Autumn - Enjoy Popular Festivals and Traditions

Chestnut Festivals

Every autumn in Provence, the chestnut is celebrated in many villages. It is a question of putting this fruit with its sweet flavours in the limelight! It is an opportunity to bring together chestnut growers, craftsmen and artists in a convivial atmosphere.


The most famous festival takes place in Collobrières, in the Var. Every year, on the last three Sundays of October, the capital of the Maures massif, also known as the capital of the chestnut, organises this great local festival, with the main players from the surrounding villages. On the programme, a large producers' market, local products and crafts. It is possible to enjoy a walk in the chestnut grove on reservation. Among the interesting activities, naturalist guides offer guided nature walks in connection with local products such as mushrooms, and around the colours of autumn. Not to be missed if you want to enjoy this magnificent season!
Information at the Tourist Office: 04 94 48 08 00.

Other Chestnut Festivals are organised every year in Gonfaron, La Garde-Freinet, Les Mayons or Pignans. 

Other Chestnut Festivals:
In the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence:

  • In Revest-de-Bion: usually the festival takes place at the end of October. The town welcomes every year lovers of authentic taste and local products. A pleasure that is constantly renewed, since more than 10,000 visitors gather to pick chestnuts in the orchards and taste hundreds of roasted chestnut cones. Not counting those who prefer to eat them in other forms: cakes, breads, jams, drinks, etc.
    Note: this year, 2022, an Autumn Fair is planned for 30 October, instead of the usual Festival.
    Information on 06 40 31 74 69 or [email protected]
  • In Fugeret: in November, to taste chestnuts from the commune but also a market with derivatives of this fruit (chestnut cream, with varieties of cream such as the marriage of pear and chestnut, pink pepper and chestnut without forgetting the chestnut honey very much appreciated by the amateurs). You can also enjoy roasted chestnuts.

In the Alpes-Maritimes:

  • In Cagnes-sur-Mer: around 20 November, the Chestnut Festival is in full swing. A family outing not to be missed to discover the land and traditions of the Haut-Pays. Numerous free activities await you each year at Place Charles-de-Gaulle and Cours du 11-Novembre from 10 am to 6 pm: local market, old-fashioned trades, animal parade, musical activities... Children will be able to discover the educational farm, donkey and pony rides, not forgetting the two ecological "people-powered" merry-go-rounds. The Chestnut Festival is also 1 ton of roasted chestnuts on site: free tasting from noon!
    Information on 04 93 20 61 64 or on the website

In the Bouches-du-Rhône:

  • In Martigues: around October 15th, Martigues celebrates the chestnut. On the programme: activities such as the weighing of a filled basket, a brass band and traditional dances. Many stands offer roasted chestnuts, chestnut cream, marrons glacés and other local products! For all gourmets!
    Information on 04 42 44 33 07.

In the Var:

  • In Camps-la-Source: the Chestnut and Local Products Festival takes place around 20 October, to taste, smell and enjoy the products present - pumpkin, chestnut, honey, etc. at the large market organised for the event.
    Information: 06 73 65 73 46.

In the Alpes-Maritimes:

  • In Saint-Paul-de-Vence: the Fête des Vendanges et des Châtaignes usually takes place around 20 October. It offers a large market of local producers. You can find local products such as honey, foie gras, charcuterie, socca, jams, vegetables, breads, biscuits, cheeses, etc. There are also stands for tasting and selling wine from the winegrowers of the Pays Vençois. You can drink mulled wine and enjoy roasted chestnuts all day long! Information at the Tourist Office: 04 9 32 86 95.

Celebrations around Vines and Wine

In Provence, wine culture is a traditional and ancestral art. Vineyards shape a large part of the Provençal landscape and wine is an integral part of the popular culture and identity of Provence. It is not surprising that it is the subject of numerous festivals. At the end of the summer, the festivities mark the beginning of the grape harvest...

If you are staying in Provence, there is bound to be a wine or grape harvest festival in a village or town near you in autumn. Favour festivals that involve the village, the local winegrowers and all the inhabitants of the area.

The main wine events are

In the Var:

  • In Draguignan: le Salon Autour du Vin et des Terroirs, which takes place around 20 October and lasts two days, gives the opportunity to discover local know-how and taste local products at the large local market. About a hundred exhibitors are waiting for you. The great vineyards and proprietors' estates come together alongside oil mills, cheese makers, beekeepers and craftsmen of ceramics, earthenware, pottery, wood and leather, etc. to reveal the excellence of these productions, the charm of this territory which embodies the Provencal art of living.

