Puppets and poetry

  • Puppet show

    Puppet show

    © Patrick Argiraki

  • Puppet show

    Puppet show

    © Philippe Mangen

  • Puppet show

    Puppet show

    © Bruno Gouhoury

  • © Bruno Gouhoury

Puppets and poetry Charleville-Mézières fr

Another destination that can be easily reached by train from Paris is Charleville-Mézières, located 85 km north-east of Reims in the French Ardennes. Named after the bustling market town of Charleville and the nearby military stronghold of Mézières, which were joined together in 1966, the town offers surprising architectural variety. Its centrepiece is the Place Ducale, twin sister of the Place des Vosges in Paris, lined with arcades, cafés and boutiques.

This is the world capital of puppet theatre. The national institute of Puppets and the National School of Puppet Arts, located at Charleville-Mézières, provide training for the great puppeteers of tomorrow. Not to be missed is the great puppet clock called 'le Grand Marionnettiste' which stands 10 metres high. On the hour, each hour, little puppets appear on the stage below the clock face to play out a scene from the famous local legend, the Four Sons of Aymon. Every two year, the town hosts the World Festival of Puppet Theatre, show-casing the world's top puppet artists from all over the globe. For the 10 days of the festival, the whole town is transformed into a colourful and lovely showcase with performances taking place in all kinds of venues: halls, gymnasiums, streets and courtyards. The festival embraces all forms from puppet art, from the traditional to the post-modern, from shadows to bunraku, from the miniature creation to the giant.

The town is also the birthplace of the enigmatic boy-poet, Arthur Rimbaud, whose hallucinatory prose-poems are said to rank among the glories of 19th century French literature (New York Times). Next year - 2016 - will mark the 125th anniversary of Rimbaud's death and in anticipation of the commemorations of one of France’s most famous and charismatic artists, the Rimbaud Museum will be re-opening its doors to the public from the summer of 2015 following a major refurbishment. The Museum is housed within a striking building on a small island on the River Meuse. It will now not simply tell the story of the life and times of Arthur Rimbaud, but will also feature an ‘island garden’ where visitors can soak up a reflective atmosphere.




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