The Fiddler’s Festival or the Pfifferdaj is one of the most entertaining, weird, and downright offbeat things to do in France each September! Attending this festival in Ribeauvillé, one of the most beautiful cities in France is a must!
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France – Easy Planning Tips
Flying into France, you’ll probably at least start in Paris, so spend a couple of days here before you move on. Here’s a few Paris tours that will ensure you’ve ticked off the most important sites:
– Hop On Hop Off Tour Of Paris ($40)
– Visit the Louvre and Take a Seine Cruise ($45)
– Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles incl. Lunch ($80)
If you like doing it on your own, you may want to save money with the Paris Pass (good for transport and sightseeing for 2-6 days).
Where to Stay? There are so many great hotels in France and we love using Booking.com for the ease of comparison and finding exactly what we want.
Some items you do not want to forget while packing for your France trip:
– Sunglasses and sunscreen
– A rain jacket and umbrella
– Memory Cards for your camera
What is the Pfifferdaj or Fiddler’s Fest?
In the heart of the beautiful Alsace region of France is one of my favorite festivals! The Pfifferdaj, Minstrel’s Festival, is held on the first Sunday of September each year, has it all: medieval costumes and products, Alsatian food, a fantastic parade, wine and beer from around the region, and fun galore. It all happens on one fun-filled day.
We start off in the morning, walking down the hill to the center of town through the floats and costumed people getting their hair down and their makeup on. Many of them, already having tucked into a good wine, are further fortifying their bodies with food. It will be a few hours before they are able to relax.
There is a medieval market where you can purchase handmade products, and the townsmen are in a walled square eating a full on medieval meal of chicken and stew.
Everyone is in costume and character. They love having their photos taken, and everyone is in the highest of spirits.The jester announces the king. The king raises his goblet, and all take part in the feast before the big event.
The big event is, of course, the parade. Each year a different theme is followed, and each group interprets the medieval theme in a unique manner.
The elaborately decorated floats go in order of the story. There is a marriage, many battles, and even some aliens. It’s all very fun and all very strange.
The participants, ranging in ages from two through seventy-two are all well practiced in not smiling if their character is supposed to be fierce or morose. They stay in character the entire time, often involving the audience in their battles or shenanigans.
The costumes are amazing! Whether the character is sinister, sloppy, comedic, or just beautiful each participant carries it off like they were born to it. We ran into a young lady who is not in the ten kilometer ring of normal participants. She is in it thanks to her boyfriend who lives nearby.
She was a deer-woman with some cumbersome antlers to carry around on her head, and her boyfriend was a bear hunter. This is only her second parade, but her boyfriend had been in it for years. The locals are literally born into these roles!
After the parade is over, it ends at one of the many town fountains that becomes a wine fountain. People clamor to try the delicious fare and the party lasts well into the night.
Tips for Attending the Fiddler’s Fest
The hotels book up very early in the year in the town of Ribeauvillé, so if you plan on having a really good time (drinking that great wine) book early. However, we’ve decided to go at the last minute and always found hotels open in nearby towns. It just means you’ll have to drive. That is unless you don’t mind camping.
At the end of the parade route, there is a camping ground which costs just a few Euros per tent. It’s cheap and only a few minutes walk from town, so a great way to go.
There is a fee of 8 Euros so have your change ready. Also remember to get stamped if you are going to leave the middle of town at any time and want to return to the festivities.
- The main event is a parade, but don’t forget to check out the other things in town like the Medieval Crafts Fair. It’s all good!
- For more information you can go to this website.
Ribeauvillé is just good ol’ fun! Everyone has a great time, the planners, the vendors, the participants, and of course everyone else! It’s just a blast! If you happen to be in the Alsace region of France at the beginning of September, don’t miss it. You’ll be missing one of the best parties of your life!
What festivals have you enjoyed throughout your travels? Are there any that call you back year after year? Please tell us about them…it’s what we live for….!
Pin The Fiddler’s Fest in Ribeauvillé for later!
Saturday 23rd of January 2021
Just by fluke, on our month long ramble around eastern France in early September of 2000 we ended up in Ribeauville and found a room right on the main plaza in the centre of town. There had been a late cancellation and the hotel manager said we must make a decision immediately and must stay for 3 nights as our car would be parked in! We went for it. What an experience! Having breakfast in the hotel we overlooked the fountain and a florist was in the process of placing barrels of wine under the fountain, running tubes from them up and along the water spouts, covering the fountain bowl with netting and placing a beautiful arrangement of flowers over the whole thing. The spouts were covered with vines. We managed to get seats in the bleachers and the parade took 3 hours to pass any one spot. Being the millennial year the theme was the history of France from the dark ages, through the middle ages, the French revolution, and eventually to the future! All floats were made by the villagers and these floats put any North American parade to shame! At the end of the parade the town fountain was opened up for free glasses of wine, and I must say I had more than my share! On another trip with some friends in the fall of 2012 I prepared our itinerary and made sure we ended up staying in Ribeauville, with enough time to explore the surrounding towns on the wine route and experience the preparations for the parade as well as the actual parade itself. Different theme every year but just as well done. I'd go back another time too!
Friday 1st of September 2017
What a cool festival, I had never heard of it before! Bookmarking this, thank for sharing :) I can't wait to travel in the fall.
Saturday 2nd of September 2017
Carmen, The fall is absolutely the best time in Germany.
Thursday 31st of August 2017
This looks so cool. I've never heard of it but I'd love to attend. The little kids dressed up are so cute!
Thursday 31st of August 2017
Nathan, It's an amazing parade and festival. Everyone just has fun.
Tuesday 29th of August 2017
Miranda, It is fun. I can't recommend this festival enough..something for everyone and just plain fun!
Monday 28th of August 2017
France has SO much to offer. I feel guilty that I spent all of my French vacation in Paris and disneyland :( Too bad as I had over 2 weeks and could've seen other lovely parts. Ribeauvillé looks sooooo pretty. I love offbeat small towns and imagine seeing GOT attire on streets? so cool!
Monday 28th of August 2017
Jo, I know you would have enjoyed the entire Alsace region. It's gorgeous.