Cher, Centre-Val de Loire
In the heart of Berry, Aubigny, a royal town, became Scottish land for 250 years, offered by Charles VII as a reward for Scottish support to the French crown. Marie Stuart would have liked to attend the Franco-Scottish Festivals which commemorate the town’s past each year and give rise, in July, to the sound of bagpipes at the foot of the Stuarts’ castle
© Piranga Vibes Photographers
Though Aubigny-sur-Nère is known for its medieval past, today it draws visitors with its Scottish festival, which has become an unmissable cultural and patrimonial event. The festival’s origins can be found in the small town’s rich past. In 1423, King Charles VII of France granted the lands of Aubigny to John Stuart of Darnley, Constable of the Scottish Army, to thank him for helping fight the English. The Stewarts having held onto Aubigny until 1672, it bears many traces of the Scottish family’s passage, from timber-framed houses and a local pipe band, to whisky and an “Auld Alliance” lily. Every year, Franco-Scottish festivals celebrate this friendship, the “oldest alliance in the world,” according to Charles de Gaulle. For three days in mid-July, Scotland’s colours fly over the town. Bagpipes, a medieval Scottish market, concerts, historical parades, medieval games, Highlander encampments and feasts are all part of the fun. And of course, wearing a kilt is a must!