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The Grand Est Mondial Air Ballon Festival: "The Largest International Hot Air Balloon Gathering"

I'm still smiling and feeling a childlike joy.

It was so much fun!

I will start by lamenting how awful the weather was for this year's festival! We have been plagued with windy conditions, rain, and thunderstorms all week, which has canceled numerous launches. Last night was my third (possibly final) attempt to view a launch. Hagéville is about an hour and a half from my location, so I have driven over 9 hours this week. Yesterday I departed in the early morning (around 6:30 am), and they confirmed the launch on Facebook. Then the next thing I knew, the post was deleted, and cancellation was confirmed when I was only 10 minutes from arrival. Bummed but determined, I did a little scouting mission to see what the grounds were like and returned home. I then rounded up friends and drove back to the festival that afternoon, hoping and praying to finally catch a launch.

Things were not looking good for us around 7 pm (the projected launch time). A plane crashed on the runway, and they had to have a truck remove it. Then a storm rolled in, and we were soaked. Wet and a little demoralized, we patiently waited for the official announcement.

When they confirmed the launch, we all clapped and cheered in relief. It was finally happening!

The skies began to part, and we were greeted with a beautiful sunset shortly after.

Above, you will find the first balloon to launch ahead of its counterparts.

During this time, we weren't in the best position. Attendees lined up early along the fences. We were confused about where the best spot was to stand, and this hesitation made us lose our chances at an unobstructed view. Hence the photos below.

I suggest staking out your spot at least an hour or more before launch time if you want to take unobstructed photos of the balloons setting up and taking off.

After about 15 minutes of watching the balloons inside the festival grounds, we decided to leave and chase them in the direction the wind was blowing in hopes of a better view. We exited the festival grounds and walked to the edge of the parking lot. This was an excellent decision as there were fewer people, and we could take fabulous shots of the balloons passing by and heading toward their landing zone.

This viewpoint was to the left of the festival, but I do not know if this is the direction the balloons will always go in. I would assume it depends on the direction of the wind. So, keep this in mind for future festivals. Viewing spots to the left and right of the festival grounds exist.

It was getting dark due to the late launch time (after 8 pm), which made taking photos a little more complicated, but also gave us beautiful, highlighted shots like these.

Watching the balloons go by was a peaceful and joyful affair. If you have never been, now is the time to start planning to attend! I cannot recommend it enough.

I mean, look at that view!

Beauty and grace. Gently floating by.

My last view of the festival while walking to the car was this stunning brilliant orange sunset. I apologize for the slightly blurry photo. It is, unfortunately all I have.

For a full review of the details of this festival, please refer to my previous blog post written after my morning scouting trip:

Additional Information:

Google Maps Link Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Official Website of the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Schedule Link for Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

Facebook Page for Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons:

I appreciate your support.

Happy adventures!

- Allie

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