I had the great great pleasure last night in celebrating the Frairies des Petits Ventres with all the locals in downtown Limoges. It's an annual festival that is always celebrated the third friday in October. From what I have read this is a festival that has been going on since the Middle Ages! It takes place on the tiny street of rue de la Bucherie (Butchery street).
This is a picture of the street a few weeks back the first time I saw it.
And here it is on the night of the festival. It was wall to wall people with grills and tents and vendors table's lining the side.
This is a huge huge event in Limoges because literally the whole city was packed into this one tiny street. Its so well known in fact that I didn't see one poster or advertisement posted for it. I heard about it first from Yohan I think and then read about it later in a travel guide from the Office de Tourisme in Limoges. Had I not read about it though I could have very well stayed in my room reading a book and missed it without even knowing.
The basic gist of this festival? All the butchers on this street and all the patiseries get to show off their stuff. It's an all out carnivores dream really. Limoges and Haute Vienne are known for their meat products so this is a festival for them to celebrate meat I suppose you could say. And celebrate they do!
Oh gosh...spreadable meat.
Pang would have liked this thick bacon sammy on french bread.
French people love their tongue. None left!
But don't worry! There was plenty of things for little ol' Lacey to eat. Plenty of treats that is, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I waited in line for a good half hour to get a crepe, being pushed and prodded and swaying with the crowd. I elbowed my way up to a table and bought a little apple tart. I thought about getting french fries at this one table but opted for an apple pound cake looking thing instead (which I haven't tried yet). They sure like their apple desserts here - gee whiz! I love it but I could really go for some banana bread!
my crepe being made!
There was a performance of some traditional dancing that was pretty interesting. It was at this point when I cranked my ISO way up that I rediscovered the grainy picture feeling that I so loved when I was shooting film years and years ago.
All this time I spent there I was totally on my own - didn't go with anyone - yet I was still having a blast - still totally excited to be there - at a festival I could only kinda partake in - smooshed and pushed against a thousand different strangers.
These guys really had the right idea!
When I finally decided to leave I started walking towards the top of the street. I kid you not, this is no exaggeration, to go the length of half the street it literally took me almost half an hour. To the muddled sounds of "oh la" and "merde" I slowly, painfully and slowly worked my way up the street. It was impossible to move as an individual. You went with the crowd or you were trampled.
I could see the end - it was 50 feet ahead of me - and I bumped into Nadia, Yohan and Victoria. Nadia and Victoria are Argentinian girls that are teaching Spanish here. Yohan is Nadia's boyfriend, and he's a real life Frenchy. They had just gotten to the festival and were ready to plunge in so after almost half an hour of struggling to get out I turned right around and went back in!
I spent the rest of the night pushing around with them until we finally decided to get out of the crowd and go for a walk. We walked down to le Vienne - the river - and chatted and strolled. Yohan said his place was about 10 minutes away and invited us over for a drink. 30 minutes later we got there. He claims this is a French thing - habitually misrepresenting times and distances. As usual the walk was all uphill and about 15 minutes into it I was regretting not going home as it was already midnight.
Finally made it and plunked down on the couch, made friends with their adorable cat, and got something to drink and felt a bit better. We watched something that Yohan just raves about called Happy Three Friends. It's pretty much exactly like Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons. Little cute animals that do really gross stuff to kill each other. He laughed hysterically. Pretty great
I finally decided it was time to go home and at about 1:30 am I snapped this picture of the aftermath of the festival. Notice the obliging French man who is giving the peace sign.