I’m off on a much lighter note today compared to my last 2 posts. One of the delights of travelling is the discovery of the unexpected that comes along.
One of those surprise finds was while staying in the French city of Arras – located about 70 km from the Belgian border.
In Northern France and Belgium, there has been a resurgence of giants since the end of the 1800s, following a tradition that dates back to the 1500s. It is estimated that there are currently over 300 giants in various communities and their numbers continue to grow.
They may be local heroes – real or imaginary – or perhaps a representative of a local specialty trade. Their presence is a popular attraction at festivals and parades.
They are considered ‘living entities’ of the community. They are not made, but rather ‘born’, are baptized, get married, and ‘have children’. Each of these events of course is a reason for the town to celebrate.
The town of Arras has 4 giants, which we found on Easter Sunday at City Hall. They made their first appearance in 1891, but were ‘killed’ during WWI and again during WWII. The parents – Jacqueline and Colas – were ‘reborn’ again in 1981, and their son Dédé was ‘born’ in 1995.
I can’t find any information on the 4th giant now accompanying Dédé. I can only assume this is a visiting giant from another community.
As for doors, there were plenty. Finding interesting doors anywhere in Europe is like shooting fish in a barrel. One gets to be highly selective. Here are just a few taken inside the city hall. I’ll be revisiting this magnificent building and its exterior doors another time.
Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.