Some Great Autumn Fairs in the Hérault and Aude
After the blazing heat and fast pace of a Mediterranean summer, the autumn comes as a bit of a relief. The weather is ideal – mostly warm, sunny days in the high 20s but with a bit of a breeze and cooler nights. The beaches are emptier, the roads are quieter and you no longer have to book a table in most restaurants. The other great thing is the number of Autumn fairs and festivals in the Hérault and Aude. Here are a few of our favourites:
La Foire à la Brocante – Pézenas
The city of Pézenas has become a thriving city for antique dealers and second-hand goods dealers, with about 50 established year-round shops. Twice a year (the 1st Sunday in May and the 2nd Sunday in October) enthusiasts of old and forgotten objects and treasure hunters from yesteryear descend on the city to rummage through the “Grand Déballage” , a flea market that stretches almost a kilometre with more than 200 professional exhibitors. Furniture, old linen, jewellery, crockery, paintings, trinkets, art, watches, books, posters… the most varied objects are to be found there! This is our favourite of the autumn fairs in the Hérault and Aude
La Fête des Vendanges – Gruissan
In mid-October, as the colours of summer are gradually disappearing, giving way to autumnal shades of red and orange; in Gruissan, they’re celebrating the end of the wine harvest, honouring the vines and the hard work of the winegrowers. This moment of conviviality is accompanied by processions and folkloric events bringing together all generations. The people of Gruissan make this wine tradition known to even the youngest so that it is perpetuated for years to come.
La Fête de la Lucques – Bize Minervois
Every year on the 3rd Sunday in October, you can celebrate the arrival of the Lucques Nouvelle at Oulibo Olive Oil Co-operative in the beautiful little village of Bize Minervois. These are the highly-revered emblematic olives of this region. You will find entertainment for the whole family including traditional wooden games, culinary workshops, olive tastings, guided tours of the olive groves, pruning workshops, a large meal under the olive trees, and of course the infamous olive pit throwing competition (current target to beat – over 7 metres!)
Fête de la Châtaigne – Saint-Pons de Thomières
During the last weekend of October, the Haut-Languedoc village of Saint-Pons de Thomières celebrates one of its local products, the chestnut. On the menu, a series of festivities with musical entertainment, folk dances, a market of local products and, of course, chestnuts in all their forms. The chestnuts are roasted in great mesh drums over a brisk fire, and over the two days more than two tonnes will have been roasted and eaten. It has become one of the most visited fêtes in the region. Chestnuts were once a way of life in the region – where the grapes would not grow the chestnut trees would thrive, nourishing the population through the winter months, being rich in both starch and protein.
Cinemed – Montpellier
Cinemed or Montpellier International Festival of Mediterranean Cinema is an event that is eagerly awaited by the public. Each year during the last week of October, more than 250 films from the Mediterranean cinematographic production will be shown including feature films, short movies, documentaries and animated films as well as special nights, trailers and famous guests (actors, producers etc). Thousands of spectators and many professionals and journalists will be present to attend this memorable event. The Cinemed in Montpellier is the second largest French film festival after Cannes Film Festival.
European Heritage Days
On the 3rd Saturday and Sunday of September, you can visit a great number of tourist sites in Hérault and Aude for free or a reduced price. This is an opportunity to discover some unmissable places or sites that are rarely open to visitors. These include museums, abbeys, wineries, churches, art galleries and castles. One not to miss is the incredible “cathedral of Montouliers” – a local artist has turned his home into a work of art using intricate pieces of wood to give the illusion of a cathedral. You can find out the opening times directly or at the tourist office.
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If you’d like more inspiration for your trip to this wonderful area download this guide to 7 hidden gems
To find out about some of our favourite markets in the area you can download this handy guide