Around the world the Ardenne region is best known for its produce champagne, than its other numerous charms such as its excellent game, out of which many delicious meals have been thoroughly enjoyed. However as well as its appeal to the discerning palate, this region in France has a number of interesting and fun festivals throughout the year.
1. Elektricity Festival, Rue du Docteur Lemoine, Reims Cathedral, 20th to 24th March 2013
You could be forgiven for assuming that this festival had something to do with electricity; it is however the name of a music festival which combines urban and contemporary music. Taking place in front of the Reims Cathedral, you can expect to experience new types of electronic music however, as well as a promising line up, put together by the festival organisers.
A firm favourite in the Reim festival and cultural world, it has a good track record (excuse the pun) and visitors can expect to attend some good performances.
2. Europuces Fair in Reims, Reims Exhibition Centre, 2nd to 3rd March 2013
A massive amount of antique lovers attend the Europuces Fair in Reims. Whether you are a seasoned antique dealer, an enthusiast or a bargain hunter, this is the place to be!
European antique sellers have a range of treasures on sale, from furniture to fine art objects, to apparently ordinary every day items. Come to the treasure trove that is the Europuces Fair.
3. Méli’môme Festival, Place de l’Hotel de Ville, Reims, 22nd March to 8th April 2013
Move over Mummy and Daddy, this festival is all about the children! This festival has grown in popularity since its inception back in 1989, and it offers a colourful combination of fun and expressive genres which will be sure to engage your child or children.
From story telling to dance, from song and dance to puppet shows, the entertainment offers a range of magical and delightful shows for the younger family members.
4. Festival Bernard Dimey, May awaiting dates 2013 (10th to 13th May 2012)
A festival dedicated to the memory of Bernard Dimey, the Nogent poet. There are prizes awarded each year from a spring-board event, for the younger talented people.
Born on 16th July 1931 in what was then Nogent-en-Bassigny, and now Nogent, Bernard Dimey was a French poet and songwriter. The festival focuses on poetry and songs with the younger folk in mind. He died in Paris, on 1st July 1981.
5. Sedan Medieval Festival, 3rd week May, (19th to 20th May 2012)
The Sedan Castle Fort was built almost 6 centuries ago and is the largest in Europe, with a size of 35,000m2. Making it a splendid place to enjoy a medieval festival, it is located right in the heart of Sedan city.
The festival takes place both in the castle fortress as well as in the town, and each year the event planners come with a new themed surprise. In 2011 a full size dragon who spat fire was produced and in 2010 came the giants of the north.
Cast yourself back into medieval times and watch the medieval sports and activities take place, such as jousting, flag throwing and cavalry tournaments. Enjoy street theatre, soak up the medieval atmosphere, feast, drink and be merry!
You can also find plenty of beautiful medieval arts and crafts, plus watch medieval artisans at work.
6. Joan of Arc Festival, early June (2nd to 3rd June 2012)
Joan of Arc festival is one of the most historical events which takes place in France. The city of Reims celebrates its heroine.
It is a marvellous sight, as around 2000 people dress up in historical costumes to accompany Charles VII and Joan of Arc, in a parade.
The patron saint of the city, who freed it from the English in the 15th century, is celebrated by a range of shows. If you are British and visiting this festival, you can enjoy some fun French-English rivalry, given the occasion. So take local banter in the good spirits of the occasion!
Wander around the medieval market, enjoying the historical epics that are part and parcel of this festival, as well as the atmosphere and the surroundings.
7. Les Sacres du Folklore – The Rites of Folklore Festival – Reims, 21st to 25th June 2013
This folk festival takes place in the interests of friendship and peace in Reims. You can expect to hear some of world’s best folk groups, and enjoy a folk-filled programme of events. More than three hundred musicans, singers, dancers and actors take part in this large folk festival.
8. Ay Champagne Festival (every 2nd year, 1st weekend July, next year 2014)
Also known as Henry IV Festival
Considered to be the best champagne village in the whole region, Ay is the home of the likes of Bollinger, Gosset and Ayala, as well as Deutz & Gelderman.
This festival combines lots of bubbly champagne and plenty of bubbly entertainment. Consider putting a few days apart in July 2014 for this marvellous event.
9. Clin d’œil Festival, Reims, 5th to 7th July 2013
Running since the European Year of People with Disabilities, 2003, this festival is a huge European deaf cultural event. In fact it actually started off as a one off event, but like a stone gathering moss, it has developed into a superb event that now continues to run.
Here is where you can enjoy experiencing the showcasing of the numerous exceptionally talented deaf people. It is a festival that bridges the gap between the deaf and hearing communities through the medium of artistic expression. A variety of forms of art and creative expression include painting, sculpture, design.
10. Fête des Sorcières – Witch Festival, Chalindrey, October
Whilst today there are many practices witches who live happily in various countires, a few centuries ago they would have been burnt at the stake. During the 16th century the Fort of Cognelot was the area of a witch hunt, and since then it was given the name Devil’s Point. This, as well as the area’s Celtic roots have combined to make it a location rich in supernatural heritage.
The Witch Festival has been running for around a century. Celebrations evoke this heritage and visitors can enjoy dances which are haunting, til the wee and more eerie hours. The festival includes exhibitions, movies of a fitting genre and face painting.
Listen to the local ghost stories, marvel at the beautiful scenery, learn about true roots of witches and of course have lots of fun!