Fete de la Transhumance

Published on September 30, 2013

Every year -- all over the world -- the changing of the seasons means that animals are taken from lowlands where folage is becoming scare to higher grounds-- mountainous areas--graze for the summer. Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people and cattle: images of cross-border journeys, changing seasons and the ties between humans, horses and nature. It is about migration, memory, mobility and multiplicity. France has a festival called the Fete de la Transhumance which takes place in late May and early June.

woman with three black cantering horses 13


This many-centuries-old tradition was no exception this year: after a two-week journey through the countryside of Provence, hundreds of horses, sheep and goats were herded through the streets of Marseille -- the ancient sea port in southern France -- en route to their mountain summer homes. It is a truly magnificent annual sight. What is even better (for some enthusiasts and adventure seekers) it that you can sign up, be part of the ride and camp with them along the way.

To view this spectacular sight, watch this video -- but do come back to see more! http://bit.ly/1bjCq6f

woman facing with three horses


woman, three horses and hundreds of sheep in downtown Marseille

The horses used to lead the Transhumance procession look like the hardy black breed from the Langdeoc regions (near the Spanish border). Elegant, strong, muscular, these were initially mountain horses but are used increasingly more often as sporting horses.


The majority of the other horses you see are the horses from the Camargue. The Camargue is the salty marshes on the southern coast of France:









11 6


Interested in finding out more about the riding trails and participating in the Transhumance? http://bit.ly/18jTzLU

Here is a list of the people who supply the horses: http://bit.ly/17iDyX1

And, to get in to training for this ride, http://northernlightsequine.ca/contact-us-directions-photos/


Still interested in reading more? The excerpt below describes this year's ride:

“The clouds of dust we raise will incorporate dust from other movements and migrations, both past and future. It will be you, it will be me, but actually it will be us. I want to be a herd of animals – moving, swept along, united.”Excerpt from the TransHumance manifesto

TransHumance is a poetic initiative with many implications. It is not a performance. It is an experience, a piece of artwork to be created together. It is about taking to time to travel at the pace of animals, passing through exceptional natural areas, urban centres and industrial zones. Imagining that this procession will change our perspective on the region and how we live together.

Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people and cattle. It calls up images of cross-border journeys, changing seasons and the ties between humans and nature. It is about migration, memory, mobility and multiplicity. These historical and anthropological ideas have all contributed to a poetic and metaphoric project. By travelling together for a while, we can break down the barriers that separate us.

On the other side of the Alps, horses and men will begin walking. On the other side of the Mediterranean, animals and men will also begin walking. Morocco and Italy are the project’s guests of honour. The Italian procession will set off from Cuges-les-Pins, the Moroccan procession from Salin-de-Giraud and the Provence procession from Chateaurenard. These three movements will meet in a natural area – the Plaine de la Crau at the Domaine Départemental de l’Etang des Aulnes. They will then then travel to Marseille, where they will make nature a part of the European Capital of Culture.

At each stage of the journey, we will take part in Animaglyphes. This means drawing in the landscape with animals. As we cross some of the region’s symbolic landscapes, we will create choreographies that can only seen by birds. Each animaglyphe will be photographed from above. These aerial views will be used to create a patchwork image of the region as TransHumance moves through the landscape.

This minimalist piece of artwork is an intimate experience for all. Featuring the latest technologies, the images created will be used to develop different poetic voices on a “global stage”, which includes social networks, the internet, film and multimedia initiatives. TransHumance is a procession of over 600 kilometres linking 40 communes, 6 parks and reserves, 3 countries and 2 continents.

The Centaur, who incarnates the meeting of man and animal, society and wilderness and humans and nature, will lead this modern-day and mythical journey.

Camille & Manolo
Théâtre du Centaure

Leave a Comment