Local traditions and culture in Aquitaine

  • maison du vins de margaux
    maison du vins de margaux
    by gwened
  • the great Cos d'Estournel St Estéphe
    the great Cos d'Estournel St Estéphe
    by gwened
  • Sampling of wines from Libourne area
    Sampling of wines from Libourne area
    by Roadquill

Most Viewed Local Customs in Aquitaine

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    see vinyards of médoc from Bordeaux

    by gwened Updated Nov 15, 2013

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    i never take tours, so can only tells you is much better on your own. they have walking section to guide you on your own;the vinyards are done by bus from st jean train station to pauillac.i go there by car.

    there is the tram C to aubiers and then bus 705 to pauillac, 2 hrs trip. you can trace the trajects here in French
    http://transgironde.gironde.fr/ri/?rub_code=4

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    wine tours or visits to St Emilion

    by gwened Written Dec 24, 2012

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    AHH having too much red from the medoc forgot you mentioned st emilion, gamay base wines; the tours there are cheaper with
    http://www.taxi-lussac-winetour-stemilion.com/
    again never taken them, I drive on my own.

    other tours from the tourist office of St Emilion are
    http://www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com/uk/que-faire.html?idcat=4&idfiche=37

    and on your own, assuming you have no car, (pitty), you can get there from Bordeaux in little over an hour by tram A to Cenon and train from there to St Emilion, schedules here
    http://transgironde.gironde.fr/

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    Watch a corrida

    by kokoryko Updated Feb 2, 2008

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    “Death in the afternoon” is a book by Ernest Hemingway, not a novel but impressions and descriptions of the corrida world in Spain in the twenties. This book is an excellent introduction to corrida and all the people who live their aficion with passion. The world has changed, the look of the western world at this custom also; but this custom is very live in Spain and in Southern France. If you are “a priori “against bull fighting, be prepared to see some cruel images here, and do not see sadism, voyeurism or things like that; I do not promote corrida, it is just an account on a local custom.
    Let us have a very short look at this custom (Ah you may read a longer introduction in my illustrated thoughts travelogue, if you came here directly on this page).
    The corrida begins at “la cinco de la tarde” (5 in the afternoon, six now, with the summer time schedule) with the paseo, where all actors (except the bulls!) are presented in a parade in the arena, with music like the Pepita Creus paso doble. The main actors are the matadores (killers), then come the peones (helpers) who are toreros (they play with the bi-coloured cloth like the matador and there are banderilleros), then the picadores (riders with a lance), then the cleaners and other helpers.
    They are all leaded by the Alguazils (representatives) who will get the keys of the toril (the place where the bulls are locked) from the organisers who symbolically throw a key the riding Alguazil must catch.
    Six bulls will be killed by the three matadors in a usual corrida de toros.

    The tourist offices in Landes or Pyrenees Atlantiques give information for corridas.
    It can be expensive for big corridas like in Mont de Marsan, Dax, Bayonne. . . from 10 to 100 Euros depending the seats high in the sun is the cheapest, low ion the shade is the most expensive.

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    Small graveyards

    by Mique Updated Dec 14, 2007

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    In not too distant times protestants weren´t allowed to be buried in the village graveyards. Therefore you can see everywhere really small graveyards. Often on private property. The one that is on the property of my parents contains 4 graves. An old man comes a few times per year to attend them. He himself is around 70 and his grandparents and great/grandparents are buried there.

    Nowadays, you can´t be buried anymore in on of those tiny graveyards. But , if you see one, you now know why they´re there..

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    After and around

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    The sixth bull is dead, near the entrance, the toreros share their “emotions” of the afternoon, they meet their fans and prepare to go back to Spain for a new corrida.
    I am not sure they are really happy, looking at their faces when they come out from the arena;
    There is a chapel in the arena (picture 3) and they make a short stop there before the corrida (I am not sure the Virgin agrees with what they do), before looking closely to the death (even of an animal). You can see on the left side of the statuette a poster with the insignia (arms) of the ganaderos (bull breeders) who sell their bulls for the corridas of this year’s corridas; right, above the entrance is the insignia of the bulls of the day. On picture 4 the matador has a chat with his apodadero (impresario; I do not invent it, it is really him, with the blue scarf) and the peones.
    And the hero of the day is just taken to the slaughterhouse. . . . (last picture), anonymously. . . . and all is cleaned very quickly. . . Tomorrow, “The sun also rises”. . . . . , and a new corrida will take place.

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    It is all over.

