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Of Cardboard and Eccentricities: The Festival in Avignon

Celebrating in the streets during the festival in Avignon, France

We have arrived at the Festival of the End of the World in Avignon.

We’ve finally done our undoing, and unlike my predictions it wasn’t because we elected the “Screaming Cheeto”, as my mom likes to call him, into office; we’ve heated the world to an inviable temperature.

The heat quietly lulls us to sleep, but then we toss and turn and fight the feeling of suffocating in the stagnant air. We are all covered in the tiny pink bumps of heat rash.

End of the world graffiti

But, alas, this is a celebration!

Cardboard ads for this or that upcoming Festival event hang on every outdoor surface. The people are celebrating in the sticky streets: a guru dressed in an orange robe sits mysteriously floating atop a pole held carefully by his friend below; a busking puppeteer silently twists her face into contorted expressions as she interacts with the puppet-doll on her lap; people line up to receive massages in the main square before indulging in their chosen final meal and the only thing palatable in this heat: ice cream.

People getting massages in the street in Avignon

It’s a wonderful celebration, with bands rattling off brass tunes in the distance and children riding the carousel of early 20th-century origins whilst dissolving cotton candy on their tongues.

In late evening, the sun finally relieves us of the worst of its grip and the loose cardboard posters along all the buildings and lamp posts blow in the hot breeze. It’s late – too late for us all – but the party is just getting started.

Walking through an alleyway in Avignon

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