Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Party Like a Shepherd on Monday June 10

Image result for transhumance st. remy 2019

Will ewe be there? Monday June 10 is the 36th 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. It's always the Monday of Pentecost and if you haven't seen it, it's great good fun. An all-day flea market, poster sale and goat-cheese fair starts at 9 am on the Place Republique; the Transhumance is set to start around 10:30 am but it's usually 11 am before the sheep get to town. To find parking, it's best to arrive by 9:30 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 at noon-ish) and the Repas des Bergers (Shepherds' Lunch). The event has become super popular and always sells out. I just called the Tourist Office and heard that a few last tickets will be sold this evening, from 6:30 to 8 pm in the parking lot of the swimming pool in St. Remy. After that, you might try to call this number (+33 6 84 21 34 20) and see if there's any space left but it's unlikely. Sometimes people let me know that they have extra tickets and if that happens, I'll stick the info in here. The feast is 30€ for adults and 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 Transhumance and the flea market happen in the heart of the village. The sheep-herding demo and the shepherds' lunch happen up on the Plateau de la Crau. 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. 

For more info on Transhumance, call the St. Remy Tourist Office at +33 (0) 4 90 92 05 22. Please note that their new website is currently under construction...and see their lovely Transhumance video here.

Photos: (1) Courtesy of Philippe Donnart. (2-4) Photos courtesy of Guy Butterssee more of his work here and here. (5) Photo courtesy of Shepherds' Lunch under the trees, courtesy of St. Remy Tourist Office. (7) This year's poster.