Monday June 9th 2014 is the annual Fête de la Transhumance in St. Remy, where local shepherds herd their flocks (roughly 3500 sheep and goats) three times around the village's circular "main drag" before taking them up to graze the green pastures of the Alpilles Mountains for the summer months. They say the Transhumance in St. Remy is one of the "100 Prettiest Festivals in France" and even though I can't find that referenced anywhere, let's just go with it. If you haven't seen the Transhumance, it's great good fun....my friend Philippe calls it ''sheep cooking in the streets.'' It starts officially around 10:30 am but arrive by 9:30 to find parking. Also, there's an all-day flea market on the Place Republique, starting at 9 am. Other villages in Provence have Transhumance festivals but St. Remy's is one of the biggest and most popular.
Afterwards, everyone flocks to the Plateau de la Crau for sheep-herding demos (starting noon-ish) and a community lunch. Want to party like a shepherd? Here's your chance: The Repas des Bergers de la Transhumance (Transhumance Shepherds Lunch) begins at 1 pm and all are welcome. The menu: grilled lamb chops and gigot, stewed beans, green salad, cheese, dessert and all the wine you care to drink (but don't forget: good shepherds don't let other shepherds drive drunk!) The lunch is popular and might sell out so reserve ahead if you can (call 06 16 78 61 55) and arrive early. Lunch is 25€ per person, 1/2 price for ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5. To get there: leave St. Remy direction Avignon; turn right (direction Noves) at the first rond-point outside town, then turn left at the next rond-point. The street will be blocked so park at the school and walk up the gentle hill about 10 or 15 minutes. Or, just walk from town, which takes about 30 minutes.
For more info on Transhumance, call the St. Remy Tourist Office (04 90 92 05 22) or click here. And, you can watch a nice video here...
Photos: Thanks once again to Guy Butters for the Transhumance photos. You can visit Guy's website here and see more of his wonderful photography here and here. You can also follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. The bottom photo is courtesy of weloveprovence.fr