May in Provence is the continuation of annual flower markets and the beginning of the abrivado season. Horse festivals, running of the bulls…For me, the season really starts with the 1st of May celebrations in Arles where the Fête des Gardians takes over the city.
This is the month of public holidays in France. Make sure to be aware of store closings. I would just give up on getting anything official done this month. Beware of “faire le pont” where everyone combines a public holiday with a weekend- even if the holiday is in the middle of the week!
|Fête du Travail||1 Mai|
|8 Mai 1945||8 Mai|
|Jeudi de l’Ascension||5 Mai|
|Lundi de Pentecôte||16 Mai|
Fête des Gardians – Arles
This is the largest Fête des Gardians where there are celebrations, parades, and blessings of the horses, bulls, men and women that basically perform the task of the French cowboy in the plains of the Camargue. The parade in Arles is immense; you’ll be able to see the Queen of the Arlesiennes as well as the many young and old men proudly riding their white Camargue horses through the street. It’s a site to behold! To check out more pictures click here.
Festival de la Photo Nu – Arles
In the Provencal capital of photography you’ll find 30 expositions of contemporary and classic photographs based on the nude. Half the fun of this exhibition is walking around the antique streets of Arles finding the next venue.
Floralies – Sénas
Best value for money flower market of the season. 70 exposants
Fête des Fraises – Velleron
Just incase you missed the strawberry market at Carpentras…
Jazz in Arles – Arles
Lots of Jazz concerts in Arles this week. Click the link to see the schedule and buy tickets.
Festival de Cannes
I’m quite sure this doesn’t need any explaining. Not really in my corner of Provence- but I had to include it.
Fête du Printemps – St Martin de Crau
Last year we bought just cooked strawberry jam out of immense copper pots from a paysanne during this festival. A celebration of all things Provencal.
Marché aux Fleurs – Tarascon
80 flower stalls at this immense plant market
33ieme Transhumance – St Remy de Provence
Got a thing for farm animals? (like me) Don’t miss this seasonal migration of the sheep from the plains to the mountains.
Nuit des Musées – all of France
Many museums are open and free this evening all over France. Check out the ones nearest you.
Festival des Vins Coteaux d’Aix –Rognes
Wine festival celebrating the wine of the Aix en Provence appellation. Buy a glass and taste as much as you like! I love this town.
Pèlerinage des Gitanes – St Maries de la Mer
If you’re traveling in the Camargue, you may be overwhelmed by the incredible number of gypsies that invade the town of St Maries de la Mer in an enormous pilgrimage in celebration of the virgin Mary. You’ll find great music, an awful lot of caravans and an enormous parade. Just keep an eye on your wallet.
Fête des Voisins – Aramon, Beaucaire, Chateaurenard, Eyragues, Paradou
This is technically for locals, but it’s the first “neighbour day” in small villages. It’s basically the French version of an American block party. Is there a British equivalent? Depending on the village you’ll have to bring your own dishes (like pot-luck) or there’s a free meal provided by the Marie, all in the spirit of getting to know your neighbours. Whoever said that the French aren’t friendly?