Sunday, 26 November 2017

Mediaeval Day Out

Robinette Hood - look at that leatherwork
When Cees suggested that we could go to a mediaeval event with a Christmas market, I wasn’t too impressed with the idea. We have been to so many of these things and they are always, without exception, a let down. Besides Les Oiseaux Rares (the local artists group) were exhibiting in Cormatin, so why would we go to some unknown quantity?

Then he said that it would be held in the chateau of Varennes (near Mâcon) and I jumped at the chance even though there was an entry fee.

So why the change of mind?

Little robin there to welcome us
This particular castle is never open to the public and we have gazed at it over the walls of the neighbouring churchyard, wishing we could get in. We have tried to take photos of it by jumping up and down and when you are my height, that doesn’t get you very good pictures. So even with 3 Euros to get into a market we didn’t want to see, it got us into the castle, so mediaeval event here we come!

These events attract a big public and so we decided to go first thing this morning. We arrived as it was opening at 10.00 and even at that time, it was a bit tricky to park.

Fearsome looking drawbridge
I was very surprised at the mediaeval bit of the event, the costumes were exceptional, they hadn’t been taken from children’s dressing up boxes like the usual offerings and I was very impressed with the leatherwork of the young lady who was a female Robin Hood. The blacksmith was doing a tremendous job with a huge pair of bellows stoking up his charcoal fire and we spent some time watching him and the archers who very skilfully hit the target every time.

Entry into the Christmas market
The Christmas market was also well worth the visit, the exhibiters were of a very high quality. There was some beautiful calligraphy, leatherwork, horseshoe decorations, jewellery and wooden carvings just to name a few. At the far end of the market there was also a guy selling some very interesting “mediaeval” snacks, but as we had just had breakfast I skipped the delicious looking potato and cheese fritters - did they have potatoes in those days?

The castle was not at all what I had expected in two ways, firstly the part you can see from the churchyard is not as old as we thought and not that photogenic, but secondly, the other side of the castle was rather “mediaeval” looking (although I am tempted to say it wasn’t), it had a drawbridge that led into a little courtyard and it was truly charming.

All in all a great morning out, I would not hesitate to go again even if it is for the market this time!

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