Activists mingled with the "good the bad and the (ahem) ugly" of a party which holds power at just about every level in France.
Everyone who is anyone within the party turned up - well with two notable exceptions; François Hollande, because he's now "above" these sorts of things and...Ségolène Royal, who decided to give the place where she was electorally humiliated (again) back in June, a wide berth.
There again, Seggers had already put in a guest star appearance at the Green party's summer bash - sorry, conference - in Poitiers the week before.
So the Great and Glorious - minus the Two - were present to give themselves a collective pat on the back for all their electoral success and pay homage to the woman who had engineered victory, Martine Aubry.
|Martine Aubry (screenshot Europe 1 interview)|
We know that because she said as much.
"Back in 2009, here in La Rochelle, I outlined a 'road map' (don't you just love that expression?) for the future of the party," she told an attentive audience - all the more so because those present wanted to know whether she was going to stand down as leader and, if so, to whom she would give her blessing (Amen) as her successor.
More on that in a moment.
"That included being more aware of society's needs, doing away with the multiple mandates, gender diversity, the primaries and how best to get rid of that eternal pain, Seggers (all right, she didn't say that last bit, but she might just as well have done)."
Ah yes. as Libération wrote, Aubry was able to bask in the party's success due in no small measure, as far as she was concerned, to her own leadership.
All Hail Martine!
So now what?
Well, with bated (or baited, if you must) breath everyone waited to hear whether she would officially announce she wasn't going to stand again for the post at (yet another of) the party's conference in Toulouse in October.
Apparently everyone knows she's not going to run again, but nobody seems to have told Aubry. Or rather Aubry seems to have told nobody.
Well that's leadership for you. Keep everyone guessing right up until the last moment.
So what of the pretenders to the throne?
Well there are two of them.
First up is the wonderfully named Harlem Désir. No, not as in the dreadful 1980s single "Harlem Desire" from the British-German dance pop duo London Boys, (click on the link, if you dare, to discover just how awful it was) but the former president of the French anti-racist organisation, SOS Racisme, member of the European parliament and the party's number two.
|Harlem Désir (from Wikipedia)|
Désir would be the obvious choice especially as he took over the leadership temporarily when Aubry took the plunge and contested the party's primaries for this year's presidential elections, losing out in the second round head-to-head against Hollande (just in case you had forgotten).
Plus the 52-year-old is believed to have Hollande's backing.
But of course this is politics - and France is no different from any other country in having its fair share of intrigue and shrewd plotting.
Enter Jean-Christophe Cambadélis - or "Camba" as he has apparently been dubbed by Aubry - a former right-hand (or should that be left-hand) man to none other than Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose shoes Aubry so reluctantly tried to fill in those very same primaries.
Both men were spotted at La Rochelle showing their full support for Aubry - naturally, but "Camba" was a little less subtle about it, cosying up even more closely to her supporters and earning the status of "friend" from another Aubry crony, Claude Bartolone, the president of the national assembly.
So Désir or Camba? Which of the two will it be should Aubry decide to step down?
Oh what a tough one.
Cue London Boys?
You have been warned
Just imagine the behind-the-scenes power Aubry could wield with Bartolone already perched at the national assembly and Camba installed as party leader.
Spare a thought for Désir.
Roll on Toulouse and the transparent vote.