One of the things I like best about living in France is… Fetes!
Where I live in the Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais in Nord-Pas de Calais there is something going on every week and many of the festivities celebrate the heritage and traditions of this beautiful unspoiled area of France.
I love the Herring Festival at Etaples for instance, the Turkey Festival at Licques, Dunkerque Carnival – I could go on and on but I thought I’d tell you about a lovely festival that takes place on the first Sunday every August in Boeschepe, in the heart of the hills of Flanders (about 35km from Dunkerque).
It’s organised by my friend Laurence who was born in Boescepe although she now lives and works in Dunkerque. She and about 50 of her friends organise this fabulous event every year and it is a wonderful day out.
The festival is called “Fete à l’Ancienne” and the aim of the day is to share the traditions of the past – from the years 1900 – 1960, “the time of our grandparents” says Laurence. It is basically a free party!
Volunteers dress up in costumes of the old days, there is music from Pierrot of Dunkerque, French chansons (songs) and an old fairground organ, a brocante (flea market) with clothes and artefacts from the years 1900-1960, local cuisine is spotlighted with a stall selling saucisson, frites and “gastronomie terroir”, dances, a costumed ball, a dance competition, games for children and a whole lot more.
I love this one for the sense of tradition that is being celebrated, for the lovely brocante and the wonderful costumes, it is a really fun day out where everyone is warmly welcomed and you can join in as much as you like!
It’s held at 405 rue du soleil BOESCHEPE 59299 below the mill at the foot of Mont des Cats… more details on the website of the organisers “Le Pied à l’Etrier” (which means foot in the stirrup).