Dates for your diary

Courses Camarguaises – May to October 2017

If you want to see a bull-fight, but are not into blood sports, then a course camarguaise is for you!  The bull always leaves the ring alive, and the men in the ring have to be very nimble on their feet.  I wrote about one such bull-fight here, and you can find all the dates on the official website.

European museum night – 20 May 2017

Since 2005, European museum night has been enchanting visitors every year.  It’s a free event, which gives visitors the chance to discover the treasures of museums all over Europe in different ways.  You’ll be able to find the whole programme on this site .

Les Feeries du Pont, Pont du Gard – 2, 3, 9 and 10 June 2017

The Pont du Gard like you’ve never seen it before – lit up with flames and fireworks.  It’s an unforgettable show, and I was lucky to see it some years ago!  More information via this link.

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Vente de Charite, Saint-Chinian – 4 June 2017

This is a fixture on Saint-Chinian’s calendar of events – a sale of bric-a-brac, plants, clothes, second-hand household items, books and more, all sold for a good cause.  The sale takes place in the abbatiale, the former abbey church in Saint-Chinian, and in the cloisters, and it is open until noon.

Balade Gourmande, Saint-Jean-de-Minervois – 4 June 2017

This gourmet walk has become a very successful and enjoyable annual event.  I went on this gourmet walk back in 2015 and enjoyed it very much.  If you want to give it a try yourself, you can find out more via this link.

A wonderfully fragrant spot

A wonderfully fragrant spot

Fete de la Musique, all over Europe – 21 June 2017

Don’t miss this wonderful celebration of music all over France.  It’s a great occasion to listen to all kinds of music. I’ve written about some of my experiences here and here.  The official website for the event can be found via this link.

Fesitval de Carcassonne – 1 to 30 July 2017

Once again, Carcassonne is hosting an array of famous French singers and musicians during its summer festival!  For the full programme visit here.

Re-opening of the Fonserannes site, Beziers, 1 July 2017

The site around the staircase lock at Fonserannes on the Canal du Midi, on the edge of Beziers, has been given a complete makeover!  I am looking forward to when the site re-opens again in its new splendour.  The staircase lock is a marvel of engineering and worth a visit if you are in the area!

Feria de Beziers – 12 to 15 August 2017

With four days of bodegas, parties and bull fights, the feria in Beziers attracts visitors from all over.  If bull fights are not your thing, the party atmosphere in the town in the early evening is lovely to experience, with pop-up restaurants bars everywhere.  You can find out more via this link.

Fete du Fil, Labastide Rouairoux – 14 and 15 August 2017

This fete is a must for lovers of all things textile.  The textile museum will be open to visitors free of charge, there will be several exhibitions and the flea market.  Full details on https://lafetedufil.jimdo.com/

Fete de Saint-Louis, Sete – 17 to 22 August 2017

The Fete de Saint-Louis celebrates the patron saint of Sete with five days of concerts, street performances and the all-important water jousting tournament!  Full details can be found via this link.

Start of La Vuelta, Nimes – 19 August 2017

La Vuelta is Spain’s answer to the Tour de France, and this year the city of Nimes hosts the first stage of this race.  A must for all lovers of cycling!

 

 

And still more to come …

Just because summer is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing going on in and around Saint-Chinian!  Far from it!!  The theatres in Beziers, Narbonne, Pezenas and elsewhere are starting their seasons and there’s much to see and do.  Here is a selection of events:

11eme Festival Les Troubadours Chantent L’Art Roman – 7 May to 25 November 2016

This festival pairs romanesque architecture with ancient music, such as in the concert I went to last year at Fontcaude Abbey.  This year I went to hear the Troubadours Art Ensemble in the church in Cruzy, where the picture below was taken.  There are still a few concerts left this season!

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Orchids at Fontfroide, Fontfroide Abbey – 7, 8 and 9 October 2016

An orchid exhibition in the magnificent surroundings of Fontfroide Abbey is taking place this weekend.  A great excuse (if you need one) to visit this wonderful abbey – the picture below shows the cloisters.

