Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fundraiser for Camargue Cowboys April 3

Let's give it up for the Gardians! On Sunday April 3 at Domaine Paul Ricard de Méjanes, the Rotary Club des Baux de Provence is hosting a full-day event to raise funds for the Mutual Insurance de la Confrèrie (brotherhood) de Camargue, which supports the men and women who work the manades (ranches) of the Camargue region of Provence. The Mutual is a supplement, not unlike the one used for mountain guides, which helps with expenses following a serious work accident and assists the families of those who are handicapped or deceased. 

"This is a serious undertaking and we hope this event will find a place on the Camargue calendar each year," says Larry Ware, vice president of the Rotary. "This 'day in the country' will help all of us to better appreciate these amazingly passionate and devoted people. It will also help visitors discover the Camargue 'profonde' and hopefully create a closer bond with this remarkable and authentic region of France and its people."

Larry advises turning up at Méjanes before 10 am. The day begins in the Arena (plaza) at 10:15 with a demo of the "Course Camarguaise," a traditional bull sport. This will be followed by a bullfighting demo by a young Camargue bullfighter; neither bulls nor men will be hurt! Next comes a display by the gardians about how they work with the cows (not bulls this time). At 11:30 the Amazones (a group of women on horseback) will exhibit their equestrian expertise. An apertif and lunch will be served in the restaurant at 12:15. 

After lunch comes a rare event: The Queen of Arles and a number of Arlesiennes will demonstrate and discuss the evolution of these traditional and unique outfits. From 2:30 to 4 pm, there will be “a round table” where a Camargue dignitaries, ranch owners and gardians will field questions. There will also be multiple activities for kids of all ages. 

Tickets are 29€ for adults, 15€ for teens; free for kids under 12. Ticket price includes all events plus lunch with wine and coffee.

All entrance fees and tombola (raffle) earnings go directly to the Mutual Insurance de la Confrerie des Gardians de Camargue.

For questions:, 06 19 05 31 90.

Larry asked me to mention that the Rotary Club of Les Baux is always looking for new international members, both expats and part-timers.  "We have a number of English speaking French and Belgian members," he says, "so language won't be too much of a problem."

And for info on upcoming bullfights and competitions in the region, click here.

Photos: A few of my favorite Gardian shots (courtesy of the Manades Jacques Bon and Hotel Mas de Peintand a graceful Arlesienne on a white Camargue horse (courtesy of Domaine Paul Ricard). The map shows where in the Camargue the April 3 fundraiser will be held. The poster is easier to read if you click on it. 


  1. Hi Julie, I can't attend this wonderful event but would like to contribute by buying a ticke or sending a donation. Do you know who I should contact? Thank you for posting this great story. Jacqueline

    1. Jacqueline, what a wonderful message. Ask Larry Ware. If you're in France, you can call him...or if not, you can email him:, 06 19 05 31 90. Thanks! :)



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