Les Jeux du Tarasque
The Fête du Tarasque parade is unique in Provence. Firstly, the parade celebrates the more medieval history of Tarascon, represented through medieval costumes and icons. Whereas, 15 minutes south of Tarascon, festivals celebrate the traditional costumes of the Arlesiennes complete with bull running and beautiful white Camargue horses.
During this 4 day festival, you can visit the château of Tarascon for free. My favourite part of the castle is the graffiti on the walls drawn by British sailors during the 1700s.
The parade celebrates traditional vocations such as wine makers, shepherds and vegetable growers.
This local has dressed up as character Tartarin de Tarascon for many years now. The story, written by Alphonse Daudet, is about Tartarin, a plump middle-aged man from Tarascon. In a town of hunting enthusiasts, he boasts that he has the ability to kill a lion. Consequentially, people start assuming that he’s going on a hunting expedition to Algeria.
As not to lose face, Tartarin is forced to go. On the boat from Marseille to Algiers, he meets a conman posing as a Montenegrin prince who takes advantage of him in multiple ways. Tartarin’s gullibility causes him numerous setbacks and misadventures until he returns home.
The Tarasque is the mysterious creature that is thought to have lived in the Rhône river just next to the town. The mayor of Tarascon is lovingly forced to ride the creature as it’s whipped through town at speed!!
The parade is this Sunday!