The Fête de Vendanges, is a wonderful weekend of festivities, parades, flea market, car boot sale, house clearout sales, craftsmen and craftswomen plying their trade, folklore, and music, in the village of Ouveillan, about 15 kms from Narbonne, and a similar distance from Beziers.

Come to enjoy the life of this lively village, recreating the toil and festivities of days past as well as traditions and skills that live on today. Until your visit to Ouveillan, and the Fête de Vendanges in October visit this feature story - an edited english translation of a french introduction to the Festival by Jean-Pierre Orth of "La Caponada", about the festival.


The Fête de Vendanges, of Wine and Crafts takes place every year in Ouveillan in October. It continues an old and much loved custom of the Languedoc. It was called "Dius oc vol" "Se Dius lo vol" or "Se Dius va vol", (What God wanted) - an expression that indicates a harvest feast at the end of the agricultural year. That marked a rite that was lost around about the last war. It was rediscovered in Languedoc: Aude, Ariège, Tarn, Rouergue. It was a farewell to when the harvest was finished, a way to express thanks to fellow workers, and to enjoy a year that God had blessed.

Towards the end of the harvest it was customary to work at a frantic speed "nos donaran pas solament lo temps de pissar" . Then there was the dinner: solenca, proferta sarda ou acabaira, a great feast offered to laborers, under a shelter or in the cart shed. It was the time for cassoulet with sausage and salt, poultry, legs of mutton. ..and wine. Afterwards during dessert everyone drank heartily of "brûlot" - burnt brandy with sugar in large glasses.

Notre dame des Auzils, Gruissan

Fete de Vendage, Ouveillan

Everyone was lively, ate more than they should, belched noisily (as was the polite custom to render homage to the generosity of the host) and sang.

Singing was then a shout of triumph, - beautiful, free with a wonderful resonance. The peasant enjoyed himself fully, knowing after much work that this was the time to eat and drink to the full.

At this time, a drinking song such as this was sung. It is popular because of its well chosen words, tone, the accompaniment of table banging, and stamping of feet, with a rhythm, and an energy that made glasses jump and dishes to break, finishing of course with shouts for more to drink!

S'aiceste temps contunha
B'acabarem tot
B'acabarem tot
Los bious et Ia pecunha
Carretas et tot
Carretas et tot

Un cop, dos cops
Gara qu'es pas gaire!
Tres cops, quatre cops, cinc cops
Gara qu'es pas trop!

E tan que farem atal
Mila dius cromparem pas Ia borda
E tan que farem atal
Mila Dius, cromparem pas l'ostal!

Fete de Vendanges, Ouveillan, Aude. Languedoc

Read about Ouveillan and its surroundings

Come to this year's Fête de Vendanges, Ouveillan, Aude.

Languedoc Guide | Canal du Midi Guide