top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Southern French village cancels all future bullfight events

The decision in the village of Vergèze in the Gard comes after a bull escaped during the annual festival last year

A bullfighting festival in southern France that is traditionally held to launch the start of the country’s bullfighting season has been cancelled, and all future bullfighting events in the village have been banned.

The Féria du Rhôny is usually held every spring in Vergèze, in Gard, Occitanie. It is usually considered to be the festival that launches France’s annual bullfighting season.

Municipal authorities in the town - including new mayor Pascale Fortunat-Deschamps - have confirmed that the next festival will not go ahead, and that all future bullfighting events will now be prohibited in Vergèze.

In a statement, authorities said that the reason for the ban was partly financial, and that they wanted to prioritise more popular events, and could no longer ensure the safety of events that involved bulls.

The issue had previously been a subject of discussion during the mayoral election campaigns.

The Féria du Rhôny may come back as a springtime “Fête de Printemps” festival instead, the mairie suggested.

Mixed response

The decision has been met with a mixed response from locals.

One inhabitant of the village told local news service France 3: “It’s a bit annoying. These events are emblematic of our region.”

But another said: “It’s good to show that we can do things [other than bullfighting] in Vergèze; traditions are not the only thing that count.”

Bullfighting club Areneros Fiesta Brava, which has been located in the village for 35 years, said the decision was difficult to take.

Camille Martinion, one of the club co-presidents, said: “Since the announcement from the mairie, we have received enormous numbers of disappointed messages. This shows that we were known and important in Vergèze.”

Henri Diop, another club co-president, said: “We are going to try to bounce back. We will see if it is possible to organise outings instead.”


Previous incident

The decision comes just over a year after a bull escaped during an event in Vergèze, injuring six people, including two gendarmes.

During the 2019 Féria du Rhôny in May last year, the animal managed to kick through a door and ran through a crowd of hundreds, appearing to target two horses that were set to take part in a show, severely injuring one of them.

One woman was injured by a bullet shot by a gendarme who was trying to control the bull; while another gendarme was himself gored in the thigh. The bull was later shot dead.

Two investigations were opened at the time into the circumstances surrounding the bull’s escape and the use of firearms by gendarmerie at the scene.

Related stories

Police kill escaped bull in SW France

Bullfighting ban debated in south of France mayor race

'Ban children from attending bullfights in France'

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now