One of our favourite Christmas festivals of the whole year takes place in Licques, about 40 minutes drive from Calais. The Fete de la Dinde or Turkey Festival involves hundreds of turkeys parading through the streets of the town in an extraordinary celebration to honour the Christmas bird. Accompanied by local dignitaries and brotherhoods decked out in all their splendour – it’s a colourful and memorable day out.
It’s also the place to go for a gourmet Christmas market, the streets are lined with stalls and there is a huge marquee full of local producers and from regions like Alsace, Champagne and the Loire. You’ll be able to taste and buy great wines, champagne, cheese, meats, cakes, biscuits, sweets – all the French produce you’ll need to make it a proper gastronomic Christmas!
The turkey parade takes place on the 15 December starting at 11.00 a.m. – but get there for 10.30 to grab a glass of warm local liqueur to raise your glass to the turkeys. Called “Licquoise” , its heated up in an enormous cauldron over a bonfire in the high street. The cauldron is so high the barman has to climb a ladder to reach in to fill your glass!
Celebrate in style at this authentic and distinctly fun and delicious Christmas event.
At 10.30 a.m. thousands of visitors gather at the Place de la Marie at the top of the main street and line the road as turkeys are released from a huge holding pen and take part in a procession guided by the Noble Dames and Knights of the Brotherhood of the Turkey. Accompanied by representatives from artisan and guilds groups from local towns dressed in all their finery this bizarre procession makes its stately way through the town. Warmed by a glass of the local Licquoise liqueur, the crowds accompany the turkeys who seem to be enjoying their moment in the limelight!
For a truly authentic and very French Christmas market and festival – this is a great experience with lots of superb regional products and a genuine celebration of the famous Christmas turkey.
When? The gourmet market is held on 14 and 15 December , the grand turkey parade takes place at 10.30 a.m. 15 December
More information on the Licques Turkey Festival 2013 from the Licques Vollailles website.
Download our Free Christmas in France 2013 book – it’s packed full of really useful information, fabulous photos and fun French festive facts!