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Grand Deballage, Pezenas – 9 October 2016

This Sunday will see another mega flea market, the second this year, in this town well-known for its plethora of antique shops.  There will be over 2km of stalls!!

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Fete du Marron et du Vin Nouveau, Olargues – 29 and 30 October 2016

The chestnut festival in Olargues is always enjoyable!!  Whilst it is not as large a festival as the one in Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres, it has a great selection of stalls, and the roasted chestnuts are always great!!

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Conilhac Jazz Festival, Conilhac – 29 October to 26 November 2016

The little village of Conilhac (850 souls) has been hosting a jazz festival every year since 1987, staging concerts by musicians of world renown!  The programme can be found here.

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Truffle fairs and markets – 10 December 2016 – 24 June 2017

The truffle markets are much-anticipated by some people.  If you have ever tasted a real truffle, you’ll know that, love it or hate it, the flavour is unlike anything else!  A good introduction to truffles is to visit a truffle market, to smell their heady perfume and to taste the scrambled eggs.  A list of events can be found here.

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Summer events

Summer is here at last, so here is an update to the page of upcoming events in and around Saint-Chinian:

Festival MusiSc, Saint-Chinian – 5 to 10 July 2106

Come and listen to one (or more) of the eight concerts, which are given in Saint-Chinian’s Abbatiale and the parish church. The programme is varied and offers a selection of different musical styles.  The festival opens with the children’s choir of Beziers Cathedral.  Amongst the concerts, there is an organ recital in the parish church, a tribute to Charles Trenet, a saxophone quartet playing jazz and more.  The full programme can be found on http://www.festivalmusisc.wordpress.com

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Jazz a Sete, Sete – 13 to 19 July 2016

This internationally renowned Jazz Festival takes place in Sete every year, and is a must for lovers of Jazz!  This year’s festival is headlined by Diana Krall (already sold out!), but there are tickets available for many of the other performers.  The concerts take place in the Theatre de la Mer, an open-air theatre with the sea as a backdrop.  Details can be found here.

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6eme Academie Musicale, Saint-Chinian – 16 to 23 July 2016

For the sixth time in as many years, Herve Hotier and Lauranne Chastal, with the collaboration of Pierre Courthiade, are running a week of classes for flute students.  A masterclass will be given by Juliette Hurel, 1st flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.  The week ends with a recital at 5pm on July 22, followed by a concert by the students at 7:30pm.

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Fete de l’Olivier, Bize-Minervois – 17 July 2016

This popular fete always coincides with the Fete du Cru in Saint-Chinian.  The theme is the olive and its cultivation, and there is usually a competition for the best tapenade, among other activities.  There will be lots of food to buy and eat there, and the atmosphere is always great!  You can read about my visit to this fete here.

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Marche des Potiers (pottery market), Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres – 23 and 24 July 2016

If you enjoy pottery then this event is for you – dozens of potters displaying their wares in the shade of plane trees!  I can always find something to buy at this kind of fair!! 😀

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Fete de St Louis, Sete – 18 to 23 August 2016

The Fete de St Louis celebrates Sete’s maritime heritage and its patron saint with six days of events.  There will be over 70 street performances, and there will be a big jousting tournamen.  The jousting is done on water and in boats!!

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Fete de la Chataigne, Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres – 29 and 30 October 2016

The chestnut festival in Saint-Pons-des-Thomieres is one of the biggest autumn festivals in the area.  It is well worth a visit, whether you like chestnuts or not!  I have visited this festival many times, and you can read my post about it here.

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If you want to attend any of these events and are in need of accommodation, just drop me a line or visit www.midihideaways.com 

So much more to do…

Here are some more events, which I have recently added to the list of upcoming events

Soapbox race, Saint-Chinian – 4 June 2016

This event promises to be great fun, if last year’s edition of the race was anything to go by!  Again the participants will be hurtling down the hill from the windmill to the market square, in their home-made contraptions!!

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Festival de Carcassonne, Carcassonne – 4 July to 1 August 2016

The Carcassonne festival is one of the biggest in the area, attracting stars such as Elton John (a few years ago) and Pharell Williams (this year).

