Post by kerouac2 on Jun 25, 2017 15:53:51 GMT
Les Médiévales de Provins is the largest medieval festival in France (which of course makes me wonder where the largest medieval festival in Europe is located, but I have not done any research on that yet), but I was totally unaware of its existence until about six months ago because I generally don't pay attention to such things. In my final days living on the other side of the Atlantic, they had invented "Renaissance Fairs" and what I saw of them was pretty appalling, so the whole concept was filed away in my mind for decades. However, last year I accidentally visited Pierrefonds on the day of their medieval festival (link here), and my original opinion of these events was modified. For one thing, I find it amusing how vast the concept of "medieval festival" is in terms of costumes. There are plenty of people who make an admirable effort to be historically accurate, but lots of other looks are accepted with open arms, from Pirates of the Caribbean to 21st century Goth, not forgetting magic and wizardry of course. So basically it is like attending a huge costume party where you yourself are not obliged to be in costume, and that suits me just fine.
The festival in Provins lasts 48 hours -- Saturday and Sunday -- but I decided to just go on Sunday. However, I heard tons of people talking about having been there both days, even when they were not costumed. These might mostly be people who live in the area. While Provins is considered a distant suburb of Paris and my travel pass includes it with no supplement, it is still 70 minutes from Paris so I can't imagine the people who commute every day.
In any case, there is a train to Provins every hour at --:46 and the return train from Provins to Paris is also conveniently at --:46 so it is easy to keep track of the time when needing to return.
This morning I took the train at 09:46. It was absolutely packed and many people had to stand all 70 minutes. A few people were already in costume. A few minutes after 11:00 we arrived in Provins.
The Voulzie is the very small river that runs through Provins. It is an affluent of the Seine only 44 kilometres long, but what always impresses me is its strong current. We are at the beginning of a drought right now, but the current was still strong, so it must come from a very vigourous spring. Then again, perhaps it is compressed in Provins into a much narrower channel which would make it flow faster.
I didn't have to pay attention to the signs this time; I just followed the crowd. A huge number of the visitors were Japanese, and they never get lost.
We passed a
car park stable where some knights had dismounted from their steeds and were assembling their possessions before joining the fun.
And then the climb to the medieval ville haute (upper town) began.
And here we are, projected about 500 years into the past.