Festival of Giants “Gayants” – an Extraordinary Few Days with a Summery Carnival Atmosphere!
Each year Douai, France is home to the world’s tallest festival: The Festival of Giants.
A Giant Celebration
The Festival of Giant’s is usually held in the last week of June or the first week of July, this festival draws in thousands of visitors and fans of the Gayants. The festival’s inclusion of these sky high giants are a part of the “Gayant Family”. Monsieur Gayant is the tallest giant, topping off at 28 feet high and maxing out at 815 pounds. Dating back to 9th century traditions, the modern day Festival of Giants is anything but new. The History of Giants The Festival of Giants was initially created as a way to showcase the family of Gayants. The Gayants were created by artisans and craftspeople during the Age of Exploration and the Renaissance. The giants of today are created by a team of artists that work each year to maintain the structure and stature of each character. It is believed by most of the city people that the Gayant family are monarchies that come out to the festival annually to greet their subjects and meet their adoring public. It is tradition for festival gatherers to kiss baby BinBin for good luck. The Giant Experience The Festival of Giants is three days of carnival processions, a lot of dancing, great fun and much more. The Gayant family is the centerpiece of the Festival of Giants. Including Monsieur, the festival also features his wife Marie Cagenon, and the ir three offspring, Jacquot, Fillon, and the baby Binbin. Monsieur was created in the image of a real life lord, Jehon Gelon, who rose to fame in the 9th century. The great thing about attending the Festival of Giants is that you’re very much a part of a culture and tradition that is not showcased and celebrated anywhere other than Douai, France! This festival is literally the TALLEST celebration in ANY part of the world. The Events of Festival of Giants With three full days of non stop partying, events, and costumed fun, the Festival of Giants will no doubt be one of the best times of your life and different from all other festivals around the world. Many festival goers take this festival quite seriously, so don’t be afraid to get a little patriotic yourself. Wear the costumes, dancing in the streets and cheer for the Gayant family! Festival Pricing and Costs Festival of Giants is free to watch if you just want to see the parade.That being said, the festival is can get incredibly expensive fairly quickly. Each year Festival of Giants promotes opulent and elegant parties even more, sometimes charging over 2000 euros per event. However, the average Festival of Giants does run about 300 euros. Pick and choose wisely which balls you would like to attend so you don’t end up breaking the bank. In addition to costumes and tickets, you will mostly be spending a lot of money on airfare, accommodations, dining, and travel as you make your way through France. First Timers at Festival of Giants
So it’s your first visit to France for Festival of Giants? You’re in store for a great time learning about art, history and French traditions. Before arriving into France, you’re going to want to prepare a little for your trip. Have the places you want to visit already planned out so you can have a general schedule to follow throughout your trip. A lot of people like to participate in the parade and dress up in their own costumes. If you would like to, do a little research and find or create an outfit to wear. When you arrive in France, give yourself some time to rest before heading out for Festival of Giants festivities! When heading out on the town, try to find a group to stay with in case you get lost or just want to make some new friends. What to Wear to Festival of Giants The best carnival celebration does indeed take place in Douai, France. Festival of Giants goes all out for its annual celebration, and you should too. The first step is to take a look at photos of past festivals to get a feel for what everyone else will be wearing. Feel free to go all out when dressing for Festival of Giants. Wear costumes in honor of the festival, the parades, and the Gayant family! Whether you decide to try for a more traditional look or not, use your creativity! Many people will be dressed in patriotic garb, putting great pride into their outfits. You should do the same. Keep in mind as you trek to and through France, you need to have a variety of outfits. It’s a good idea to bring different costumes for different parts of the day. When it comes to shoes, you will want to be comfortable as you will be doing a lot of walking. However, if they are visible under your costume, take care to make sure they are presentable and that they go with your outfit. Bring outfits that aren’t costumes as well, in case you want to go out later in the evenings. Getting to the Festival of Giants Depending on where you’re coming from, there are several places to find cheaper flights to France. As soon as you decide that you’d like to head to France to celebrate Festival of Giants, grab your plane tickets as early as possible! Grabbing a flight into France isn’t really that difficult. Next, when booking accommodations in the city, check out local hotels, boats, and houses that are up for rent. Whatever you do, book in advance! If you’re staying all ten days, you’ll find it easiest to grab a nearby hotel. Staying at a place that is in walking distance of all the main celebrations is a great idea. You’ll be traveling through the festivities on foot a lot, so if you are staying in the middle of it all, you’ll be in the best position for traveling. Search online for the cheapest rates and try to find rooms that have traditional architecture so you can learn even more during your stay. If you plan to stay at Festival of Giants for just one or a few days, maybe consider booking a hotel in on of the major areas near Douai so you can prepare to see other areas in the surrounding cities before you have to leave the country. Most attendees that stay for the entire festival book accommodations near the city center as to ensure they are within walking distance of the festival. Tips for Festival of Giants When you’re heading to Festival of Giants be prepared. If you don’t buy your tickets and book your hotels soon enough, you will end up spending A LOT of money. Additionally, you will want to be sure that your passport is renewed several months in advance as the process is time consuming. Do your best to find out as much information on the Festival of Giants before heading over there to see it for yourself. Get a detailed look at all of the festivities just to make sure you are prepared and understand the basic traditions. Try to get to understand the Gayant family a bit more if you are unsure about their place in the festival. Along with preparing your documents for travel you’ll need your money changed. Try to convert some of your currency beforehand so you will be prepared incase you need it. The most important thing you can bring along with you is an open mind that is ready for new experiences! Places to Visit While You’re in Douai While you’re visiting Douai for Festival of Giants, do take time to see the rest of France. Try to book at least an extra few days or a weekend to have a chance to take all the sites in. Many visitors that come to town just for the festival make it a point to stop by all the most treasured sites and attractions in the city. Be sure to visit one of France’s most treasured 12th centruy religious landmarks, Église Notre-Dame, translated to Our Lady’s Church. While you’re visiting popular tourist areas, be sure to stop by St. Peter’s Collegiate Church for a look into the city’s academic past. You’ll regret traveling all the way to Douai without visiting the Oral Coast. Grab a cab and head to the the Côte d’Opale. Though it is a 90 minute drive, the trip to this beautiful beach is well worth it. In addition to touring the city, be sure to eat at all the best restaurants in town. Take a tour of all the traditional food and tasty dishes that Douai has to offer. So whether you have been to France before or not, Festival of Giants is a festival you’re going to want to check out soon!
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