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Nocturn’Art, Saint-Chinian – 26 July 2016

An evening dedicated to artistic creations of all types.  Last year, the event had a great variety of artists displaying their skills and creating works of art right in front of the visitors’ eyes.  This year’s event promises to be even better!

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Fete du Cassoulet, Castelnaudary – 24 to 28 August 2016

This must be heaven if you enjoy cassoulet!!  Five days of music and cassoulet – I am hoping to make it there this year – will I meet you there?  The official website can be found via this link.

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Open day at the cooperative winery, Saint-Chinian – 5 August 2016

This is your chance, if you have always wanted to know what these enormous wineries look like inside!  In the evening there will a communal meal and live music – it’s usually a fantastic evening!!  I’ve been many times and have written about it here.

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Fete de l’Ail Rose de Lautrec, Lautrec – 5 August 2016

This wonderfully “fragrant” fete is heaven for all lovers of garlic – hundreds of litres of delicious garlic soup is prepared and distributed to the visitors at lunchtime.  I’ve been to this fete a couple of times, and of course I have written about it!!  More information can be found on the official website here.

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Feria de Beziers, Beziers – 12 to 15 August 2016

Four days of partying in the centre of Beziers, and bull fights in the arena.  I’m OK with the partying, but not so sure about the bull fights…

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Fete du Fil, Labastide Rouairoux – 14 and 15 August 2016

This is the fete for all of you who sew, embroider, knit, or are otherwise into craft projects.  And if you’re not that way inclined, you may enjoy the visit to the textile museum – this year’s special exhibition features Japanese kimonos.  You can find my blog about a previous fete du fil here, and for the official website, please follow this link.

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Pottery market in Salleles d’Aude – 14 and 15 August 2016

You can combine a visit to this well-established pottery market with a visit to the Roman pottery museum, Amphoralis, just as I did a few years ago.  It’s fascinating to see what was produced with fairly limited means in Roman times, and what today’s potters have to offer.  Read about my visit here.

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Saint-Chinian’s preface to Brescudos Bike Week, Cap d’Agde – 29 August to 4 September 2016

A must for all lovers of motorbikes out there.  Hundreds of motorbikes and their riders will descend on Saint-Chinian on August 28, 2016.  There’ll be a competition for the “best dressed bike & rider”, and there’ll be lots of motorbike related paraphernalia.  Have a look at what happened in 2015.

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European heritage days, all over France and Europe – 17 and 18 September 2016

I’m sure there will be plenty of interesting things to do over that weekend!  Details of participating venues will be on the French Ministry of Culture website in due course.  I have written about events on the heritage weekend several times – you’ll find the posts here.

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Still to come

Here are some more events, which have been added to the Upcoming Events page.

Fete du Cochon et du Terroir, Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres – 21 February 2016

Hurry up!  For those of you who are reading this in time and live close enough to take advantage of it, I think you would have a good time at this annual event in Saint-Pons, which I have visited on a number of occasions, and written about previously.  The format may have changed a little since my article, but I imagine that the fete will still be very enjoyable!

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Escale a Sete, Sete – 22 to 28 March 2016

Once again the tall ships will be mooring up at Sete for what promises to be an amazing week, celebrating the 350 years of the port of Sete.  I wrote about the tall ships in March 2014 – read the post here.   You can find information about this year’s programme via this link.

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Procession de la Sanch, Perpignan – 25 March 2016

Each year on Good Friday, the town of Perpignan hosts the traditional Good Friday Procession.  The custom dates back 600 years, and it is a deeply moving spectacle, the only one of its kind in France.

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Fete du Marbre, Caunes Minervois – 26 and 27 March 2016

The red marble from Caunes Minervois has been highly prized since Roman times.  The fete du marbre is a two day event of exhibitions, markets, guided visits and demonstrations, all to do with marble.  You can read my account of my last visit to the fete here.

