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God, Decibels and Motorcycles

  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  Events France Travel
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
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Click for bigger version of Madone des Motards 2011 Poster
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One weekend a year, in a very small village in Brittany, France, with some 645 inhabitants, 20,000 motorcycles and some 10,000 spectators invade the area. The weekend is full of the normal things you do when bikers meet each other; live music (several concerts), drinking, revving up the motorcycles, eating, ride-outs and the main reason for this gathering - the blessing of the bikes. The event is called the "Madone Des Motards".

Porcaro Click for map in Brittany may be a small village, but it also holds the Madonna of Bikers, a statue of the Madonna dedicated to motorcycle riders. And every year, for over 30 years (it started in 1979 with 30 bikers), motorcycle riders have been going on a pilgrimage to see the blessed statue and receive a blessing by one of the priests..

Apart from the mentioned concerts, ride-outs and parties, the blessing of the motorcycle is not a group affair, but individual. Some 20,000 motorcycles line up before one of the several priests who bless each individual bike. While the blessing are being done, you can hear the many sportsbikes revving up, and smell the smoke for the burns, making it a strange event.

A massive meadow is used for camping, but it's not basic, since there are toilets and showers available. If you prefer a quitter place, there are other camping grounds in the area. On the Sunday morning, a special service is held for all motorcycle riders that have died over the last year. That evening a motorcycle parade is held with each biker carrying a torch. Some 10,000 spectators are present to see the event. Then on Monday, the mass blessing is held followed by a ride.

Madone des Motards 2011 Blessing

I missed the event this, year, so maybe next year, I'll attend.

Click here to visit the Madonna of Bikers site Open link in a new window (in French)

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