Languedocís biggest wine harvest festival returns

12th September, 2016
The thriving town of Nimes is home to one of Languedoc-Roussillonís biggest wine harvest festivals, the Feria des Vendanges, which will this year be held from September 15-18. If youíre planning on a visit, many of our south of France villas are located nearby.

Since 1952, Nimes has held two ferias every year, with the first feria, the Feria de Pentecote, held every May. In total, more than a million people visit the city every year to attend the ferias. The Feria des Vendanges is held every September and celebrates the annual wine harvest. Although several wine harvest festivals are held throughout France at this time of year, this is one of the best and most colourful.

The Feria des Vendanges is much more a family affair than the earlier feria, though everyone is still welcome to join in with the festivities, which include food, music, dancing, processions and the famous bull fights. It begins with an extravagant opening parade, where dazzling dancers, live music and colourful, illuminated floats make their way through the city streets, eventually arriving at the great Roman amphitheatre. After the procession, the city is treated to a truly spectacular firework display which lights up the entire night sky.

The main event of the Feria is the bullfighting, which is something of a tradition in the Languedoc region. Despite the sport often being associated with Spain, bullfighting has taken place in Nimes since the early 19th century, with the Arena of Nimes being the venue hosting the bullfighting during the event.

Even if watching the bullfighting is not your thing, thereís still plenty going on across the event days for visitors to get involved with. Beautiful white Camargue horses put on a stunning show in the glorious Jardins de la Fontaine, making for a sight not to be missed, while delicious local wine and sangria is always flowing perfect for enjoying while watching the live entertainment. By night, the streets of the city become one big party. Bodegas set up shop temporarily along the many streets and squares, with music and merriment resounding throughout this beautiful Roman city.

Image: sanfamedia.com, available under Creative Commons