Fête des Rois party – ITI bulletin May–June 2010

Mike Hanson reports from the
French Network’s Fête des Rois
celebration in Birmingham
on 6 March

Two months might have elapsed
since the snow forced the
postponement of our Fête des Rois,
but this event had not gone stale.
Quite the opposite: the cakes and tarts
were delicious, the wine flowed freely, and everyone said what a good party it was.

Birmingham is certainly easy to get to, and people had travelled from London, Bristol, Yorkshire, Manchester and beyond to be there. These days, the city’s most iconic structure is probably the futuristic Bull Ring shopping centre, but there is also plenty of heritage on offer in the city centre, and the building hosting our party (the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre) was worth a visit in itself. The impressive frontage, high ceilings and oak panelling suggested that it had a lot of history to tell. We were in a function room upstairs from the pub, and in addition to the usual doors to be found in such places, marked ‘Ladies’, ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Private’, there was one carrying the intriguing sign ‘Theatre’, and I now wish I’d satisfied my curiosity by pushing it open…

So thank you to the organisers, Mireille Bord and Emmanuelle Jeannot, who must have been anxiously watching the weather forecast in the preceding days, but in the end were surely pleased with the outcome. Special congratulations are also due to Mathilde Gervais: not only did her traditional northern galette des rois win her the Grand concours de galettes des rois et de tartes, first prize being a copy of The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris, but also her son Adrien won the Beautiful Baby Competition.

French Network egroup members can find more pictures of this event by clicking on the link to Flikr posted by Paul Appleyard on 7 March (not available externally).

Last year’s Fête des Rois party in London was also memorable, and I for one hope this will become a French Network tradition, in the same way that the German Network holds its annual party in the run-up to Christmas.