May Day – Celebration in a Medieval Village

This year’s Fête du Travail (Labor Day) was extra special for two reasons:

  • the local Cercle des Amis was celebrating their 140 year birthday, known for playing “boules carrés”   (video link)
  • the main village square’s six-month long renovation had just been completed & in the nick of time!

Flowers were proudly displayed throughout the village, as people (and the local mayor) partied and danced in the (medieval) streets!


Village Square Before (2 smaller photos), During,  & After:

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See Fête du Travail 2012 here

Fête du Travail (Labor Day / May Day)!

Since it was a holiday, I attended a local festival, held annually in a nearby village. The day’s events began with a competition for children from ages 5-12, playing “Boules carré” (square boccia/pétanque balls), instead of the traditional round, with the goal being to get the “boule” closest to the “cochonnet” (smallest one placed as a target).The concours continued at three different areas, as locals acted as officials in measuring distances to declare the points awarded for being the closest. There was a lively atmosphere, with family members coaching and verbally assisting and cheering on the players.

The next event was a “concours de vélos fleuris” (bikes decorated with flowers parade/competition), with children anxiously putting on the final touches/petals on their bikes — one little boy had a “trottinette” (push-type scooter). Some of the children were dressed in folkloric, Provençale costumes to add authenticity to the day! The town’s mayor was present to add local support and encouragement to the day’s events, encouraging the children as they paraded their bikes.

For lunch, there was “Pan bagnat” sandwiches (large roll with tuna, hard-boiled egg, lettuce, and tomato)pan-bagnat, “tarte aux pommes” (apple pie), and of course, a choice of wine, Orangina, and other drinks. Large tables had been placed in the square, with people meeting and chatting in comraderie.

There were dancers in traditional/folkloric costumes doing La Parpaïola, an entertaining and lively band, and a parrot show.

At the end of the day, wine and nibbles were served at one of the (festivally-decorated) village streets, with the band playing, the mayor swaying to the music, and everyone having a festive day!

Photos 2012 © 24/7 in France