20 February 2012


There is always something going on in our little corner of France.  Every weekend there is some kind of festival or a market to visit.

One of the great things about these events is that they are, in my experience so far, free.  You turn up and park your car for free, you enter the site for free and if you don’t buy anything you have had an afternoon’s entertainment for free.  So different to here in Derbyshire where you will have to pay through the nose to park and get in, you will pay way over the odds for a snack or a drink and it will probably be raining as well.


One of the events we happened across by accident last year was the goat’s cheese festival at Sainte-Maure.


It was on the last day of our May/June holiday and we had treated ourselves to a nice lunch at the fish restaurant at Pouzay, where saw a poster advertising the event.  We had yet to pack and organise ourselves for going back home but Saint-Maure was just up the road so we thought, why not?


It was a baking hot day.  Well, baking hot for us anyway, our car registered 32°C as we parked (for free) and strolled up to the village trying to stay in the shade.

As usual, the event took over the whole village.  The main road through was not closed, and this is all we had ever seen before of Sainte-Maure.  Usually we just drove through on our way to Tours.  Once we left the main road and entered the old village we found a lovely place with all the charm of a typical Touraine village.


It was a huge festival.  There were cheese sellers galore with lots of fabulous looking cheeses on display.  Unfortunately we were heading home the next day so we thought it would be silly to buy any.  We have made that mistake before, arriving home with a car smelling very ripe and something alive and furry being the cause of it.  (Not Lulu, I hasten to add.)

goat5 goat6 goat7

There were also plenty of stalls selling scary sausages.  We resisted those for the same reason.

 goat8 goat9 goat9a There were lots of farmyard animals on display, goats, pigs, cows and chickens.  The chickens with the special hairdos.

goat9b There was the usual obligatory selection of old tractors and cars proudly displayed.

goat9c There was music to add to the entertainment.


And dressing up.  The French love dressing up, it seems.  We couldn’t quite figure this one out but it was fun to see.


And of course, the speeches.  We understood a few words but I guess it was along the lines of winners of best cheese and thanks to the lady who organised the flowers, perhaps.  How these people survived in these robes in that heat amazed us.  The attire may be traditional but if it was up to me I would have put them in a lighter summer version of the outfit.

The village was set out for the festivities to continue into the evening but as we got home the sun went in, the skies clouded over and we had a tremendous thunderstorm mid evening.  I don’t know if the event continued through it or not.

We really enjoyed our afternoon there and didn’t spend a single euro.  Which is just as well as lunch set us back a fair bit.  We are hoping to be able to go to the same event this year, if we have timed our holidays right, and next time we will be ready to buy some of the lovely cheese on sale.


  1. What a cheesy festival, Jean. And using your camera, you got several peoples' goats in the process. Thanks for the little tour. Fun, as always.

  2. Ooooh, those little piglets are so adorable.

    When I first came to the UK I was flabbergasted that you had to pay to go to a church fete or most other fair-like activities put on to raise money. But I suppose it's all what you are used to doing...

  3. This looks like such a great festival. I remember when all of a sudden one year we had to start paying for the Art Festival and the Harvest Festival in California. I refuse to go if I have to pay to go into an area to pay for someone's wares. Such a Scrooge I am. Anyway, this all looks so perfect.

  4. That really sounds like fun. I think you have more entertainment than we do, but as you say there is always a market or something going on.
    We cycled to France from the UK about 9 years ago with the Cycle Club. Nigel bought some cheese at the market!!! We stopped at a B & B on our way home in the UK and we had to apologise for the smell in the room. Very embarrassing!!! :) Diane

  5. All the villages round here make efforts like this as well. I hope the traditions carry on, and that they do not sink into commercialism as they have done in the UK. Was that a stuffed goat I saw on one of the stalls, or a toy one? Lol!

  6. What a great way to end a visit! And nice to see that Ste Maure does have more on offer than the --now revamped-- old route national which was always pretty charm free.

  7. I love the local fetes communales in France as well as the more specialised ones like this. Of course they aren't like church fetes in the UK as they are not primarily for fund-raising. At our fete in France the charge made for lunch covers the cost of the rest of the day's festivities.

  8. hummm this gives me an idea for a "chicken" festical in Trelawnyd!

  9. The little events that you stumble across in your travels sometimes become the most memorable in our experience. Nice post.

  10. Oh, this looks like so much fun. And I want that huge goat (carving? assemblage?) for my house... and, and the cheese!