Wool you be there? Monday May 25 is the annual Fête de la Transhumance in St. Remy, when 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. 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.'' An all-day flea market and goat-cheese fair starts at 9 am on the Place Republique and then the Transhumance starts around 10:30 am...but arrive by 9:30 to find parking. 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 at noon-ish) and a community lunch. Want to party like a shepherd? Here's your chance: The Repas des Bergers (Shepherds Lunch) begins at 1 pm and all are welcome. The feast includes 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 often sells out so reserve ahead if you can (call 06 16 78 61 55) or 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 on the D571 direction Eyragues/Avignon; turn right on the D99 (direction Noves) which you'll find at the first rondpoint (roundabout) just outside town, then pass the BricoMarche and turn left at the next rondpoint. The street will be blocked so park at the soccer field or by the school and walk up the gentle hill about 10 or 15 minutes. Or, just walk from town, which takes about 20 minutes.
The night before the Transhumance (Sunday May 24) you can see the documentary L'Etoile des Bergeres at the Cine Palace in St. Remy at 6:30 pm. The film (in French) is just under an hour and the screening is free, compliments of Li Pastre de San Roumie and the Maison de la Transhumance. Schedules change so it's always best to pop into the theater beforehand, just to check.
For more info on Transhumance, call the St. Remy Tourist Office at +33 (0) 4 90 92 05 22. And don't miss their fun Transhumance video here.