Running into the Fêtes Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau at Le Puy en Velay was something of a surprise and a bonus. We had planned to spend a week in the south of France in June, but due to a mix up of dates we ended up going in September and as the holiday in September was going to be cut short by me flying to Italy with the MCC and our son starting university, we decided to add a couple of extra days to the start of the holiday.
A flick through some Michelin green guides showed some spectacular photos of Le Puy en Velay, with its chapels and monuments perched on volcanic spurs in the town. So our itinerary for the trip to the south was going to be Chartres, which I like a lot and then on to Le Puy en Velay, and on to the south coast via the Millau viaduct and the A75.
When we got to Le Puy we were surprised to see throngs of people in fancy dress. At the hotel we were told that the Fêtes Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau was in full swing. I grabbed a couple of cameras and we headed into town.
The fête was centred in the town centre park, the Jardin Henri Vinay and the Place du Breuil beside it.
The Roi de l'Oiseau had set up camp in the Place du Breuil.
Other small squares throughout the town were taken over as camp sites and music venues.
This group, Vagarem have a web site. They were good.
Wandering around the old town, it was quite surreal to find tourists rubbing shoulders with the people in renaissance period dress and people in period clothes using digital cameras.
The town also has some interesting points away from the fête, one such is the Black Madonna in Notre-Dame du Puy en Velay.
If you just happen to be in the Haute-Loire in mid September then this is a place you really should try to visit.