Loading...


TERROIRS, FIESTAS & TRADITIONS, THE CRAZY SUCCESS OF VILLAGE FESTIVAL | M6 | Zone Interdite

Every summer, France comes alive to the beat of countless village festivals. Behind all the folklore, it’s often a remnant of our heritage, local pride, that is celebrated. At Salary-sur-Mer, on the Mediterranean, the town’s last fishermen are all recruited for the grand festival. As a team, they use a giant pot to cook a dish that is emblematic of the region: bouillabaisse. A giant bouillabaisse with more than a tonne of fish. Jean-Paul, 48, is in charge of the whole operation. The problem is that, among all the fishermen of Sanary, not one is a professional cook, so the grand bouillabaisse festival could turn into a fiasco… On the high plateaux of Ardeche, some people celebrate traditions from far-distant countries… Every summer, the village of Saint-Agrève turns into an image of the Wild West. Tens of thousands of dedicated fans flock together for the greatest Western festival in Europe. A Cowboy world, not to mention those formidable Cowgirls, whether they’re quick on the draw or beauty queens. 16-year-old Morgane is entering the grand beauty contest. The reason she’s so eager to win is to honour the memory of her dad, one of the festival’s founding members. The big star of the festival is the bull aptly named TNT¾800kg of smouldering dynamite. The guys who climb on these bull’s backs are cowboys without fear, or nearly… A prayer never hurts when you’re up against TNT. In the heart of the Basque country, a spectacular festival celebrates an ancestral tradition. At Saint-Palais, eight villages confront each other every year in a merciless battle. These dyed-in-the-wool Basques defend the honour of their village in events inspired by agricultural labour, whether heaving bales of straw or a 350kg cart, a vast crowd gathers to admire the feats of these strongmen. At the highlight event, the tug o’ war, the team from Saint-Jean-le-Vieux, with its squad of veterans, is invincible. All the younger ones dream of toppling them. Though some may come seeking glory, the village festivals are first and foremost the finest way for the French to come together and celebrate as one… so all the more important that the festival is  a success…