Saturday, June 18, 2011


More photos here
This afternoon in Saintes Maries de la Mer.. Neither man nor beast was physically hurt here..


Eleven euro bought me a ticket for the 2 hour bull fighting display in the arena at Saintes Maries on a very hot Saturday afternoon. The contest here, bloodless (at least for the bull), is between a succession of bulls going solo against the same set of 14 young men, known as raseteurs. The raseteur uses a small tool to snatch a band or rosette which is tied to the base of each long horn.
One of two of the men attract the sometimes stamping bellowing bull while the runner makes his usually curved move hoping to surprise the bull but the bull gets up enormous speed over a matter of metres and usually the runner makes his jump out of the arena with inches to spare, sometimes with nothing at all! It is spectacular and skilful and the moves by the runners and even the bulls are quite athletic.
There is a roughly similar form of entertainment over on West Coast (in the Landes area). This is much more varied, more entertaining, with clowns involved and the more serious players jumping over the charging animal. But the big difference here is that cows are used instead of the bulls of the Camargue.
For more on bull fighting in France, which also includes (at the bigger arenas such as Arles) the Spanish style fight to the death, see here 

Bull breaks into "safe" area