Harry Potter à la française

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Châtillon-sur-Saône may be a village at the back of beyond, but we really know how to kick up our heels (and dance!) here, if the occasion calls for it.

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Tuesday 18 October, just before the start of the Toussaint autumn school break, saw a mass invasion by all the would-be Harry Potters from surrounding villages.

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Five schools were bussed in at 9.30am and, for the second year running, Châtillon’s Fête des Sorcières swung into action. First the kids were organised and cajoled into groups by our leading witch and the village schoolmaster.

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People work pretty hard in this village of less than 150 souls to make this a lively place, rather than a living museum.

But these witches were not just here to have fun. They also learned about the history of witchcraft from this scary young man, whose concept the first Fête des Sorcières was in 2015. Heard at an advance planning session: ‘No hangings, please, Thomas!’

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The trainee witches and warlocks spent time at the witches’ academy, absorbing the finer points of cauldron and broomstick use. Their ‘prof’ for the day  …

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Although I’m afraid she made some of the smallest cry …

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They made real broomsticks …

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And, near the Maison du Berger,

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They learned how to dance like witches …

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It’s hard with your hat on …

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So you really need to take it off …

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They painted like witches and they learned how to make pumpkin soup with the professionals …

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The dressed up like villagers from medieval Chatillon.

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And had their photos taken.

They even learnt a few English words like ‘pumpkin’, ‘skeleton’, ‘cauldron’, ‘bat’ and ‘skull’ from a crazy English-speaking resident. Just useful things like that, words that should come in very handy on their next school trip to Oxford … or wherever.

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In the afternoon we gathered in front of the church.

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Not quite as peaceful a business as you’d imagine, since parts of this Renaissance village are still falling down …

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See the Route Barrée sign below? We lost one there just a few weeks ago. A building that is, not a child.

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Don’t worry parents – the kids are safe. Except  from vampires and such like …

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Each school had come prepared with a little sketch they’d created in advance.

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A few weeks before the fête they were given key words to turn into a script, so they had time to create and practise – and after lunch on the 18th we all enjoyed their offerings.

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The small, rather perfect witch’s cat in the next picture played a starring role in one tale of enchantment. But had to be helped to leave her basket at the crucial moment.

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Some of the witches were a little too pretty to be properly frightening. These two are from Châtillon village school. (Of course … we have the prettiest of everything, even trainee witches.)

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Then the oldies presented our own masterpiece (written by vampire Thomas): The Wicked Story of King Bertrand (of Châtillon).The usual suspects are shown lounging about doing nothing …

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The story of Bertrand involves the enchantment of a dissatisfied king (by means of magic carrot) and his ultimate transformation into a cat. I was graciously allowed to be the queen who gets to marry the cat – Yvette is holding my future husband a little too casually in the picture below …

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A good time was had by all. And hats off to the handful of dedicated volunteers who have learnt how to amuse 130-odd children for six hours.

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Have a lovely witchy Halloween!

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9 thoughts on “Harry Potter à la française

  1. Molly Buchanan

    Cathy, what a great story and lovely pictures of it all. Disappointed that the picture of the King and Queen was missing. These were also beautiful pics of the autumn colours from the garden. Just gorgeous colours!

    Those children must have had a fabulous time. Well done to all the senior witches and wizards who did it all and to the Royalty who took the pictures for this great Village event. I loved it all and shall look at it all again. Love

    Mum. Xxxx

    Sent from my iPad

    Reply
  2. Cathy

    I smiled all the way through reading this, Cathy, and was trying to read between the lines about your involvement as you kept throwing in tantalising little snippets – your cover is at least partially blown though! Is the Fête des Sorcières an old tradition or something has been created recently? And are buildings falling down because of their age and neglect and are they not of sufficient merit to restore?

    Reply

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