October Squash/Gourd Festival in Rians
If I had to pick my favourite autumn festival in Provence it would be the Fête de la Courge in Rians. La Courge en Fête roughly translates to celebration of the gourd! The same weekend as Canadian thanksgiving, this fête gets me into the autumn spirit every year. You’ve probably noticed my absolute admiration for the French ability to have a festival in honour of each locally grown fruit or veggie (see fête de la fraise/strawberry festival, fête du gras/fat festival…duckfat!) The Fête de la Courge is no exception.
During the festival, this small town is absolutely invaded with multiple varieties of squash and gourdes. You’ll find mountains of pumpkins and wooden crates full of decorative gourdes. There are all kinds of food products for sale that incorporate squash including: soupe de courge au cèpes (squash soup with porcini mushrooms), confiture (jam) à la courge, organic squash beer, squash amaretti and a plethora of home-baked goods. Eating at the festival is also part of the experience. There are enormous amounts of paella (I counted 15 last year!!), slow cooked beef stew with squash, soups and more to warm your bones as you wander the stalls.
The Fête de la Courge hosts a parade as well as other autumn-themed stands. Local artisans open their doors to the public and farmers proudly display their produce. All to say, mark this festival on your calendar. It’s especially fun for the kids, or your favourite foodie (like me).
Useful Information :
What: A Provencal Pumpkin festival- can’t be bad.
When: October 12-13. Stands open at 9am.
Where: Centre Ville Rians (1hr NE of Aix en Provence)
Parking: Free parking in fields at the edge of town
See more information about specific events on the La Courge en Fête Facebook page. Maybe take part in the most attractive/ugliest squash competition?
Make a day of it:
What better goes with pumpkin than a bottle of wine? If the hearty stew doesn’t take it out of you why not go wine tasting nearby? Visit beautiful Château Vignelaure or if you like biodynamic wines Château Revelette is excellent. It’s best to reserve tastings at both where you’ll get an in-depth tour of the vineyard, cave and tastings.