French garden appears in St George's Square for Tour de France festival

Was that really a cow and some sheep? Where did the mud and huts come from?

 

Allo, allo, allo - there was more Tour de France fun in Huddersfield this morning

Commuters heading for their trains and buses this morning could hardly believe what they were seeing as they made their way across St George’s Square.

Was that really a cow and some sheep? Where did the mud and huts come from?

It was certainly une grosse surprise de l'agriculture for a Wednesday morning!

A picture of normality on Tuesday evening, overnight St George’s Square was turned into a French rural idyll, complete with animals, flowers, fruit and vegetables plots all being tended by real  French gardeners.

How did they get there and how long will they be there? Nobody knows!

Le Phun, which is in the UK for only the second time in its 29 year history, is the grand finale of the Yorkshire Festival, the 100 day art and culture programme celebrating the Tour de France's Grand Départ.

Take a tour with our photographer Julian Hughes and his video walk around of the square.

 

Brought to Kirklees by the council and the Yorkshire Festival, Le Phun kicks off Hypervelocity – a free summer festival taking place across Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Holme.

Leader of Council, Cllr David Sheard said “When I heard about Le Phun coming to Huddersfield, I couldn’t wait to see how people would react as they came across the Square!

“Thanks to funding from the Yorkshire Festival, we’ve been able to celebrate the Grand Départ coming through our area with this humorous and unusual nod to France.

“Kirklees is renowned for being a creative centre, full of brilliantly artistic people and businesses. Our very own Festival of Light attracts thousands of people each year, but this is something quite different to anything we’ve done before.”

Adele Poppleton, Kirklees’ development manager for the creative economy, said Kirklees had been looking for a way to bring the pop-up farm to the borough for a number of years, she said: “As the race is going through so many parts of Yorkshire we wanted to something that would shine the spotlight on Huddersfield which is what we’ve done with this.”

The year five children from Shepley First School were amazed by the farm scene - teacher Sarah Mansell’s pupils were using their French skills to speak to the farmers about the animals.

Mrs Mansell said: “We got an email to say there would be a secret pop-up event and that it might be good for the modern language pupils to come along, they’ve had a look around and introduced themselves in French to the farmers and used the words for the animals and vegetables, it’s been brilliant.”

The young pupils were thrilled by the experience, describing it as “amazing”.

Robert Nicholson, of Cannon Hall Farm, lent the farm’s animals to Le Phun and he was there checking they were settling in to their temporary home.Among the Cannon Hall livestock was Jersey cow Bridget - temporarily re-named Bridgette - six sheep, three little pigs, a cockerel and two hens.

Five times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault (left) visits French farmyard in St. George's Square, Huddersfield - with Bridget the cow and Kirklees Mayor Ken Smith.
Five times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault (left) visits French farmyard in St. George's Square, Huddersfield - with Bridget the cow and Kirklees Mayor Ken Smith.
 

Robert said: “We all know Yorkshire is amazing but this is helping to show us off to everyone else. It’s a real celebration of Yorkshire.

“I’ve seen people awe-struck this morning, especially the young children, to see livestock in the centre of Huddersfield.

“They’ve all settled in well and Bridget is one of the cows we’ll be milking when she calves in a couple of months so she’s used to being around people.”

Henrietta Duckworth, the producer of the Yorkshire Festival, said: “This is Kirklees Council’s idea and keeping it a secret was key, to watch people’s surprised faces when they see it is just amazing.

“Part of Yorkshire’s bid was there would be a 100-day festival and we hope the many amazing events have made Tour organisers think about doing it again wherever the Tour goes next.”

Watch: See how the St George's Square French farmyard took shape with stunning timelapse video

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Tour de France Yorkshire 2014: What's on in the Huddersfield and Holmfirth spectator hubs?

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