The Maintenance Festival

Initiated by Frédéric Mistral, the Maintenance Festival occurs every year in many Provençal villages. In Camargue and especially in Saintes Maries de la Mer, this festivity takes on a particuliar character since this event, created to "maintain"( as its name says ) the traditions, occurs at the very heart of Camargue. It is the opportunity to honour horses and bulls but more particularly to the "provençal language" and to the traditional costume.

During this day, there is a big parade where "gardians" (cowboys) and Arlesian women in traditional costume walk in procession with the sound of "galoubet" (flute) and tambourin played by a group of local musicians.

A ceremony in front of the Mireille statue pays tribute to Frédéric Mistral. The "abrivado" has its place here, as well as the "roussataïo" that offers the traditional breeders of the Camargue horse the opportunity to present their brood mares by taking them through the village. Finally, a big Camargue bull-run takes place in the afternoon in the arenas to honour the "manades" (livestock) and their best-known bulls.