June in Provence
There are many events this month but the most common is the Fête de la Saint Eloi. Saint Eloi is the patron saint of metal workers, blacksmiths, cart drivers and craftsmen of all kinds. He is a particularly favourite saint here in Provence. The Fête is normally transferred to the end of June rather than the 1st of December which is the official day. Most towns in the Bouches du Rhône dedicate a day of celebration to this saint. Normally, it starts with the decoration of a local horse cart (as the blessing of the horses is an important part of the day) and then ensues with parades and different types of bull running. Here is my selection of some of the many events happening in Bouches du Rhone, Provence this month.
Bulls in the Streets!
Here is an explication of the different types of bull games that are played throughout village streets during June and throughout the year in Provence. I wouldn’t recommend attempting to join in as these games are quite dangerous! Keep a look out for signs in the village you’re in. I’ve put an asterisk next to all of the events that involve bulls during the coming month- just in case you’re really keen to see some excitement!
This is perhaps the maddest thing I’ve seen here in Provence. In an encierro, a bull or multiple bulls are enclosed within the streets of a town while locals (not professional gardians) taunt the bulls and jump on their horns in an effort to stop them in their tracks. The humans rarely win, and are usually inebriated!
This simply means the bringing of the bulls from the pastures into the arenas (arena) or the town centre. The gardians (french cowboys!), on their Camargue horses, form a tight formation around the bulls in a display of horsemanship so that the bulls cannot escape. Sometimes you’ll see a sign for an abrivado longue which means that the bulls are coming from quite far away and once they’ve achieved their goal, the gardians have a leisurely lunch.
This is the bringing back of the bulls to the countryside.
June Events in Provence
Fête de la Saint-Marcellin* – Boulbon
Salon des Producteurs – Salon de Provence
120 producers, tastings, farm animals and more!
Rendez-Vous aux Jardins – all over France
Celebration of gardens with plant sales and planting instruction as well as the opening up of private gardens for public viewing
Les Fêtes d’Arles – Arles
Lots of traditional dress and animations going on throughout Arles
Fête de la Trinité* – Saint Remy de Provence
Bandido 18h30 both days
Fête de la Saint Eloi – Maussane-les-Alpilles
This year’s “Queen of Arles” and her ladies in waiting will be participating in this large parade at Maussane
Fête du Club Taurin* – Aureille
Multiple bull running going on throughout these 2 days
Festival International de Piano – La Roque d’Anthéron
International Piano Festival
Fête de la Saint Eloi – Mollégès
Fête de la Musique – all over France
Live music in every single city and village on this day and night. Amazing!
Fête de la Saint Jean
Pick your green walnuts today to make walnut wine!
Also, fireworks in many towns throughout France or village bonfires.
Fêtes de la Tarasque – Tarascon
Festival in Tarascon celebrating local traditions. It all ends with a parade where the Tarasque monster is chased throughout the streets!
Fête de la Saint Eloi* – Eyragues
pistou soup and bull running on the 27th!
Musiques au Vieux Village – Eygalières
18h free classical music concert in the old village
Fondation Vincent Van Gogh – Arles
31 of Van Gogh’s paintings are in Provence on loan from Amsterdam. Exhibition goes until September 11th
24 June- 19 July
Dance and Music Festival in Marseille
Vide Greniers (village flea markets)- many throughout the month