Perches blog le festival des lanternes

Chinese Lantern Festival

The Chinese Lantern Festival is taking place near the Domaine de Perches.  A good enough reason to come to this part of France in December or January and stay at the Domaine de Perches. This is a wonderful way of enjoying the town of Gaillac at night, fully lit with Chinese lanterns and the amazing winter colours of the surroundings countryside at this time of year.

The Gaillac region is usually known for its wonderful vineyards and historical bastides or the medieval city of Albi. But now, all of a sudden, Gaillac is the talk of France thanks to the stunning, world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival, Festival des Lanternes. It is the first time ever it has appeared in France or even in Europe. The event opened at the beginning of December after having taken two months to construct by the 40 members of the team. It remains open until the end of January.Chinese Lanterns

The Chinese Lantern Festival has been so popular – 14,000 visitors last Friday alone – that there was even talk of extending it for a further two weeks. Attendance figures are already almost hitting the 150,000 mark – above the predicted 100,000. People have come from right across France but also from Italy, Spain and the UK to see the enchanting display.

The festival celebrates Chinese culture originating from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) in the town of Zigong in the Sichuan Province which has been given the pseudonym ‘Lantern Town of the South Kingdom’.

Chinese LanternsHeld at the parc Foucaud, itself listed as a place of historical interest, the exhibits are spread right through the park, creating a dreamy, glittering backdrop as night falls. The lanterns themselves are shaped to represent ancient stories and myths. But there are also exquisite hand-made models of animals. There is the field of zebra, the panda forest and the dazzling 80m-long dragon, which is made up of thousands of pieces of crockery laced with tiny lights.

Chinese Lanterns

There are over 100 different hand-made sculptures. They are built from silk, paper, glass and porcelain and individually lit up. Many stand over 10m tall. Aside from sculptures of animals, there are also pagodas and temples. There is even a specific nod to Gaillac itself.  To reflect the town’s history of winemaking, several exhibits in the shape of wine bottles and glasses have been built especially.

So why Gaillac?

The mayor, Patrice Gausserand has explained that Gaillac and Zigong are twinned. As such, the Chinese Lantern Festival enhances the cultural relations between the two. Plans are already underway for a possible repeat-performance in 2018 and maybe beyond…..So keep your eyes open and consult our Blog or Facebook page regularly as we will keep you posted once the dates are released.

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