The darkness of night is closing in as I sit on the gite balcony. There is the sound of fireworks nearby and the occasional shower of colour comes into view over the treetops. This weekend hosted the two ‘Fete’ days of the summer celebrated at the neighbouring village. All over France small towns and villages organise ‘fete’ days which usually last over the weekend and include a variety of activities such as flea markets, exhibitions, presentations, cabbage soup, discos, dances and fireworks.
This year the local town held a large ‘brocante’ (flea market) visited from far and wide on the Saturday followed by a concert given by local musicians in the evening.
Today, Sunday, was ‘Spectacle’ day. Two hours of equine theatre beginning with the horses and riders giving displays of Spanish dancing, Russian Cossack horsemanship and medieval dressage. There was an intermission and just by the demonstration field there were medieval activities, bows and arrows, armour to dress up in, shields for the children to make, candle making…..all free activities.
The second part of the equine display was fantastic. A medieval knighthood scene was played out. There were knights from different parts of Europe competing against each other and ‘the black knight’, the token big ‘baddie’. They fought, jousted, ran through fire until eventually the Frenchman won (naturally, we expected nothing less – in fact the British representative fared quite poorly!).
A wonderful afternoon spent in the sunshine watching an extraordinary display of skill, talent and beautiful horses all for free.
We didn’t stay for the cabbage soup but this is a tradition followed by most of the ‘fetes’ in this area followed by a dance and fireworks.
If you’re on holiday in France look around the local towns for their ‘fete’ days, they are fabulous affairs where you can get to know the local people and enjoy a community tradition.
I'm sorry you have to tip your head to look at the photos, I am currently unsuccessfully trying to change the situation by contacting Vistaprint as there is no facility to turn the pictures around.