Provence – Bulls & Things

It’s no surprise to anyone super close to me that I have a ‘bulls’ obsession. It’s not just the bulls themselves but what they signify. Camargue, Les Gardians, history and their beliefs of a southern french region where my dad is from.

Le Gard.

Not only is the region beautiful but traditions still exist and three of my favourites are the Abrivados, Course camarguaise and obviously Toro Piscine.

(These are not to be mistaken for bullfights)

I’ve seen all three and all were very cool to see and experience.
(Videos & most photos are mine or Kari’s! 🙂


Driving bulls from pasture to the arena under the supervision of herdsmen.

The bandido, means the return of the bullring bulls to pasture .

Today, each of these terms refers to a tradition of Provence and Languedoc regions and simulates the transfer of bulls by dropping them in a closed city or town streets.
Trucks are parked at each end so the bulls have somewhere to stay until the next run.

In order to make this trip without incident, they’re supervised by a dozen horsemen (Les Gardians) arranged in a V formation.

(I only have one thing to say… some of these men are SO DAMN SEXY! My friend Kari, sister in laws Ashley and Lauren can back me up on this one!! haha)

IMG_1764 IMG_1765 IMG_1766

Like this guy in the middle…


IMG_1768 IMG_1769

When driving through villages , it often happens that the young villagers (attrapaïre) try to escape the beasts (by pulling on their tails or horns) for amusement.



To reduce the risk of seeing their bulls escape them, the herdsmen gallop through the village at the highest possible speed.

Nowadays abrivado are organized especially during local festivals of many villages and towns of Bouches -du- Rhône, Vaucluse , Gard and Hérault . The streets are blocked by barriers to prevent the bulls from escaping.

Story Time 

Summer of 2011, Kari and I along with my brothers and cousins, attended an Abrivado and this photo made the local news.
We were squished somewhere along the fence and I swear my legs shook for about 10 minutes afterwards.

abrivado- 2011

My brother Tom is on the right hand side with the beige shorts/black top and the man in white top second on the left, was sitting on a chair at some point.
We don’t know where that chair went….  but I’ve never seen people move so fast in my life.


Course Camarguaise

Where the ‘Raseteur’ tries to hook the ‘cocarde’, ‘ficelles’ or ‘glands’.
Getting these means €€€’s as people who are watching can bet.

Course Camarguaise

The ‘concarde’ is a red colored ribbon with a size of five to seven centimeters long and one centimeter wide . It is attached with a string on the top front of the bull and center.

Two ‘glands’ (tassels), pompons of white wool are hung by a cord at the base of each horn.


The ‘ficelles’ (strings) is the last attribute to be removed and are wrapped around the horn with a variable number of rounds and determined by the classification of the bull.

The ‘raseteur’
Confronts the bull to glean the winning attributes using a hook . He jumps the fence arenas to protect and prepare the next action.

‘Raseteurs’ are top professional athletes who follow a daily workout.

The ‘Tourneurs’ (turners)
They are always former raseteurs, that help the raseteur, placing the bull or causing a distraction in the arena.


Toro Piscine (Pool) 

A pool filled with water,  teenagers (girls and boys) line the sides, a young bull with horn protectors is let into the ring and basically, it’s last man standing.

This is a favourite, HILARIOUS!!! and you can’t help but close your eyes at some parts and let a scream or gasp out loud.

These teenagers are absolutely out of their minds and so brave to take part.



My brother and I on the sidelines.

My brother and I on the sidelines of Toro Piscine.


Well that’s just a little taste of what you can do if you’re ever in the region of Southern Frace.
During the summer, there are some most weekends, along with TONS of apéros, music, rides for kids and new things to see. 🙂

Fête Votives- France 

Kari and I at a 'Fête Votive'

Kari and I at a ‘Fête Votive’

Happy Monday!


2 thoughts on “Provence – Bulls & Things

  1. Have you ever read anything from Hemingway about the bulls in Spain? he travelled there every year to watch and was obsessed with it. I bet you’d love his writing!

    *Kendra Maxymowich* *Food & Sundries*

    *Admin. Assistant ph: 613 221 2081*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s