On our return trip, we encountered a group of folks spread out in an opening, paying curious attention to three individuals decked out in leather garb standing in a triangle formation. They were releasing a large bird of prey from one to the other. The bird swooped low over the crowd, its wings almost touching heads that quickly bowed.
Peggy, our 'expert' in French, was able to pick up considerably more than the rest of us. But it was obvious the leader was quite entertaining, and easily held the attention of the audience.
They worked with one bird at a time, allowing it to soar freely and luring it back with scrumptious hunks of well-rotted meat. Watching them take off and land on the falconer's forearm was astounding. They were spheres of ruffled feathers. A couple of times, the birds apparently exercised a little too much freedom and the trainers headed off down the trail to reclaim their charges. That signaled the end of that bird's performance, and they were sent to their room (without dinner I presume).
The vulture, never a bird praised for its beauty, proved its talents by walking back and forth on the back of a prone young lady lying on the ground. He never went after her eyeballs.
I did a little checking on this exhibition, and discovered that the gentleman with the beard is Patrice Potier, a graduate from the famous grand ecole Puy du Fou. Throughout the summer he demonstrates and explains the habits of American and European birds of prey including owls, vultures, eagles and falcons.