Arnage is a suburb of Le Mans, fairly heavily industrialised. It has a residential quarter where they traditionally hold a carnival parade this time of year. Our little band of flute students teamed up with some local players, and we took part in the parade. It was a little cold, being March, but a good time was had by all.
Carnival parades in England are, in my experience, light-hearted, but well-organised and managed. This one seemed to be more on towards the pantomime end of the scale, but no-one cared. There were bands of musicians playing anything from traditional music to snatches of Led Zeppelin, people dressed as witches (the theme of the event), stilt walkers, people juggling flaming torches, lots of ballons, traditional costumes, and goodwill.
I have not participated in this event before, so I'm having to rely on information that was passed to me, but apparently the parade this year didn't weave in and out of the side streets as it usually does, because the anti-terrorist security would have been too difficult to manage. I'm also told that many similar events in the region have been cancelled since the concrete barriers now required are too expensive for many small towns' budgets.
There's a big music festival held annually at Bais, not far from us, with multiple performing bands, street musicians, food and wine, all taking over the town centre. I have played there a couple of times. The fate of this event is being currently debated, as they are pricing up the anti-terrorist security.