Avenue du Champagne illuminated with light displays of various sorts for the Friday and Saturday night of the weekend-long Habits de Lumiere festival in Epernay. As you strolled down the avenue champagne houses on either side flaunted stunning light displays. Short films and visuals were projected onto the facade of the Town Hall and the office of the region’s champagne association, two beautiful, grand old buildings.
A huge eccentrically decorated whale kite slowly ‘swam’ it’s way down the avenue floating high above the crowd of 40 000 wandering up and down the street. At times it floated high up to residents watching the festivities in the street below from their balconies, close enough to be reached out and touched. Colourful fish, a huge lobster and a snake followed. The lobster and snake even started a ‘battle’ in the middle of the parade – well as much of a ‘battle’ two giant balloons can have, mostly it was just a lot of slow paced bumping with lights flashing and a smoke machine, but very entertaining all the same.
We watched from various marquees set up in the front gardens of most of the champagne houses along the street. Each selling glasses and bottles of their produce. We huddled next to the outdoor heaters and polished off our bottle of bubbles before moving onto the next champagne house to do the same.
On the Saturday the small town famous for champagne, showed it can do food too. Opposite a colourful and extensive farmers market, a marquee held presentations by chefs and catering groups and culinary activities for kids. The lights and festivities continued that night, but unfortunately ended quite early. They started packing down the light display even before 10 pm, two nights of festivities must’ve been too much for the usually quiet town with a residential population of less than 30 000. It was a great sight, seeing everyone at the end of the night walking around town with empty champagne glasses in hand, a souvenir of the night’s festivities.
Early Sunday morning old Rolls Royces, Citroen 2CVs and Beetles rolled into town for the Vintage Car Show, the last event on the festival’s program. Vintage car enthusiasts wandered through the hundreds of cars on display in pure delight and showed off their own prized possessions.