I just returned from the Retour des Alpages festival today in Annecy. I managed to take more pictures than last year, though I didn’t see much of the parade from where I was standing. Once again, I was constantly reminded why I hate being in Annecy when it is really crowded. Usually it’s the little kids who drive me crazy, but today it was the old people. They are vicious when it comes to being in the front row for a parade! Haven’t they seen this parade like 50 times already anyway? Why not let the young people stand in front? Anyway…
This festival commemorates the end of the summer grazing period for the dairy herds in the mountains, so the farmers symbolically bring the animals home for the winter by parading them through the streets of Annecy. Mountain life and Savoy pride are very evident in this festival – Savoy meaning the départements of Savoie & Haute-Savoie in France, the Geneva region of Switzerland and the Aoste valley in Italy which were part of the original Savoy centuries ago before it was annexed to France in 1860 from the Kingdom of Sardinia. And because Savoy was the last mainland area to be added to the nation of France, there are still some separatist groups who believe Savoy should not belong to the Rhône-Alpes région and even some who believe that Savoy should not belong to France.
I have to admit, there are some days where I think I live in Savoy, not France. I see Savoy flags everywhere, which are very similar to the Swiss flag and I feel like I’m actually in Switzerland instead. I’ve always associated the Alps more with Switzerland than France, but I suppose that’s because my stereotypical image of France is more Paris vs. Provence than anything else. I know regional pride exists everywhere in France, from Brittany to Alsace, but in terms of years, Savoyards are the least French of them all.
Swiss horn-blowers provide the music.
I love cows because they give us CHEESE!!!
Let’s start the parade with horses.
Let’s interrupt the parade with an ambulance.
Let’s throw hay on everyone.
Thank goodness for zoom.
He’s not very happy.
These poor cows…
I was told these are Slovakian dancers from our sister city, Liptovský Mikuláš. They were adorable!
I didn’t get any photos of the geese, goats, sheep or any other animal in the parade, but I did get swan vs. dog.
If you haven’t already heard, Annecy is a candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This huge banner will probably be there for the next ten years to remind you.
It was a gorgeous day in Annecy, sunny and 70′s. But the trees and I are ready for fall.