Sunday, September 29, 2013

La Fête Renaissance

alternative title: The Biggest Renaissance festival in all of France. Or so I was told.

Last weekend, CILEC ((the French program I'm studying at)) chartered a bus to a near by town called Puy-en-Velay to the biggest renaissance festival in France, called the King of the Bird (or the king and the bird....j'ai oublié)).

We arrived around 11 am. The main festival appeared to be centered in front of Hotel de Ville (the major's office basically) and there was a clustering of white tents and dressed up people.

I was surprised at the number of people who went full out-- lavish, expensive, period costumes. We began to meander through the festival, seeing the craftsmen, the recreated camping living quarters, the archery competition (which we couldn't figure out how to join) and then, after maybe four min, we ended up where we started.

We looked around, confused. Biggest renaissance fair in all of France and it took only four minutes to walk around all the tents? We walked around once more, and then started a vain search for turkey legs since we were all starving. Alas, apparently turkey legs are not standard fair at French renaissance parties so we left the fair and headed in search of food.

Or so I thought we left the fair. Turns out, the festival was spread out all over the city. It was really interesting to be at a renaissance fair in a city that probably saw the actual renaissance. It wasn't hard to imagine what life would have been like-- the buildings probably weren't much different.

I loved walking through the streets-- it was a beautifully ancient town.

In case you're curious my hometown, St. Etienne, does not look like this. St. Etienne started as an industrial town and lacks the medieval section of the city.

I hate taking my big camera out in St. Etienne because everybody already turns and stares (slight exaggeration, I admit) when they hear me speaking English. I don't want to look like even more of a tourist. At the renaissance fair, however, basically everyone was a tourist so I didn't feel weird lugging around my big camera.

We hiked through the city and up a huge hill, only to be rewarded by a massive cathedral that over looked the city.

The interior of the cathedral was, unsurprisingly, breathtaking.

After the church we hiked up a bit further.

 The church is the church I showed you pictures of-- after that we hiked up to the top of the statue.

Yup, the top. But my favorite area was actually the overlook at her feet.

The overlook, after some tiring hiking, was amazing :)

From the base of the statue we had panoramic views of the surrounding city and hills. It was most definitely worth the hike ;)

This isn't the best picture but there was this really amazing cathedral literally built on top of a narrow rock. It took my breath away when I first saw it as we were driving into town. I was sad we didn't have time to visit it, but it was really cool.

Well, that's about it! I apologize this post took so lonnggg to write, but hey, at least I finally wrote it! I'm going to try and write the rest of my posts today and post them soon.

So stayed tuned for my next post, 12 Things that Surprised me about France :)

Thanks for reading!

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