La Fête De La Charette


A charette is a cart, in the old days usually two-wheeled and pulled by handles. But in this case, because it would be sort of silly to hold an entire festival in honor of of a two-wheeled pull-cart, it’s the cart that brings the grapes in from the vineyards, to be blessed, then crushed, then made into wine. And in the little town of Montfrin, they really know how to hold a fête de la charette.


The morning began with a super parade, and believe me when I tell you that this little girl, with her tiny charette in which she pulled a small chicken, was the hit of the day. I’ve never heard so much oohing and aahing in France before.

More predictably, but still wonderfully, there were:




school children,

IMG_8129mothers with babies,

IMG_8103couples looking as old as the hills, and lots and lots of animals.




IMG_8124Right, these guys are herding geese, and as I heard one lady say


Faire défiler les oies, c’est pas évident.” Getting geese to parade, nicely and in formation, not an easy task. As you can see, a lot of sticks were involved, but no one hit the geese, they just kept them kind of caged in.

IMG_8141 After the parade there was a Mass in Provençale, even though Montfrin isn’t really in Provence. Actually, the costumes were Provençale too, I guess because we’re so close to Provence here and the line is somewhat arbitrary. We didn’t attend the Mass, but we were waiting outside the church

IMG_8159when the wine that had been blessed was carried out. These two look like they’re making off with it, but I think it was served later in the day. There was such a huge crowd around the apéritif table that we decided to sit calmly in a café nearby and pay for our wine, unblessed though it was.


From our café seats we watched people have a large communal lunch, the highlight of which was sausages cooked in moût de raisin, which is the grape must and detritus left after crushing the grapes. The sausages looked intriguing, but since the rest of the meal consisted of a huge boiled potato and a boiled carrot, all plunked on a paper plate, we decided that watching was probably more fun than eating.


And there was plenty to watch, including a long and very pretty dance program.




IMG_8203Finally, there was a brocante, which is a sort of second hand market, where we again looked at but did not buy all sorts of cool things.




And if “look but don’t touch” is seeming like it was the watchword of the day, witness these really cute guys


who, you guessed it, got exactly that same treatment. It was a beautiful day in Montfrin, a tiny town that we’d never before had reason to visit, and will now always remember fondly.

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7 Comments on “La Fête De La Charette”

  1. Barbara Jacquin Says:

    How did I miss that one? Looks like fun!

  2. Rosa de los Vientos Says:

    Lovely post. But I would have tried that sausage with the potato and the carrot. 😀

  3. Char Says:

    A beautiful photo-essay, Abra. I just went from watching CNN and the nonsense going on to reading your post. Talk about from the ridiculous to the sublime…..

  4. Edye Says:

    Hard to believe places like this stil exist. So glad I get to live vicariously through your postings!

  5. Sandra Says:

    We have gone to France two to three times a year for most of 30 years. This fete really took me back to much of what we love about France. I wish to you would stay in France so you can send stories and pictures about all your adventures so I can enjoy them vicariously.

  6. SheleChepard Says:

    Lovely, Abra, just lovely. And as Char says above, hard to believe we’re all living on the same planet. I envy your trip and wish you the most fun ever. Chele

  7. […] do here, blessing the most worldly of things. I’ve seen piments d’Espelette blessed, wine grapes blessed, and before the Pastorale just before Christmas even the animals were taken to the Cathedral to be […]

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