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    February 2023
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    Waiting for the Scottish bagpipes in Aubigny-sur-Nère…


    Aubigny-sur-Nère teddy bears Tourist Office © 2010 Scotiana

    Aubigny-sur-Nère teddy bears Tourist Office © 2010 Scotiana

    As it has been the case for twenty-two years now, the Scottish-French festivities are going to take place in Aubigny-sur Nère on the 14th of July. The whole town will again resound cheerfully with music, cries of joy, and the clatter of horses’ hooves as if to awaken from their long sleep the French and Scottish ghosts of our glorious past. Don’t be afraid if, in the middle of the night, you happen to fall on the old castle’s ghost. Quentin, that’s his name, is a very kind (and learned) sort of ghost 😉


    Aubigny-sur-Nère main street © 2010 Scotiana

    Aubigny-sur-Nère main street © 2010 Scotiana

    Banners must be floating in the wind there for the weather is not so fine presently and the old houses must be covered in flowers for Aubigny is a four-flower winner at the Concours des Villes et Villages fleuris.

    We’ll be there from the beginning to the end of the festivities this year (up to the fireworks), lost amid the crowd with our cameras, watching and listening to the very popular spectacle we’ve been waiting for such a long time…

    Aubigny-sur-Nère Scottish-French festivities the Scottish pipe-band and the leading boy © 2011 Scotiana

    The Aubigny Scottish pipe-band and its leading boy at the Scottish-French festivities © 2011 Scotiana

    There will be many pipe bands coming from different countries to celebrate the Scottish-French festivities in Aubigny-sur-Nère, some of them from Scotland!

    And guess what! The festivities will begin with the avant-première of the new and much expected 3D animation movie, Pixar’s Brave, produced by Disney. We’ve already booked our places at ‘the Atomic cinema’ 😉

    Teaser Poster of Disney Pixar film Brave - Source Wikipedia

    Teaser Poster of Disney Pixar film Brave - Source Wikipedia

    Brave is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
    In Brave, set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late.
    Announced in April 2008 as ‘The Bear and the Bow’, Brave is Pixar’s first fairy tale, and is somewhat darker and more mature in tone than its previous films. Brenda Chapman considers it as a fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

    Source: Wikipedia

    We’re are eager to follow the adventures of so colourful character in a very inspiring and atmospheric Scottish setting. I feel like a child about to open a beautifully illustrated and fascinating book of tales 😉

    And I fell in love with the new page of visitscotland inspired by the film. Look ! It’s quite magical !

    After the cinema, it will be time to go to the Tatto which will begin with a parade of the Pipe Bands in the streets of Aubigny, directed by Drum Major Peter Mac Namee.

    Below are the names of the Pipe Bands which will parade in the Aubigny festivities. We didn’t see many of them last year for we arrived too late. But I perfectly remember the Auld Alliance Pipe Band, the Askol ha Brug, the 92nd North Fox Pipe Band and the Banda de Gaïtas de Galicia… and we hope to discover many more this year. It will also be an opportunity to test our knowledge of tartans, which is not very good actually ;-).

    The following day, there will be a historical parade in the streets of Aubigny with mediaeval groups and no less than a hundred of people dressed in ancient costumes. They will play little scenes, historical retrospectives, with the participation of Quentin the ghost, Jean Stuart de Darnley and Joan of Arc (this year we celebrate the 600th birth anniversary of our national heroïn who has remained so young in our imaginary).

    It would be much too long here to give you the rich and detailed programme of Aubigny’s 2012 festivities so I invite you to download the pdf if you are interested.


    Eiffel Tower fireworks on July14th BastileDay 2005 Wikipedia

    Eiffel Tower fireworks on July14th BastileDay 2005 Wikipedia

    The 14th of July is our National Day in France. It celebrates the ‘Prise de la Bastille’, in Paris, on 14 July 1789 in the name of ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’…

    But what would have been of our nation if, nearly four centuries before the French revolution, our Scottish friends and allies, had not landed at La Rochelle in the year 1419 to help us fight against the invading English armies!

    Bad times in France then, since the terrible defeat at Azincourt in 1415 and few hopes for our nation to be saved for the French King Charles VI had become mad and his 18-year old son, the dauphin Charles, the future king Charles VII, had fled at his uncle’s house at Bourges…

    With the help of the duke of Burgundy, the English were about to conquer the kingdom of Charles VI.

    But it was without allowing for the Auld Alliance treaty…

     Statue of Jeanne d'Arc in Orléans © 2011 Scotiana

    Statue of Jeanne d'Arc, Place du Martroi, in Orléans © 2011 Scotiana

    …not forgetting our national heroïn Joan of Arc, ‘The Maid of Orléans’, who rose the flag of rebellion to the peril of her life and much contributed to save the kingdom of France. After her capture in 1430,  she was tried for heresy, sentenced to death and burnt Place du Vieux-Marché in Rouen on 30 May 1431.

     John Stuart died just when, in Vaucouleurs in Lorraine, a young shepherdess was about to set off on her journey, to fullfill her inspired mission, that of delivering Orléans, of getting the young King crowned in Reims and of “ousting” the English out of the Kingdom. She reached Chinon on the 6th March 1429. What followed is well known: the siege of Orléans came to an end on the 8 th of May, and was followed by the campaign on the banks of the Loire and the “Chevauchée du Sacre” (the ‘Annointing of the King’s Cavalcade’) (17th July). The sacrifice of the Scots had not been in vain.

    (Museum of the Old French-Scottish Alliance “Auld Alliance” bilingual booklet)

    Aubigny-sur-Nère coat of arms © 2010 Scotiana

    Aubigny-sur-Nère The Stuart and Lennox coat of arms © 2010 Scotiana

    The Hundred Years war ended a long time ago but the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland is more vivid than ever in France, and more especially in Aubigny-sur-Nère…

    Hôtel de ville Stuart-Castle Aubigny-sur-Nère 'City of the Stuarts' Berry France

     None other than the old Berry, and most specifically the old “Château” of Aubigny-sur-Nère, abode of the Stuart family since the XVth century, is more likely to evoke the Auld Alliance, the immemorial alliance of the two countries, “which was not written on a ewe skin parchment but was engraved on the living flesh and skin of men, traced not in ink but in blood”, to quote the words of Alain Chartier, French poet and diplomat of the XVth century. 

    (Museum of the Old French-Scottish Alliance “Auld alliance” bilingual booklet)

    Aubigny-sur-Nère Auld Alliance Memorial stone © 2010 Scotiana

    The monument and memorial stone (a Scottish stone) erected just in front of the Castle and the Auld Alliance library are very moving…

    Aubigny-sur-Nère church and half-timbered houses © 2010 Scotiana

    Since the XVthe century, Aubigny-sur-Nère has lived with a Scottish time keeper.

    The Château of Aubigny, which was rebuilt during the first half of the XVIth century by Robert Stuart, known as “the Marshal of Aubigny”, had a bell which claimed every hour by means of a clock mechanism.

    (Museum of the Old French-Scottish Alliance “Auld alliance” bilingual booklet)

    We’re eager to walk again in the picturesque streets of Aubigny-sur-Nère, to admire the beautiful half-timbered mediaeval houses, while the old clock offered to the town by a Stuart will ring the hours…



    Camping des Etangs Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2010 Scotiana

    And also quite eager to plant our little tent in the magnificent camping ‘Les étangs‘  😉

    A bientôt.



     Teddy Bear from the Tourist Office of Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2012 Scotiana

    One of the teddy bears we've adopted from the Tourist Office of Aubigny-sur Nère © 2012 Scotiana



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