The Languedoc nautical joust, a tradition of the Thau Archipelago.
The Languedoc games take place mainly, from June to September, on the canals of Languedoc, in particular the "Cadre Royal" of Sète. In some cities, jousting can be organised in the port, as in Mèze, or on a body of water, such as the Thau pond in Balaruc.
Saint Louis mondayThe bravest wake up at dawn to keep the seats in the stands for family and friends.
In the late morning, on the canal, buoys and boats will appear, the children especially have fun diving and swimming in the canal, all gathered, they will spend the day by the water.
Some, including the players, will eat the macaronade, as is traditional, in white, the aim being not to get stained. Start the parade on the "pouffre" square which will advance to the Royal Framework. From there, jousters, rowers, helmsmen and musicians prepare to board the boats. One oboe and one drum per boat, one helmsman, and eight to ten rowers.
It is at 2pm that the tournament begins, with a beautiful waltz of the boats and a first greeting from the players.
The winner is the one who stays on the tintaine, but to qualify you still have to "put three men in the water", as they say. The great winner of the Saint Louis Day is awarded the prize in the town hall square. The jousting company that won this award will celebrate the victory of its jouster!
Tournament calendarFind the different dates of the tournaments organised in the Thau Archipelago: here.
A brief historyThe jousting tournaments are preceded by a parade of players, all dressed in "white", accompanied by traditional music. The players are then invited to get on the tintaine to start the tournament. At the time of the assault, the two boats (red and blue) grazed each other on the right to allow the players to make the "pass" using the "bulwark" and the "spear". It is won by the jouster who remains in place on this tintaine.
In August, during one week, the Saint Louis Festival (Sète's patron saint's day), offers spectacular jousting tournaments!
This festival has existed since the creation of the port of Sète on 29 July 1966, it is also the day on which the first Languedoc jousting tournament took place in Sète.