Binche, Belgium – February 2006 – Museum

To go along with the Binche Festival, they have a museum of costumes. Of particular note are the ‘Gilles’ costumes that are featured during the festival. A Gilles is Belgian/French for Clown.

The museum had an impressive collection of costumes, and was a welcome respite from the crowds outside.

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Binche, Belgium – February 2006 – Carnival

With a trip to Europe to visit our daughter who was living there for the school year, we flew from Dulles Airport in Washington to Brussels. Once we retrieved a rental car, we headed to the southwest toward France. Our first stop – Binche

The Binche Carnival occurs each year leading up to Lent, running from Sunday until Wednesday. We were there for the Sunday event, which is officially called Shrove Sunday. On this day the streets and cafés come alive with hordes of masqueraded people. The Mam’selles, men dressed in extravagant female attire, are particularly prominent on this day.

We rolled into town just early enough to find parking, and walked around for the next few hours, stopping in a few pubs along the way. We found all of the businesses had their signs under chicken wire; later we found that was because one of the events they threw orange’s at each other!

It was a fantastically strange day, how would we ever top our first day of this trip (we would soon find out how).

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