Festival of the Giants – Douai

Every year during July the people of Douai take to the streets wielding giant effigies of folk characters forming the annual Gayant festival. The Five main giants are carried around the streets with  music to the delight of the crowds. The tallest, Monsieur Gayant, is 8.5 m high and weighs 370 kg. Madame Gayant is 6.25 m tall and weighs 250 kg. Their three children Jacquot, Fillon and Binbin, are respectively 3 m, 2.8 m and 2.2 m. The parents take 6 men to carry them around, the children only require 3 people. The family Gayant are accompanied by the towns other  ‘géants’ forming part of France’s biggest ‘giant festival’ that includes about 100 massive effigies of characters from local legends

The festival originated in 1530 the children did not appear until 1720. Banned by the Church in 1770, the festival started again in 1801. The modern costumes were designed in 1821.
Don’t forget your Gayantines’, sweets at the festival. Named after the giants who appear on the packaging the sweets have a milk-caramel shell and are filled with a soft butter or caramel paste in a vanilla or chicory flavour.

Douai is located near the junction of the A1/E17 and the N455, about 165 km (about 2 hrs) from Le Touquet via the A26.

When: 4 – 20 Jul 2009 (annual)
Where: Douai
Cost: Free
Opening Hours: Parade 3pm; celebrations all day

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