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Fete des Mille et Une Pierres, Villespassans – 15 May 2016

This fete has been running each year since 2009, in this typical Languedoc village.  There’ll be an artisan market, a vide grenier (flea market), demonstrations such as sheep-shearing, as well as guided visits of the village and the surrounding countryside.  The day finishes with a concert by L’Art à Tatouille, an Occitan folk group that plays great music!

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Balade Gourmande en Saint-Jean-de-Minervois – 5 June 2016

For the third year running, the AOC Saint-Jean-de-Minervois is hosting a gourmet walk.  I enjoyed the walk last year, perhaps you will want to give it a try this year?  You’ll be able to find details on the AOC website later in the year.

A wonderfully fragrant spot

A wonderfully fragrant spot

Fete de la Cerise, Mons la Trivalle – 5 June 2016

This is a wonderful fete, which celebrates the bountiful cherry harvest.  I’ve been to this fete numerous times over the years, and have previously written about it here.  Don’t do what I did one year, and get there too late!  The cherries may be sold out!

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Vente de Charite, Saint-Chinian – 12 June 2016

The local Women’s International Club (WIC) will be holding its annual charity sale from 8:30 am to 13:30pm.  There’ll be all kinds of goodies for sale, including secondhand clothes, books, small household appliances, bric-a-brac, jewelery – you name it!  And as always there will be a plant stall too.

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Tour de France 2016 – 13 and 14 July 2016

On July 13, the cyclists of the Tour de France will be racing from Carcassonne to Montpellier – you’ll be able to see the details in due course on the official website.  Once again they will be passing through Saint-Chinian, making for a very exciting day!!  Here’s a post from when the Tour came through Saint-Chinian a few years ago!  On July 14, 2016, the Tour will go from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux.  This should be an interesting stage, as the cyclists have to climb more than 1300m in altitude!

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Fete de l’Ail Rose, Lautrec – 5 August 2016

This well-established fete is all about the pink garlic, for which the town of Lautrec is justly famous.  I’ve visited this fete several times, and you can read about one of my visits here.  The soupe a l’ail, the garlic soup which is served to all visitors, is absolutely delicious!  More details can be found on the official website at http://www.ailrosedelautrec.com .

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Looking ahead

For a little while I’ve been thinking about an events page for this blog – there is no better time than the new year to start this!! 🙂  On the new page, I will list upcoming events in and around the area, which you might enjoy.  I will try and update the page as often as possible – if there is an event you think should be listed here, please drop me a line.  If you want to visit the area and need accommodation please head to www.midihideaways.com .  Here now are the events I have added to the new page. This is only the start . . .

Limoux Carnival – 03.01.2016 – 13.03.2016

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The good people of Limoux take their carnival very serious.  Different groups have the run of the central square every Saturday and Sunday during the carnival period.  It’s always a fun festival to visit – I have previously written about it here.

Fete du Mimosa in Roquebrun – 14.02.2016

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The Fete du Mimosa is a must if you are in the area – a great fun fete!  I have visited many times and I’ve written about it here.

Grand Deballage in Pezenas – 01.05.2016

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This is one of the larges antiques and flea markets in the area, with at least 150 stands.  Serious bargains can be found if you are prepared to look!  I’ll try and be there – should be good fun!

Tour de France 2016 – 13.07.2016 and 14.07.2016

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On July 13, the cyclists of the Tour de France will be racing from Carcassonne to Montpellier.  Rumour has it that the route may be going through Minerve and past La Caunette, but nothing has been confirmed yet.  On the following day the Tour will go from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux.  This should be an interesting stage, as the cyclists have to climb more than 1300m in altitude!  Here’s a post from when the Tour came through Saint-Chinian a few years ago!

Bastille Day, all over the area – 14.07.2016

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France celebrates her national holiday in great style – parties and fireworks take place in pretty much every village!  Some fireworks parties take place on the 13th (e.g. Beziers) and some on the 14th (e.g. Saint-Chinian and Bize-Minervois).  Not to be missed!

Fete du Cru, Saint-Chinian – 17.07.2016

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A whole day of wine tasting, a not to be missed event in Saint-Chinian.  You can read about a previous fete here.