The event aimed to promote Vietnamese culture and was held as part of the Toucher Arts project, commemorating 50 years of Vietnamese-French diplomatic relations.
It was organised by the City Hall of Larmor-Plage in collaboration with three associations: Art Space, Vietnam Bretagne Sud, and Appel Lorient.
A series of large-scale activities, such as an art exhibition featuring children’s artwork from nearly 20 countries around the world, was organised along with a concert to promote Vietnamese culture and art, a parade in the city centre and along the Larmor-Plage coastline to showcase traditions and customs, as well as festival stalls serving Vietnamese street food.
As many as 500 Vietnamese Ao Dai (traditional costume) were presented to French friends attending the festival. In return for receiving an Ao Dai, attendees volunteered to make a contribution to the project’s fund, which will be utilised to support four orphanages and centres for the disabled in three regions of Vietnam.
Various creative and large-scale workshops were continually organised at the festival to promote Vietnamese culture and traditions. These workshops included: making bamboo leaf decorations, which provide insights into Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebrations; workshops on creating Dong Ho folk paintings; workshops on calligraphy, allowing the French participants to experience using pen brushes and ink; as well as engaging question-and-answer sessions on Vietnamese cultural knowledge, accompanied by interesting gifts.
In addition, the exhibition showcased nearly a hundred selected paintings out of more than 400 artworks contributed by Vietnamese-origin children from nearly 20 countries, as well as international children, in response to the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic relations.
Young artist Thao Nguyen also presented her photo collection titled “Dreamy Hoi An”.
There were over 10 booths introducing Vietnamese street food such as bánh mì, bún bò (beef noodle soup), bánh bao (steamed buns), savoury sticky rice, nem (spring rolls), bánh giò (rice dumplings), and chè ba màu (three-colour sweet soup).
These offerings attracted a large number of interested visitors who came to enjoy the food. French friends have continuously expressed their love and admiration for Vietnamese cuisine as well as the dishes introduced at the festival.
Under the theme of “Customs and Traditions”, a collective of more than 100 international students, alongside Vietnamese residents in France and their French counterparts, adorned in traditional attire and Ao Dai, paraded together to introduce the traditional wedding customs and Lunar New Year festivities of Vietnam.
The French locals had the opportunity to gain further insight into marriage rituals, bride selection, the betrothal ceremony, and the formal introduction of the two families. Additionally, the procession showcased vivid scenes reminiscent of Tết (Lunar New Year) festival, such as the representation of the Kitchen God rituals and the exchange of lucky money in red envelopes. The grandeur and scale of the procession were further enhanced by the participation of ten large-scale lion dance troupes.
On the evening of 1 July, more than 50 non-professional artists participated in a concert titled “Toucher Arts – Les Traditions et Légendes du Vietnam” (Embracing Traditions and Legends of Vietnam) to showcase the beauty of Vietnamese music to the French audience at the festival.
Through captivating songs and mesmerising dance performances, the French audiences had the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Vietnamese culture and traditions. Notably, the concert also featured the participation of young Vietnamese born and raised in France, as well as international students from various countries, showcasing exceptional acts including traditional musical instrument performances, singing, and traditional dance.
Additionally, Vietnamese-Belgian fashion designer Ella Phan presented her collection of áo dài at the festival as a special contribution.
The Mayor of Larmor-Plage, Patrice Valton, expressed his delight and optimism, not only regarding the established collaborations between Larmor-Plage and several cities in Vietnam but also in light of the events taking place in his city, such as the Festival Vietnam.
He expressed great joy and pride in offering the people of Larmor-Plage the opportunity to explore the diverse and distinctive cultural heritage of Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Ambassador to France, Dinh Toan Thang, shared his profound emotions upon witnessing the widespread dissemination and warm reception of Vietnamese culture among the French people.
He commended the remarkable success of the Art Space, Vietnam Bretagne Sud, and Appel Lorient associations in strengthening cultural connections and exchanges between the two nations, as well as promoting the beautiful image of Vietnam to French friends.
“This event marked a perfect milestone for the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic relations,” he said.