Les Pennes, Lou Mirabeou

Festival Lou Mirabeou
Les Pennes-Mirabeau (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region)

an outdoor family escape in the heart of the Middle Ages through living history displays, demonstrations, shows, and a great crafts market. An unforgettable weekend along the streets of a lively charming old village where the medieval spirit still persists…

Geographical, cultural and historical context

Les Pennes-Mirabeau is located in the Alpes de Haute Provence department, in southern France, at about 20km from Aix en Provence, 17km from Marseille, and 10km from the international airport of Marseille-Provence Marignane. The town consists of the modern district with its vast commercial and industrial area along the Aix-Marseille-Marignane motorway, and the old village, slightly elevated in a picturesque site above an isolated hillside, with its little square, the church, the windmill, two castles, and, last but not least, a vast panoramic view over a country of limestone hills and valleys and in the distance the sea. Les Pennes-Mirabeau heritage includes the old village with important medieval and modern remains, such as the Castle of Vento sheltering the old town hall, and the 17th century mill of Pallières located at the top of the old village.

The history of Les Pennes-Mirabeau dates back to the third century BC when the first settlers built two strategically well-located oppida (large fortified Iron Age settlements): the oppidum de la Cloche and the oppidum de Teste-Nègre, overlooking the plain of Marignane at about 2,5 km from the modern town centre. The full Romanization of the area brought the establishment of a flourishing Roman settlement as witnessed by several archaeological finds. After the decay following the fall of the Roman Empire and the raids by the Barbarians and the Saracens, the town experienced a rebirth in the Middle Ages, after the creation of the Kingdom of Provence in 855. The town rose again around a stronghold, while the oldest title mentioning the Penne dates from 1022. Over centuries Les Pennes-Mirabeau changed hands several times, falling to the Lord of Les Baux in the 14tth century, and later to the House of Luxembourg in the late 15th century.

Event description and programme

Every year, in May or early June, Les Pennes-Mirabeau hosts a great medieval festival, “Lou Mirabeou”, making the whole old town cheered up with the colours, sounds and scents of the Middle Ages thanks to a crafts village and market and an historical camp. The event, which is organized since 2004 by the association “La Porte des Etoiles” and the Town Council, has become over time quite popular and appreciated, attracting several thousands of visitors. Some numbers of the past festivals: 35.000 visitors, 550 participants in period costumes, and 110 exhibitors from all over France and Europe. Key success of the festival and its notoriety is due to the partnership between the municipality, the craftsmen, the companies, the sponsors and the many volunteers.

Historical reenactors, skilled craftspeople, talented musicians and acrobats take adults and children in a very immersive and interactive time travel experience. The medieval market hosting a hundred artisans with their stalls provides a charming setting and a superb display of good and delicacies, thanks to its particularly neat, colourful and lively reconstruction, the many workshops and demonstration of their know-how. Besides, the artisans are subjected to a rigorous selection, offer for sale only quality products that respect the medieval theme. While visiting the large medieval camp the visitors have the chance to meet and interact with many historical characters, such as maiden, knights, peasants, acrobats, fire-eaters, and to discover the civilian and military daily life of the period. The rich programme includes demonstrations of fighting techniques, games of old times, medieval cuisine as well, an educational farm with animal shows, knights’ tournament, medieval animations with period theatre, music and dance performances, and several leisure and educational activities especially tailored for the children.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Association "La Porte des Etoiles" 
Address: 1469 Chemin du pas de la mue Vallon la Cardeline Villa l’Estello, 13170 Les Pennes Mirabeau, France
Tel.: +33 442029182, +33 612770896
E-mail: laportedesetoiles@wanadoo.fr
Web: http://www.laportedesetoiles.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaPortedesEtoilesOfficiel/

Les Pennes-Mirabeau Town Council / La Ville des Pennes-Mirabeau
Address: Hôtel de Ville B.P. 28, 13758 Les Pennes Mirabeau, France
Tel.: +33 0969362412
E-mail: culture@vlpm.com
Web: http://www.pennes-mirabeau.org/

Provence Web Guide Touristique de la Provence et de la Côte d'Azur
Address: Chemin Peratier, 83890 Besse sur Issole, France
Tel.: +33 0494596233
E-mail: leroi@provenceweb.fr
Web : www.provenceweb.fr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/provenceweb

Image: La Porte des Etoiles
Text sources: La Porte des Etoiles, La Ville des Pennes-Mirabeau, Wikipedia, Provence Web


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