The Feast of the Beggars. The Medieval Festival of Verneuil-sur-Avre
Fête des Gueux, Les Médiévales de Verneuil-sur-Avre
Verneuil-sur-Avre (Haute-Normandie region)
a weekend of interactive full-immersion in the Middle Ages with street parades, reenactemnts, shows, markets in a charming medieval town of the beautiful Nordmandy region…
Geographical, cultural and historical context
The charming and medieval Verneuil-sur-Avre, located in Haute-Normandie region of northern France, and since January 2017 merged into the new commune Verneuil d'Avre et d'Iton, was founded as a defensive fortified town along the border of Normandy Duchy in 1120 AD by Henri Beauclerc (c.1068-1135 AD, also known as Henry I, King of England from 1100 to his death), the fourth son of William the Conqueror (1028-1087 AD, the first Norman King of England from 1066 until his death). The town was protected with walls, towers and moats that were filled with water diverted from the river Iton, thanks to a man-made canal called "bras forcé". Over centuries Verneuil managed to keep intact its outstanding heritage, including the medieval ramparts, canals, churches, abbey, mansions, and towers, as well as the famous traditional half-timbered houses which are traditional to Normandy. Worth a visit is also the Tour Grise, a medieval keep built in year 1204 by Philip II of France (1165-1223 AD, a member of the House of Capet and King of France from 1180 to 1223) after the conquest of the Duchy of Normandy. The keep is named after the reddish-brown stone used for its construction, which is typical of the area and called "grison". From the top the visitors can enjoy a stunning view over the medieval city and its surroundings.
Verneuil-sur-Avre went down to history for being the scenery of the Battle of Verneuil, that was described by the English as a second Agincourt, and fought on August 17, AD 1424, during the Hundred Years' War (a long-running struggle from 1337 to 1453 between two royal dynasties, the Plantagenets of England and the Valois of France, for the throne of France). A 9.000-men strong English army defeated a joint Franco-Scottish army of 15,000 men. After Verneuil, England gained full control of Normandy and Aquitaine, and put an end to the partecipation of the Scottish Army in the War, at least as a distinct unit.
Event description and programme
The glorious past of medieval Normandy opens its doors offering the many visitors the unforgettable emotion of a time-travel back to the Middle Ages thanks to a spectacular historical festival which takes place in May in Verneuil-sur-Avre with a different theme every year. The rich programme provides the audience with several chances to take actively part at the initiatives and events in a family-friendly and full-immersive environment through torchlight parades, workshops, living history displays, dressing in medieval costumes etc. The programme includes as well battle reenactments, siege machines and birds of prey demonstrations, guided tours at the historical camps, a crafts market, music and dance shows, taverns and inns offering medieval and local traditional dishes, and a wealth of leisure and educational activities for all tastes and ages. Besides, since the 2016 edition, the Fête des Gueux has widened its temporal and spatial context opening also to other cultures and time-periods.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Association/organization name: Le Comité des Fêtes de Verneuil-sur-Avre
Address: 27130 Verneuil-sur-Avre, Eure, France
Tel.: +33 (0)2 32323320
Normandy Tourist Board - Comité Régional de Tourisme de Normandie
Address: rue Charles Corbeau 14, 27000 Evreux, France
Tel.: +33 (0)2 32337900 | Fax: +33 (0)2 32311904
Normandie Sud Tourisme - Office de Tourisme de Verneuil-sur-Avre
Address: 129, Place de la Madeleine, 27130 Verneuil-sur-Avre, France
Tel.: +33 (0)2 32321717 | Fax: +33 (0)2 77120017
Verneuil-sur-Avre Town Council
Address: 1, rond point Vicoire Verneuil sur Avre 27130, France
Tel: +33 (0)2 32321081
Image: Le Comité des Fêtes de Verneuil-sur-Avre
Text sources: Le Comité des Fêtes de Verneuil-sur-Avre, Wikipedia, Verneuil-sur-Avre Town Council, Normandy Tourist Board, Normandie Sud Tourisme
Verneuil-sur-Avre on Google Maps:
Promos and video reportages of the event: