So with the summer in full swing here in the mountains, I thought I would post about one of the highlights of the Meribel summer calendar – the Fete à Fanfoué in Les Allues. An annual event that spans a whole weekend, including a gala dinner, fireworks, market stalls, traditional costumes, génépi (lots of it!), cheese (of course) and some rather touching sentiments centrered around the battle against individualism and the importance of community.
The sunday morning of the fete was a particular highlight, with local craftsmen setting up their stalls outside the Mairie selling all sorts from hand made lace collars to haribo sweeties! There were some traditional horn players with extraordinarily long horns – please see photos for clarification!!!
At midday the church bells rang and from the church came the figurine of Ste Appollonie, borne by village residents in traditional alpine costume From there all the residents and visitors of Les Allues proceeded up to the “look out” for the Saint at the top of the village. The story of Saint Appollonie was told by the local priest, reminding us all of the fire that destroyed much of Les Allues hundreds of years ago. The villagers called upon the saint to protect the village from fire, avalanches, floods and snowfall for the future and each year she is taken from her watch point to the church to be blessed, then to be returned to her hill side spot. Many of the villagers were dressed in traditional costume and the address by the priest was a warm reminder of the importance of community, the importance of welcoming our visitors – both summer and winter and a reminder about a meeting at the Mairie next week to discuss the World Cup ski championships in 2013!!!!
A great day for all, and a reminder that the villages of this valley have been here longer than the ski lifts and that tradition and history make up so much of what makes Meribel an utterly charming place to visit, and indeed to live in!