At the beginning of each summer, the shepherds move their flocks from the pastures in the warming valleys to the more moderate temperatures of the mountains. This ritual, called the transhumance, is celebrated by the running of the area's combined sheep down Bédoin's main street.
On June 11th at about 6pm, locals and tourists by the hundreds gathered in anticipation of the spectacle. Thinking ahead (which is very unusual for us) we had reserved a sidewalk table at our favorite boulangerie so that we had a prime viewing spot.
Armed with cold Orangina, ice cream and poo-resistant footwear, we waited for the big moment.
At about 7pm the faint sound of bleating could be heard approaching from the south, and moments later a fresh breeze confirmed it: the sheep were on their way.
Led by a team of noble shepherds and a few kids with donkeys, a river of sheep baa-baa-baaaa'ed their way through downtown Bédoin. They seemed markedly uninterested in the people who jockeyed for position with cameras to capture a lifetime of mutton memories.
I can't be sure, but it may have something to do with the fact that these sheep are destined for dinner plates -- I suspect they were in a hurry to get the heck out of town as quickly as possible. Only one word can describe the aroma of a thousand sweaty sheep: "Ewe."
Do you like sheep? Perhaps you dream of one day having a flock of your own. Or maybe you just like to drink wine while watching a river of wool and lamb chops. Whatever your passion, join us at La Maison Rose in June 2018 and witness Bédoin's version of rush hour traffic for yourself!