The Bogtrotter

Modern Day Jousting – with a watery twist

by on May.12, 2009, under France, French Experiences

If you thought jousting was a thing of the past – think again. Jousting conjures up images of medieval knights in heavy armour taking to their horses to battle it out for supremicy.



But in the fishing ports of Languedoc in southern France they have a less violent but equally entertaining version that takes place on in the harbours. Joutes on the water is a speciality of Sete, but is also found in other ports such as Le Grau du Roi. During the summer these contests are a regular event, attracting tourists and locals alike.

Boat ready for the contest

Boat ready for the contest

The contest involves two teams of rowers on long gondala-like boats, which have a raised platform at the back on which the jouster stands. The two boats row together and then the jousters clash, with at least one of them normally ending up in the water. This is repeated numerous times with the jousters swaping places until all the team have taken part.

Time to attack

Time to attack

The teams certainly take the contests seriously and whilst the crowds shout on enthusiastic words of encouragement there is no doubt that the combatants are keen to try to avoid a dip in the water. If you do find yourself in the area, make sure to take in one of these events. They’re certainly great to watch, although I’m not sure I’d want to be on the receiving end of the pole!

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