A bodice ripping time..........
When I heard we would be dressing up in costumes for the New France Festival in Quebec City last summer, I had the reaction of every right-thinking Brit. Oh my God, how embarrassing. I suspect the Canadian equivalent is "What fun, we're going to have a GREAT time!"
Nevertheless I gritted my teeth and tightened my bodice. Little did I know that this would be the best part of the festival - swanning around in outfits with tourists taking pictures of US. I got so used to it that by the next day, sans long blue dress, I kept wondering why no-one wanted my photo.
Dressing as seventeenth century nobility does have it's drawbacks though. Some of our party complained their bodices had been laced too tight while the men felt their garters were beginning to stop blood flow. The Fete de la Nouvelle France is held in Quebec City for five days every August to celebrate the heyday of New France, a time before the English tried to ruin everything.
But the atmosphere is completely friendly - part theme-park, part historical restoration. There are noblewomen eating burgers, native indians on their cellphones and voyageurs with video cameras. One in ten of the 30,000 visitors dresses up and it's all taken very seriously. Locals make their own costumes. You can rent your own from the many costume stores (prices start at $50).
Actors are recruited to appear in the streets as characters from the period. There are pirates, artisans, village idiots and washerwomen aplenty giving on the spot dramatic reconstructions among the crowds. There was even an inexplicable Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike setting many a noblewoman's heart a flutter.
This summer the New France Festival is from August 4-8 and you could not find a better reason to visit Quebec City. If you're British expect to be embarrassed and if you're Canadian, hey you're going to have such fun!
|Locals love to dress up.|
Watch my two minute film here.......
For more info on the New France Festival go to..