Quirky and Quaint – the World’s Biggest Puppet Party, Charleville-Meziers, Champagne-Ardennes…
It may not be quite so well known as the Place Stanislas in Nancy, but Place Ducal in Charleville-Mezieres, in the region of Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne is one of the finest and most beautiful in France.
Visitors may be forgiven for thinking that they may have seen something a bit like it somewhere else in France. The Place des Vosges, the oldest urban square in Paris, was designed by Architect Louis Mezeveau and begun in 1605. Place Ducale was begun in 1606 by Clemence Mezeveau, brother of Louis so perhaps the similarities are not entirely coincidental.
Place Ducale is a vast square, surrounded by Renaissance style buildings. Mellow, aged stone give the whole place an air of glamour and class. The beauty reflects the importance of the nobleman who commissioned it, Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers.
Every other year (on odd numbers eg 2015, 2017, 2019) in this magnificent square, heralding the arrival of autumn, a very quirky ten day event takes place – the fetes des Marionnettes. In the square, in the streets that surround it, in public buildings and shops, puppets take over the whole city in a fantastically colourful affair. There is nothing else quite like it. Fun, fantastical and downright fabulous, the World Puppet Festival is not to be missed.
When: 2015: 18-27 September