Pentecôte Monday means party time in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The highlight of the day’s festivities is the treasured tradition called the transhumance—the spring relocation of thousands of sheep and goats to higher pastures for the summer. Before the animals take on the trek, they mark the occasion by running around the town’s péripherique, which circles the historic center. Herders, young and old, dressed in simple traditional dress, guide the animals as they swiftly execute a pair of laps to the delight of thousands of onlookers, from tots to troisième âge folks, and everybody in between. It’s a genuine, family affair.
Youthful herders show the sheep how it’s done.
A modest, unadorned, donkey-driven cart leads the parade.
Strong and fit, madame shepherd marches with ease.
Spectacular goat horns and humongous bells stun little sisters.
A toddler takes advantage of the break between sheep laps to advance his reading skills.
After the parade, the fun continues on the Place de la République, where you can barter for bells.
Also, there are objets d’art to discover like this whimsical, brightly striped, six-foot high molded canine.
In front of the Hôtel de Ville, vendors ply their wares—a variety of fromage, lavender sachets and all manner of chapeaux.
Admiration is due the boldly hued, cleverly designed, natural fiber containers and purses.
What sheep celebration would be complete with billowy super hero balloons, squirt pistols and spinners on a stick? They made for a festive and playful 35th transhumance in Saint-Rémy.
2 thoughts on “Hail to the Sheep!”
Such fun! I will be there next year. Wonderful photos. Your words and photos take us there. Thank you.
Beautiful photos Gayle. It must be an amazing experience to be part of this historic event. Love the images of the sheep bells – and the straw hats! Kind regards