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Avignon festival in October?

While visiting Avignon in October, 2013 we observed hundreds of marchers entering the old walled city area going to the square outside the Palace of the Popes. These marchers, men and women, were all dressed in medieval costumes complete with bows, swords, battleaxes, pikes and banners marching to drums or flutes. We were unable to find out the reason for the gathering and what goes on beyond the arrival of the marchers, as we had to depart Avignon that afternoon.

Does anyone know the origin and meaning of this march?

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I once saw a similar festival going on by the river's edge with costumed men in boats trying to ram each other with long, but padded, poles. Can't remember the time of year. I recommend an e-mail question to the very helpful Avignon civic tourism authority