Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, June 15, 2009

Les Médiévales de Provins

Yesterday, I took advantage of the (semi) nice weather to head down to Provins, a small medieval town located 77km southwest of Paris. I'd been wanting to go there for a while to visit Casey, a fellow American-in-France, so when I heard Provins was holding its annual renaissance festival this past weekend, I thought it might be the perfect occasion. If you don't have a car, you can get to Provins via a commuter train leaving from the Gare de l'Est, and it takes just over an hour. They are at the very end of zone 6, so you can either buy a train ticket or use a mobilis ticket zones 1-6 (FYI: cheaper than the train ticket).

Evidence of humans living in Provins have been found dating back to the Paleolithic era, and the city itself held quite the important role during the middle ages. People would come from all over France and Europe to attend the semi-annual fairs and trade their wares. Many of the historical monuments in the city date from this era, making it the perfect setting for a renaissance fair. The city also has these great under-ground caves, which I hope to go back and visit some time in the near future.

This is the 26th year the fair has been held - it started back in 1984, with a piddly 5,000 visiters. Last year, there were over 75,000, and attendance is expected to be even higher in 2009. This year's festival covered over 5 kilometers and had over 1000 customed participants and 120 different vendor booths. I thought the entry fee was very reasonable - 9€ for an adult (or 8€ if purchased in advance). Kids under 12 got in free, and if you came costumed, you were only charged 4€. Though some people took the word "costumed" quite liberally - we saw several things resembling halloween customes, prom dresses, and just plain non-medieval things. But it made for some pretty good laughs throughout the day.

There were also three other shows that you could pay extra to get into - La légende des Chevaliers, Les Aigles des remparts, and Arkhangaï, les Cavaliers des Steppes. Plus a sound and light show that took place after sunset that would've been really great to see.
I had a fun time though, and it was really nice to meet Casey (and Mathieu) after all these years - I'm especially glad you guys weren't too weirded out by the idea of meeting up with someone you only know through the internet!



Blogger Leesa said...


June 15, 2009 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Animesh said...

great stuff!
and yes, now I am email-subscribed to your blog :D

June 15, 2009 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger kylie said...

oh! provins!! how fun. :)

June 16, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

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