Retour des Alpages

Every second Saturday in October there is a festival called Retour des Alpages.  It honors a tradition dating back to the middle ages when shepherds and cowherds would bring their animals from the high mountain pastures, “alpages”, to the spend the winter months in barns.  It also marks the end of the harvest season and the entire Vieille Ville is filled with booths of people selling crafts, food, and drink.  There are also several performances of music.  The highlight of the day is a parade through the cobblestone streets with people in traditional costumes, horse or dog-drawn carriages, St. Bernard dogs with barrels around their necks (dream come true!), sheep, and geese.  Yes, these poor geese had to walk a fairly long parade route, waddling along with ribbons around their necks!  The parade route went right past my apartment but we wouldn’t get the best viewing advantage from my balcony so we watched from a nearby corner.  I love this sort of community stuff that involves animals, plus the historic setting can’t be beat.  My friend Karyn flew down from Amsterdam, she loves this stuff too.  The cows are the stars of the parade and they come last.  They had flowers and tree bough wreaths on.  By this time my iPhone camera died but Karyn took lots of pics. Unfortunately the weather didn’t totally cooperate but we still had a great time.  Except for the part where I got stepped on my a sheep.


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