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Best time to go to Provence & French Riviera

Fête de la Saint-Jean​ or St. John Feast 2023

These beautiful bonfire nights are held in every town and village of Provence

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The bonfire nights celebrating the arrival of mid-summer are common in Europe. Back in the day pagans used to light these bonfires to protect themselves from evil during the longest day of the year. Later the tradition evolved and became associated with St. John the Baptist.

Now every year on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of June people gather in the main squares of their towns to listen to music, sing, dance and light bonfires. They usually dress up in traditional costumes and party all night. There's a town in Provence that has an unusual tradition to celebrate this holiday.

The town is called Valréas and locals celebrate little Saint John instead. The whole town comes to the historical​ center and parades behind the little Saint Jonh, a child between three and five​ years, that was chosen to represent the saint for the year. The streets are full of people dressed up as medieval drummers, sword-bearers, commandants and others while the trumpets herald the arrival of the new little Saint John. This light and joyous tradition is very dear to the people of Valréas.

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