If you happen to be in the region in February, this charming bit of historic pageantry is wonderful to witness.

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Fattened Bulls Festival in Bazas

A February festival with more than seven centuries' worth of tradition.

The annual Fête des Bœufs Gras of the town of Bazas (an hour from Bordeaux) goes back, the chronicles say, to 1283, when Edward I of England, who was also king of Aquitaine at the time, ordered farmers to present a bull to the local clergy each year on the feast day of St. John. In return, he let them bring the cattle out into the streets and organise a town-wide celebration in February. Actually, this was a tradition in almost all towns and cities in France, including Paris, but only the Bazas fête is still celebrated. Here the bulls' horns are adorned with flower garlands and they are exhibited and paraded along a cattle concourse, with the proceedings culminating in a grand open-air public banquet. Pretty much like in the Middle Ages, except with cameras.

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