The agriculture area offers a "vineyards and discoveries" stand, for tastings of Provence wines. For children, from 4 years old, a space "from the grape to the wine" proposes animations around the professions of wine growing and a tasting of grape juice.

The show takes place at the Espace des Collettes, in Draguignan.
Information: 04 98 10 51 05.

  • In Bandol: the Vintage Festival traditionally takes place on the first weekend in December.

Every year since 1982, the Bandol winegrowers show their latest vintages just vinified. Numerous activities are organised to enhance this convivial event. On Friday, a gala dinner takes place with the wine growers. On Saturday, there are open doors in the estates and cellars of Bandol. On Sunday, a tasting of the new vintages and an auction are organised. To enjoy the festive atmosphere and concerts, see the programme and reservations on

In the Bouches-du-Rhône:

  • In Cassis: the Starry Harvest at the end of September. This is the unmissable event for gourmets and food lovers. Wines and sea products are honoured and presented by great chefs and young chefs with a promising future.

In the Alpes-Maritimes:

  • In Saint-Paul-de-Vence: the Fête des Vendanges et des Châtaignes usually takes place around 20 October. It offers a large market of local producers. You can find local products such as honey, foie gras, charcuterie, socca, jams, vegetables, breads, biscuits, cheeses, etc. There are also stands for tasting and selling wine from the winegrowers of the Pays Vençois. You can drink mulled wine and enjoy roasted chestnuts all day long! Information at the Tourist Office: 04 9 32 86 95.

The Pilgrimage of the Saints Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a seaside resort in the Bouches-du-Rhône, is the capital of the Camargue and a major pilgrimage site for travellers and the Provençal people. Legend has it that in the year 45-46, its shore welcomed Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé and their servant Sara, Christians fleeing Palestine in a boat. These three women would have stayed there, evangelised the local people and the Romans who occupied the region and died near the sea. The place where they were buried became an important place of Christian worship and pilgrimage until it became a world famous shrine.
History considers the arrival of the saints on the Provençal shore to be the event from which the Christian faith developed throughout Europe.

Even today, it is a brotherhood, created in 1315, that organises pilgrimages, of which there are three. In spring, Gypsies, Manouches and Roma arrive from all over Europe for the first pilgrimage to honour their patron saint, Sara and the Holy Marys, on 24 and 25 May.
The third Saturday and Sunday of October is the pilgrimage of the Provençals and Camarguais, the feast of the saints Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé. These festivals date back to the Middle Ages and their ceremonial is always the same: thousands of faithful, candle in hand, sing and cheer the Holy Maries every year. On Saturday, the shrines, precious chests where the relics of the saints are kept, are brought down from the chapel. In the evening, on the beach of the Arènes, a sound and light show evokes the arrival of the Holy Maries. Many inhabitants of the Camargue are extras for a very festive evening where the soul of the village is expressed. The following day, after a mass, the statues of the two saints are led in a large procession to the shore, accompanied by horse guards and a group of Arles women. According to Provençal tradition, once the statues have arrived on the shore, they take place on a ship without sails or oars. At 3.30 pm, the shrine is brought back to the church.

A third pilgrimage takes place on the first weekend of December, which commemorates the transfer of the relics.
Information on 04 90 97 82 55 or

The Abrivados in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Another highlight of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in autumn are the traditional days when the manadiers, the bull and horse breeders of the Camargue, present abrivados, the passage of bulls led by the gardians along the beach. Taking place every weekend on 11 November, this festival of abrivados, 200 gardians and 1,000 horses from all over Provence meet on the beaches, which are exceptionally open to riders and their horses. The aim is to cross the beach for 6 kilometres while keeping the bull(s) in the middle of the horses. This typically Camargue event begins in the morning with a large breakfast offered by the town in a festive atmosphere. In this wild setting, between dunes and beach with a view of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the manades follow one another. Placed at the level of the dunes, the space narrows and the horses pass as close as possible to you. They come closer and closer, jostling each other a little when some regulars wave blankets to spice up their passage. The adrenaline is pumping for the riders as well as for you as a spectator. It is intense, magical and typical.

It's a unique moment that gives you chills! To be experienced at least once in your life, especially if you love horses and the Camargue landscape. Information on the website.

We wish you a wonderful autumn stay in our beautiful Provence!

Autumn - Enjoy Popular Festivals and Traditions