Nîmes notes

a picture diary from a Roman town in the south of France


Marie Sara, boutique and rejoneadora

mariesaraFor me, Marie Sara had so far been a name of a clothes shop in Nîmes (40 rue Madeleine). But a couple of days ago I learned who is the person Marie Sara, when she entered on the Arenes of Nîmes riding her horse alongside with Paco Ojeda. As Marie Sara is a famous French rejoneadora, one of the few female horseback bullfighter. She had received her alternative in Nîmes in 1991, and now she was there for the ceremony of the young rejoneadora, Léa Vicens.

I’m not sure if the clothing shop is Marie Sara’s (real name Marie Bourseiller) own business or not, but at least now I became curious. The clothes sold are quite elegant, the little that I’ve checked. Here is a picture of Marie Sara the rejoneadora in Nîmes this feria:




Last of the Feria des Vendanges 2013

feria_drummerThe Feria des Vendanges has finished for this year. The bandas have gone home, bar tents are taken down. It’s time to clean up and get back to normal life. But before that, let’s take a quick look of yesterdays events and the feria atmosphere as seen on the streets of Nîmes. At least some of it!

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farandoleToday was the last day of Feria des Vendanges, or the harvest festival. After seeing two corridas yesterday (Léa Vicens, Paco Ojeda and the magnificent Diego Ventura  in the morning and a “mano à mano” by El Juli and the triumphant José Mari Manzanares in the evening), today I just strolled around the town.

First I went to see another abrivado, but as I’ve posted pictures of it twice, I’ll pass it this time. After that there was a folklore parade. The local dance and music is called farandole, and I think it’s really beautiful and often also very humoristic! If you have a chance, do go and see it. The music, the wear… everything is so pretty.



Léa Vicens at the amphitheatre of Nîmes

lea vicensToday was a special day for Nîmes: The nîmoise Léa Vicens received her alternative and became a legitimate rejoneadora (horseback bullfighter). She was superb: brave, courageous, elegant, beautiful, skillful, humorous and always smiling. Her parrain was Paco Ojeda, a legend, and the star of corrida de réjon (horseback bullfight), Diego Ventura  appeared on the arena with her. Léa Vicens got one ear, while Ventura a total of three ears and one tail (which are the trophees in the corrida).



abrivadoThe Feria des Vendanges (harvest festival) started today, and in the evening I went to see the abrivado. I didn’t bring my camera though; it was getting dark, and sometimes it’s nice just to observe. The picture is of last year.

The abrivado of today took place at the Boulevard Amiral Courbet – it’s a long avenue, where once stood the Medieval city wall. Now it was lined by metal fences, behind which the audience is supposed to stay… but actually the fun is to get in, on the street, to see better, and to test your guts… And when the gardians (Camargue cowboys) gallop with their beautiful, white horses leading the young bulls that the young kids try to stop, you will have to give way…

I love the atmosphere of the abrivado. Children are so excited, scared and fascinated at the same time, by the animals and the handsome gardians. Adults, too. People here have grown up with all this. To me, a foreigner and an observer, it is so amazing. There’s magic in the air, that’s for sure.

(When I chose this picture [yes, it happens all so fast that it’s difficult to focus], I noticed that there’s someone lying down on the street. I never noticed that before. What had happened? Just opposite the street? Nothing serious, I think, as I don’t remember the whole thing…)

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Man with a newspaper

When I still had my bicycle (now it’s stolen and someone else is driving it), I used to pass this man at around noon near the Arena. There he was, every day, sitting on a bench and reading a newspaper. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, as nowadays I walk and take a different route. Till the feria. After the Castella–El Juli match, when musicians were playing and flamenco dancers performing on the street next to Arena… There he was, the man with his newspaper, happy, enjoying, laughing and participating the festivities, in his own silence. I’m afraid he noticed I took the photo, as suddenly he calmed down. Never looked at me, continued to watch the flamenco dancers. I hope I didn’t spoil his moment.


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After a (historical) corrida

One more picture from the feria, before getting back to normal life. The spanish matador José Tomás performed perfectly yesterday at the Roman arena of Nîmes: 11 ears, 1 tail and 1 indulto! The ears and the tail represent trophees, and the indulto means that the bull has been so brave and performed (together with the torero) so well that it will leave the arena alive.

This picture is from outside of the arena, where people waited for Tomás after the corrida. And there were so many! Everyone wanted to see the star, get a little glimpse of him, and show their appreciation to him. He was soon rushed to his van and taken away, but the festive atmosphere continued. Music, singing, dancing… The little girl with Tomás’ picture caught my eye, she was so cute.