Today I discover the atmosphere of the famous Monday of Saint Louis, the great celebration of the city of Sète.
We meet in the morning with our friends in the town hall square, or as the Sète people also call it "Place du Poufre "*. We're waiting for the famous "macaronade"! Players and Sète eat this dish for occasions or on Sundays with the family, but especially before the Languedoc jousting tournaments.
Tomato sauce, sausage, me who dressed in white for the occasion, watch out for the stains!
And hop the time to swallow a small coffee, the parade of jousters is set up, in front of the town hall, I decide to follow this walk to the rhythm of the peña, drums and oboe. The jousters are going to fight!
They are ready, dressed in white, heading for the canal, ready to board.
I settle in the stands, the atmosphere is at its height, the Blue Bellies (Frontignan supporters) are in place and very motivated. I am told that it is the only tournament of the festival open to players from other cities, so the fans are present this Monday to cheer on his own.
The waltz of the boats opens this tournament, as every year by tradition.
The first pass... it's impressive, the length of the spear (2.80 meters), the height of the floor (where the jouster stands), the rowers. They qualify over the afternoon, but you still have to get three opponents in the water, which is not an easy task.
The hours pass, it is 8pm, we arrive at the grand finale of this "heavy" category. It's impressive, the crowd is there, the applause, each city encourages its jouster. The pressure is mounting, who will win the St. Louis?
* "Poufre" is also the name that the Sète people give to the octopus
A brief history
The 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.