the life and (drinking) times of phil chambers

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Qype: Course Camarguaise in Noves


Ever since I got into Hemmingway, I've always wanted to drink more absinthe, do more fishing, and go to a bullfight. On my recent trip to Provence, I got the chance to sort the latter out.

We were trundling along the road from Cabannes to St. Remy, which goes round the non-descript village of Noves. When traversing the town centre, we noticed a lot of cars parked around a stadium-type structure, which could have been a flapping track in the UK, were it not for the lack of flat caps and drizzle. To my amazement, there was a lorry parked outside with a ramp down leading into the arena, and I began to realise that we'd accidently stumbled across a bullfight!

Well, this 'course camarguaise' was just about to start, and after slightly struggling to find the ticket sales windows (about 3x3cm big - no bull would get through them), I practically sprinted through the gates and strove to get a decent vantage point.

The provencal-style game is not at all like the Spanish you might be fearing. A bull will be let into the arena, and a team of 8 tracking-sporting blokes of varying fitness will attempt to run past it, get chased, and try to prise a piece of string from around its horns without getting killed. They inevitably have to perform a death-defying leap out of the stadium towards the crowd with the bull in close pursuit, and indeed, it doesn't always stop there!

One particular beast was a little more feisty than the others and proceeded to jump out after one of the blokes, and nearly gored him through the back. I spoke to some of the other spectators there who told me they'd witnessed the very same last year, and the guy had died. So, it's not without its risks. Still - at 2€ for each ring off the horns - rich rewards!

A cracking afternoon out - I will remember this for years to come.

Check out my review of Course Camarguaise - I am filchambers - on Qype


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