Charleville is a major international puppetry centre (its school is justly famous), and every two years it hosts one of the largest puppet festivals in the world, the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes. For ten days in September, up to 250 professional troupes – some from as far away as Mali and Burma – put on around fifty shows a day on the streets and in every available space in town. Tickets are cheap, and there are shows for adults as well as the usual stuff aimed at kids. If you miss the festival, you may still be able to catch one of the occasional puppet performances at the Institut de la Marionette (03 24 33 72 50) on place Winston Churchill.

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