Saturday, July 14, 2012

14 Juillet

Every 14th of July the medieval hilltop town of Cordes Sur Ciel hosts a festival. The celebration has little to do with Bastille Day other than falling on the same national holiday. The festival at Cordes instead celebrates its history & the life of the middle ages.

I had the pleasure of experiencing this festival some twenty years ago & remember being perfectly enchanted by it. The colorful costumes & the reenactment of life in the middle ages in such a beautiful & authentic setting was captivating.

This summer I decide to try the festival again, the first time since that original visit 20 years earlier. A lot has changed in 20 years & tourism has had a lot to do with it. Although now much of the magic has gone & the festivities are much more geared toward tourists, Cordes still remains one of the most beautiful medieval villages in the area & for that reason alone the festival is worth while.

I can never help wondering what life must have been like when these towns were first built & were in their prime. So to see people acting it out is quite an education.

But I would have to say that it was difficult to take photos that did not include medieval men & women talking on cell phones, smoking cigarets or drinking bottled water, not to mention all the other tourists.

But in spite of all the touristy shops & restaurants that have sprung up over the years, one can still feel the haunting presence of the past in Cordes.

The whole community comes out for this festival & enjoys dressing up for this event. Everyone takes part both young & old. The children especially seem to have fun stepping back in time.

The costumes are thoughtfully created....

....& the authenticity of medieval life fascinatingly reproduced.....

.....old tools are used to manufacture medieval goods....

.... & recipes from the middle ages bubbled away in pots smelling quite delicious.

The celebrations will continue into the night but for me it was time to return to the 21st century.

To all of my friends in France I wish you a very Happy 14 Juillet & to all a Bon weekend !!!