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Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past few months, you will know that the Tour De France is starting this year in good old Blighty. Not only that, but the Grand Depart was going to be in my home county of Yorkshire and will be passing through my town.

On Wednesday Twitter was awash with rumours that a French farm, complete with crops and animals, had appeared outside our local train station. As the pictures popped up on my phone, I decided I had to investigate.

huddersfield train station

Sure enough, when I arrived at St. George’s Square, instead of a sea of concrete paving and fountains, this is what I saw:

bus stop at huddersfield train station

le phun at st georges square huddersfield

Twenty-six French farmers from Toulouse, tending a farm, feeding animals and working the soil. The project was brought to Huddersfield by French company, Le Phun, and the attention to detail was magnificent.

le phun st georges square huddersfield

cabbage and peppers at hypervelocity, huddersfield

Entitled, ‘La Vengence des Semis’, or ‘Seedling’s Revenge’, over the space of 3 days visitors were treated to a spectacle of growing crops, culminating in a field of sunflowers on the last day.

We mingled amongst the farm workers who were only too happy to stop and talk about their crops, or chat about the pregnant cow who was about to give birth any day now.

cow at le phun, huddersfield

Surrounded by genuine French people, I decided to try out a few words and phrases I had learnt at school, but the Anglo-French divide had never been greater than when one kind Frenchman offered me a lettuce to take home. Not knowing where to put it, and slightly embarrassed by his insistence, I giggled nervously and backed away.

french farmer le phun huddersfield

le phun st georges square huddersfield

There were little huts, where the farmers enjoyed their downtime, all in view of the spectators. It was a bit like a French enclosure at a human zoo, but in a good way.

le phun huddersfield

le phun huddersfield hypervelocity

The whole spectacle was fascinating, but the highlight for a vintage lover like me was the styling. Wine crates, old bikes, street signs, mismatched crockery, it had it all.

le phun huddersfield hypervelocity

I even picked up a few ideas for my own garden from the greenhouse.

egg cup planters le phun

I suspect I may be buying a lot of eggs and light bulbs in the near future.

lightbulb planters le phun huddersfield

The venue was packed as young and old alike wandered around the farm, enthralled by the display.

little girl le phun huddersfield hypervelocity

Even ex-Prime Minister Harold Wilson got in on the act.

Harold Wilson le Phun Huddersfield

Unfortunately, as the sun went down that evening, Twitter informed us again that the French farm had gone almost as quickly as it arrived. I’m so glad that I managed to see it. It was the perfect celebration of the idyll of French rural life. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect and with le Tour de Yorkshire on its way, I can’t think of a better way to have done it.

Sunflowers at le Phun, huddersfield

Au revoir, le Phun. Come back again soon!

Michelle x

4 thoughts to “I love Yorkshire #3: Le Grand Depart

  • Anna // angelinthenorth

    Fantastic photos – this looks brilliant! How fun to just wake up one day and discover it’s there. The Tour has been amazing in so many unexpected ways.

  • Doug Clarkson

    Lucy, that is fantastic. I had no idea this went on. Your photos are great, what an eye you have. Well done to you.

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