Although the Fête de la Sainte Barbe is a French holiday more commonly celebrated in the regions of Alsace and Provence, this year it brings festivities to Paris as well. At Les Invalides, the location of the country’s army museum, a grand show is planned for the Sainte Barbe holiday. Visitors should note, however, that instead of taking place on the holiday’s traditional date, the show will take place on the 7th and 8th of December 2013. On each day the show will begin at 2:30 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.
In this way, guests staying at the Hôtel Louvre Marsollier can experience several military exercises at a beautiful Parisian monument that no visitor should miss. Sainte Barbe’s day is especially important at the army museum because Barbe is the patron saint of artillerymen. As such, students of the prestigious artillery school of Draguignan will come to show their unique talents.
This year, the spotlight is on battles from yesteryear — most notably that of Indochina, where the French army had a significant presence in the late 19th century and early 20th century. This ties in with the army museum’s current exhibition on the French Indochinese empire and the battles waged during that era. The exhibit has a somber tone, but the Sainte Barbe shows will perhaps raise spirits with an impressive display of skill and prowess.
During the shows, artillerymen will dress up in period garb and maneuver cannons pulled by horses as the school’s military band plays behind them. Several periods will be represented with different demonstrations of maneuvers and army equipment from the Napoleonic age to present. After the shows, the audience will be invited to see the equipment up close and speak with the artillerymen in an educational exchange that will please any history buff.