Our destination is between the French regions of Languedoc and Provence, and there is a wide range of events organised around the local traditions. Traditional games with bulls and parades in period clothing showcase the cultural heritage that is very much alive in the hearts of the locals here.
Between the votive festivities and bull traditions, the arenas and villages are brought to life with music, cries and applause. The passion for the bull attracts crowds of spectators to the area, from Uzès to Remoulins via our exceptional villages.
Did you know? Bull traditions are celebrated during the “temporada”, a period between March and September, otherwise known as the bull season.
During this period, the villages of the Gard are filled with celebrations! Each village organises votive celebrations in honour of their Patron Saint. During these celebrations, there is a wide range of entertainment, traditional singing, funfairs, equestrian shows and so much more. These events are also opportunities to showcase bull traditions such as the Courses Camarguaises, ferias, bull rituals, etc.
Among these rituals are the “abrivado” and the “bandido”. The first is when the bulls are taken from the traditional farms (manades) to the arenas, and the second is when they are taken back. During the votive celebrations, the bulls are paraded through the streets of the villages: it really is an impressive sight!
The “encierro” takes place in the streets of the village: this is another symbolic bull event whereby either the bulls are enclosed in a “corrales” cage, or bulls are chosen to take part in the “corrida”, or the bulls are guided from the “corrales” to the arenas.
You can see these traditions for yourselves and learn about what the “gardians” do during an organised evening at a “manade” in our Pays d’Uzès Pont du Gard territory, the Manade Devaux.
The Course Camarguaise
The “Course Camarguaise” is one of the most well-known of the bull games, whereby the bull faces the “raseteur”, a man dressed in white. Using a hook, the man has 15 minutes to collect the rosette from the bull’s horns. When they succeed, the “rasateurs” win points.
This showdown between the man and the bull is a very important tradition of the Gard. Throughout the season, the “raseteurs” win points and then the best can participate in the final competition: the Trophée des As.
The Camargue bull is a symbol of the traditions of the Gard and is reared on the “manades” farms. The first years of its life are spent in the pastures, then they are assessed for their ability to take part in the “Courses Camarguaises”. They would then begin their career as a “cocardier” and take part in elections for the best bulls. The winners are given the title of “Tau d’Or” or “Bióu d’Or”. Once the bull’s career is over, it goes back to the pastures to live out the rest of its life peacefully.
The Ferias are traditional bull celebrations in Spain, Portugal and the South of France, and are also organised here in our territory. In the Gard, the most well-known is the “Feria de Nîmes”, which takes place from Thursday to Monday around Whit weekend. During this five-day event, the whole town is brought to life! Small bands called “peñas” or “bandas” create a festive atmosphere with their traditional and extremely cheerful music. They also play after the bull events in the traditional “bodegas”, where the most passionate festival-goers come to enjoy the festivities in private venues, sometimes in rather unexpected settings, or just on the street corners.