Le Félibrée is an Occitane fête organized each year in a town or village in Perigord. For 2015 it was the small commune of La Douze that was chosen to host this festival on July 3, 4 and 5th. We drove through the village a few days prior and noticed all the residents, young and old busy making flowers out of plastic and paper and decorating every object that did not move. I am sure that if a dog or child was to stand still for too long, a flower or two would have been attached to them! This made for the most beautiful spectacle. Thousands of these flowers were strung up and covered the whole area from the beginning of the town to the end, along the main road. As you drove through or walked along the road, you had a colorful carpet of flowers above your head. Every house and lamp-post was decorated as was the market square. It was a beautiful sight. The pride the residents were taking in decorating was amazing to see. Grandmothers along with little children, old men in vests, dogs and cats watching. The festival would last 3 days with most activities taking place in the Occitane language. The events included typical dances, songs, musical representations, traditional meals called Taulada that included: a kir (white wine with Cassis, a common french aperitif and very tasty), a white garlic soup, duck rillettes, enchaud (a pork speciality from the Perigord) with beans, Cabecou (goat cheese) and brie with walnuts, strawberries with sugar, coffee and of course wine, rose and Bergerac red. All accompanied by Tourtes de campagne, a delicious round bread with a dense and chewy inside and crusty exterior made with a rustic flour. We decided to go and join in the festivities on the Sunday. We arrived at 8:00, stopped at the local bakery to pick up a pain au raisin, a croissant and a pain au chocolat and then walked a few metres to the bar/tabac next door and ordered two large coffees. The day was supposed to be very hot, but at this time and in the shade it was perfect. We had the perfect seat, on the sidewalk, right opposite the main square and street. The first order of the day was the handing over of the village keys by the mayor to the President of the Bornat of Perigord. Then mass was celebrated in the open air by the market square, all in Occitane. This was followed by the parade.
There were 21 groups in the parade, all dressed in traditional clothing from their respective areas. Many were dancing, singing, playing local instruments, carrying farm implements etc. The participants ranged in age from infants to the very elderly. Everyone was clapping, laughing, smiling and the pride of their commune was really evident. Once the parade was finished, we decided to walk along the main street and see all the stalls. There was one making boudin (blood sausage),
numerous food stalls selling all local specialities, wine tastings, tractor exhibitions, classic cars, animals, straw hat sellers, local arts and crafts and many more. There was even a stall explaining the difference between edible and toxic mushrooms. They all looked so similar to me that I might just continue to buy mine at the market rather than risk death by mushroom. Stuart bought a straw hat to try to protect himself from the sun. By this time it was close to noon and the temperatures were climbing. We bought a delicious looking bread and headed back to our car. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning and what a privilege to be part of this local tradition.