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    The sword is deep in his neck, the peones make him turn, he will soon fall. The “undertakers team comes then with the mules to tug the bull away ; looking at the face of the mule driver, he seems not exactly happy of what he does, but who knows what he thinks?
    The matador made a “good job” and salutes the public who makes a standing ovation.
    Sincerely, I do not know what the public feels deeply; there are certainly all sorts of people, sadists, people coming to see cornadas and why not the death of a matador, many people go by tradition, more or less, and there are real aficionados, who know what happens, know the technical and artistic things happening down there. Is the public happy for the “performance”, or happy to have seen a drama, happy only to see a fight in a sports sense, happy to see an animal suffer and die, forgetting their everyday bothers, well a bit all of this probably. . . . I wrote in the travelogue I felt bad, not by sentimentality, after all, it is an animal, and I go to the butcher’s, but I hate to see useless suffering, and I like this kind or animals. (my parents offered me a heifer on a birthday when I was a kid, and it became a cow, and I took care many years of that animal; ah, I had no teddy bear or bear I could take with me everywhere and as a companion or confident)

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    La faena (continued)

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    The toro is exhausted, the “natural” passes are slower, and the bull, after, does almost not anymore “want” to fight and the matador, turns his back to the bull, demonstrating his domination on the animal; Then comes the sword; it is a pathetic time, as all will be finished very soon; it is also, by the way the most dangerous moment for the matador, as he has to be close to the bull and from face; great matadors died from cornadas (hits by the horn) at this very moment. I show it only from far. The killing can be “clean” but also sometimes the matador has to make several tries, which is really difficult to bear, and it makes a bad conclusion to a faena.

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    Tercio Tres, la faena

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    During the faena, the matador guides the bull with the muleta, a red cloth, hanging on a stick and the sword.
    During the first part of this phase the matador shows his “skills” to guide the bull, make him fight in rhythm, make him build a sort of a death choregraphy; if it is good, the music plays. At the beginning, the bull is still strong and runs fast, jumps, charges quickly (first pictures), then he goes slower, the matador makes figures sometimes kneeing (picture 4) and makes him turn around him, slowly, almost quiet and peaceful (picture 5).
    The bull fighting for nothing, gets soon exhausted and then comes the last part of the faena, the death of the bull (next tip).

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    Tercio Dos

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    Now comes the cavalry, with the picadores. The bull is “guided at the right moment to the horse which it charges; the picador pushes his lance in the neck of the animal who does not leave pressure if he is “brave”. This cruel operation is mainly (in tauromachic technical vision) intended the test the bravery of the bull and the weaken him, particularly his neck. There is a crosspiece on the lance which prevents it to deepen further than 15 cm, in order not to kill the bull immediately. . . . The bleeding begins. . . .
    Then come the banderilleros who will pick their banderillas (wooden sticks with harpoon shaped iron heads) on the neck of the bull. It is a very spectacular (and dangerous) operation where the toreros need skill and speed. Well, it is a really sporty, adrenaline generating thing, but, cruel, exciting the bull, animating him for fighting. On the last picture, the bull is “ready” for the faena, the most important part of the corrida, in tercio tres.

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    Tercio Uno

    by kokoryko Written Aug 7, 2007

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    Six bulls will be fought in the afternoon; the corrida lasts for 2 hours, so each bull has about 20 minutes to live when he comes in the arena.
    For each bull the fight is divided into three thirds (tercios): entrance of the bull and testing the bull with the capa, the wide pink and yellow cloth. If the bull is willing, and the skill full torero, makes him run, turn around him with veronicas and gaoneras, the most current “passes” of this phase. This Tercio Uno is generally short and finishes with a trumpet music announcing Tercio Dos.

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    Ahem... the Fête des Ours

    by aaaarrgh Written Feb 15, 2005

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    Well, I only hope the Virtual Tourist censors don't read this tip!!!!!

    Every February the city of Pau stages the Fête des Ours. This is a popular event watched by families from the roadside. The pictures made my jaw drop :-))

    Men disguise themselves as brown bears. They rampage down the street with ...erm how can I say? Well... large male organs hanging around their waists. Artificial, I hope. They proceed to drag women from the crowd to 'have their wicked way' with them. Only symbolically, of course :-)

    The event has something to do with hunting, and hibernation. And randy bears.

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    Those strange but pretty Béarnais roofs

    by aaaarrgh Updated Jan 1, 2005

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    Roofs on houses and farms in Béarn are very different from anywhere else. They are often very steep, but the bottom near the eaves curves outwards to become shallow! Like a BIG hat.

    Béarnais houses are often built using the large round stones (galet)from the river beds. Rivers in Béarn are called 'Gave's'. They wash tons of stone and rock down from the Pyrénées. It is the most accessible and plentiful material for building.

    But the walls are not too strong because of this. The story is that the curved eaves take the pressure off the walls.

    Personally, as an architect I am not totally convinced of this reason. A roof is a roof and the walls still have to carry this load.

    More likely to be the reason for the characteristic eaves are the heavy rain and hail showers that come from the mountains. Béarnais roofs do not require guttering (though it helps!) because the shape directs the water off the roof quickly.

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Aquitaine Local Customs

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