This Saturday we visited Les Accroche Coeurs Festival in Angers, France and fell completely in love with it! It’s fun, playful, anarchistic and creative. And devilishly well organised!
A leaflet picked up at the tourist office trickled our attention and we gave it a shot. The theme this year was “The Apocalypse” and very apropos, as the famous Apocalypse Tapestry is displayed in the imposing Chateau Angers, which offered free admission.
Placed at prominent places around the city we found large programmes, announcing the events of the weekend and we walked towards Place du Ralliement, the heart of Angers. Here we found the theatre in the centre of interwoven, white plastic threads, symbolising both the weaving process itself ( a nod to the tapestry) as well as upcycling, as the plastic threads were alle from re-used plastic and given new life. A life, that would be white at day and lighted up in the evening and nighttime to create an artistic light installation.
The square buzzed with life and we followed movement of the crowd down towards Place de la Poissonnerie. On the way we encountered the fairy tale and ethereal parade of FierS à Cheval, with its horses made of light, white fabric that recreates a mane in movement and tail in turmoil. It was like stumbling upon a herd of unicorns inside a bustling city.
The horses drew away from us and the crowd followed. We continued our walk down towards the river and marvelled at Ulik Robotik; a show where a drummer is attached to a giant robot arm with a huge drum in the end and swung around while banging the drum. A quick bite in the Village de Saveurs, where the cutest food stalls, all with different themes, provides food and drink.
Everywhere we looked, there was some art installation or part of the city, that was highlighted in a different way. The old bridge had small sails attached, that made it look like a Da Vinci creation. Banners in the street of the other side of the river hang lazy and colourful in the lovely weather. The river pier, Quai des Carmes, was alive with stages, food stalls, music, street performance and people. We could sense, that the expected 200.000 visitors had not been an exageration.
We stayed and watched Mario, Queen of the circus, do a part circus part karaoke performance with lots of charm, balance and humor! Unfortunately the cabaret we had aimed for, was packed with people and weren’t letting any more in. We went for a bite before we touched ground at Place Saint Eloi for Les Amants du Ciel, a wonderful theatre up (!) on the side of the church, where the suspended artists cast amazing shadows on the church wall.
It was dark now, and the Place du Ralliement was beautifully highlighted with the interwoven threads looking like light beams, slowly changing colour and creating a wonderful space for the festival.
We weren’t quite finished, though. Heading down towards the river once more we caught up with the crazy, anarchistic, Victorian steampunk parade that was Firebirds. Ingenious machines what could have been just as home in a Mad Max movie as in the streets of Angers. People, that were dressed like pirates, rococo ladies, draculas, Pierrot and Victorian gentlemen were part of the spectacle, driving the crazy bikes and machines or playing some wild jazz music, that perfected the sound curtain of the parade.
The crowd was insatiable, almost running after the parade and everyone were just as fascinated with the weird and wild ensemble, no matter their age. Young and old watched the spectacle with childlike joy and amazement, and as the parade continued over the bridge, we continued our walk along the riverside, away from the Festival.
Behind us the wild jazz played on, people cheered and the festival continued to astonish the young at heart.
If you’re visiting Angers, don’t miss another devilishly good experience at Cointreau, where you’ll sample the orange-flavoured liqueur after an informative tour.