On the 15th of August, Dude and I took a bit of time out of our renovation to go to the village of Tourves to witness Le Bouchon Tourvain.
This yearly re-creation of the great traffic jams that occurred in Tourves during the 1960’s is quite a sight.
It is free to all to witness. Just show up and find your spot to watch. Luckily, there aren’t too many people who know about this. I suspect that most of the people there were from Tourves or the few small villages that are nearby. This makes it all the more fun to witness because you can actually walk up and down the main road through town center and not be bumping into someone or feel like you are in a herd of cattle!
Each year this village puts on a show in remembrance of the ridiculousness that occurred in the 60’s there. Each summer during that time, tourist would show up and make a huge mess of this tiny town. Each day the pour villagers would have to endure car after car moving bumper to bumper going through their town. This, along with the horn honking and occasional yelling of the tourist to “hurry it up” or “get out of the way” was certainly an unbearable time for these poor town’s folk.
They hated it so much that now they do it to themselves each year!
Of course, they have a great time with it, though. In order to participate, you must have a car from that area that is in good running condition and road worthy. Many of participants even dressed up in 60’s garb, though this is not required. The town states that no more than 200 cars can participate due to a real traffic jam ensuing.
The “parade of cars” begins around 10am and goes to 12pm. All the cars line up and go back and forth down the center of town, some honking their horns and people yelling to “move it or else” just to make it more real for the spectators.
It was quite fun and if you are in the south of France in August, look on the official website of Tourves to be sure you don’t miss it. The old cars from the 60’s were super to see and nearly all of them were in excellent condition.
After the show, all the cars head over to l’ancienne cooperative so you can get a close-up look at them and talk to the owners if you’d like.
I highly recommend it especially if you are into classic cars. You won’t be disappointed.
Maybe I’ll see some of you all there next summer. I will be the one wearing the clothes that say “Look at me! I’m the American tourist!” while yelling, “Dude, Dude! Come check out this cool car!” in that loud, obnoxious American voice that we tend to have while on vacation in Europe. I know, it’s so embarrassing….
If you want to see more photos of Le Bouchon Tourvain, they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.