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Manchester has a ball at the Bal Enchanté

BalenchanteAN evening of enchanting French music and sounds swept across Manchester's Platt Fields as the city marked quatorze juillet, or Bastille Day.

The classic dance music of yesteryear from Parisian streets mixed with the swirling skirts of North Africa as all things Francophone were celebrated to mark this special day on the French calendar.

Many French people who have made Manchester their adopted home rolled out the picnic blanket and uncorked the wine bottles, as the late evening sunshine meant the coats and scarves of this supposed summer could be left at home.

Around the large stage were games and food stops, even top-heavy bowls of moules et frites were available, although the queue for the bar may have tested the patience of some.

Elsewhere and the team from the Stockport-based Woodstock Pétanque Club were guiding young and old through the finer points of the game, which is proving increasingly popular in the UK and the club was saying they often play host to teams from York, Morecambe and Doncaster.

On stage the evening's entertainment was opened by the colourful Northern Belly Company (captured on video by my sister) with the troupe dancing together or individually, but soon enough they had many from the audience flicking their hips from side to side.

But the dancing didn't stop as the Fleur de Paris band entertained the crowd with the sweeping, evocative sounds of the accordion, while a mix of cabaret and song from Le Petit Theatre de Pain ensured the music of France stretched on through the evening.

Here is a selection of photographs from the evening:

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