Thursday, June 27, 2019

Provins Medieval Fair, 1

Never mind it's the largest Medieval fair in France, and thus, probably Europe, and thus, probably, the known universe. Vicki had read about it in a magazine some months ago, and, checking with Rebecca, we all decided it was a must-see. Just an hour from Paris, so it said. Really two hours, but it would have been worth an overnight in Provins. Simply said, it was the best fair, of whatever kind, I have ever seen. Provins is a World Heritage Site because, in part, of the array of Medieval buildings there dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. More importantly, it was one of the three or four high Medieval fairs--where, twice a year, merchants from England, Flanders, France, Spain, and Italy all met, to deal, and to create what would become a new economic order, multinational, but depending very largely upon cities, free cities, with a rising merchant and middle class. Where the Mediterranean met northern Europe. The heady stuff here is lost in the contemporary fair itself, which is about entertainment, but the heady stuff is why Provins is important and why it is so recognized. (Take a look at Life in a Medieval City for elaboration and much mention of Provins). In addition, with its great size--thousands upon thousands of participants, many costumed--the fair was great fun. With or without a costume, one could feel Medieval, part of a Medieval fair.
Metro ad; they've been doing this fair for 35 years; it was a 2 hour train ride
from Paris; but worth it and ever more

The little town itself is beautiful, convincingly Medieval, though not much
larger now than it was in the 13th century

There's a downtown and an uptown, where most of the action is; here, we're in
the downtown

Penelope in princess costume and very happy with it

The first of many of instrumental groups, usually with dancers, jugglers

So it's one thing to go to your local Medieval/Renaissance fair at the county
fairgrounds; quite another when the surroundings are thoroughly 12th-13th
century, in a place that was renowned for its international fair in those times

Provins is big-time rose country, everything in bloom

Even the bananas 

And other things

Now we are uptown, in a Medieval hardware store

In a big central square

Probably a third of the attendees are in costume, many
quite interesting and authentic-looking; here, a contestant
for the burning-of-the-witch contest at the end of the day;
oh, you get in for half-price if you're in a costume

Another instrumental group and juggler

The fair is HUGE

Best/largest selection of jewelry/bookmarks ever

Moving a float into place for the parade

The Knights Templars barbecue a great favorite

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