Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Day of Transhumance

Fifty days after Easter is Pentecost, however, fifty-one days after Easter is Transhumance.  So?  Travel to St. Rémy de Provence on the Monday after Pentecost and you will find a brocante (flea market), food vendors, and crowds anxiously waiting....
for the arrival of the sheep being taken to the high valleys surrounding St. Rémy.  We arrived early as parking is difficult and found the absolutely perfect place to perch, the steps to a most beautiful church.  Here we could stand high above the crowds with no one to obstruct our view of the herds that were to arrive.  Alas, many others arrived and surrounded the passageway and all we saw were....now look carefully....gray backs following other gray backs.
After several hundred had passed we darted along the walks to attempt to get ahead of them and find that other perfect place where we could really see them pass.  We were successful!
The shepherdess joined in the journey
to guide the sheep.  A wagon with the provisions for the trip carried a bonbonne, a large wicker covered glass container, filled with wine.
Burros carried other supplies for the summer in the mountains.
 The sheep, with their thick wool coats, trudged along in the heat of the day.
Of course, the rams were included in the group.
If you are ever near St. Remy at this time, do join the festivities.  It is quite fun to see the old traditions continue.
 If was quite fun until walking down the street I noticed the menus for the day...
The selections for the day, agneau----or lamb.