wanted to organise one.

'I think the old festival stopped when the French consulate closed down and the staff moved away – they used to have someone employed full time, and part of their job was to oversee the festival.

'This is more of a recreation rather than a revival. This will be different to what we had in the 1980s.'

During the festival about 700 sailors taking part in the Tours des Ports de la Manche yacht race are expected to stop over in the Island. There will also be a musical performance from a French brass band.

Miss Perdereau added: 'I think the brass band that are coming over from Brittany will be really good – I have seen them perform before. They are very energetic, very joyful and have got very good rhythm.

'They are performing at the Weighbridge on 11 July for people having their lunchtime break, and again during the evening at the Troubadour.

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'There is also an outdoor screening of La Grande Vadrouille, also known as "Don't look back we're being shot at!" on 13 July, which is a cult French film featuring some famous French actors. It will be really nice to sit outside and to watch a French film with English subtitles.'

Xavier Souris, director of the Maison de Normandie et de la Manche, which represents Normandy and the la Manche region in Jersey, said that his organisation would be helping to fund many of the events.

He said: 'The Conseil Départemental de la Manche as well as the Normandy Region, in 1995, established La Maison de la Normandie et de la Manche in Jersey and are heavily sponsoring some events of Le French Festival this year.

'This will reinforce our links based on our common history, brotherhood and embracing new opportunities.'

More information including details on how to buy tickets can be found at lefrenchfestivaljersey.com.

A special festival edition of Le Rocher, the JEP's quarterly French-language newspaper, will be published in the first week of July. The newspaper, which will be included as part of the JEP, is edited by Mr Souris.

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