Wonderful evening in Pézénas

Hello there!

It’s been quite a couple of weeks here in the South of France, camping, theme parks, swimming in the sea, gorgeous swimming pools, cocktails and delicious pizzas, all this under the glorious summer sun.
About 3 weeks ago, myself and my family took a trip to Pézénas for the evening, it was the evening of the Summer Estivales. Having lived in France for the past, gosh, about 11 years, we never even knew about the Estivales, until one summer’s day when my mum came up to me and said “Hey Gina, how about going to this Estivales thing in Pézénas, absolutely no idea what it is, but could be fun and touristy!”. Fun and touristy, just how we like our summer! So off we popped into the shower and got ready, and headed off on the 20 minute drive to this beautiful village.
Once we got there, we were a bit lost because we didn’t notice anything different from the other evenings we’ve spent there, we were thinking maybe we got the wrong evening, maybe it’s tomorrow night, maybe it wasn’t in Pézénas after all. But we used our noggins and decided to follow the flow of tourists, and we were not disappointed!



Coco Mango, gorgeous ice creams, slush puppies and crepes.
While following the crowd, we came across one of the best ice cream places in the South of France, yum!

We walked all the way through the gorgeous petite streets, past lovely churches and past beautiful shops, turned the corner and…WOW! An entire road was full up with market stalls selling food, the street was lined with extremely long tables full of tourists and locals. It wasn’t until about a half hour into our visit that we realised that the tourists were buying their cheese and oysters and olives and bread at the stalls, and then all sitting together on the massive tables, talking, laughing, getting to know new people. If we’d have known this, we wouldn’t have sat down at a restaurant instead!

Stalls full of delicious food and lots to see.
Rows and rows of stalls full of delicious food, jewellery and art.

The atmosphere that night was absolutely lovely and everyone was so nice, it was just like one big family get together, hardly anyone knew eachother upon arrival, but as the night went on, they all became the best of friends. It was a great example of how welcoming the French are, they didn’t mind that most of these tourists were English or Spanish or Dutch…they accepted them as their own and all had a great time.

Now one thing I would definitely recommend while at the Estivales, is to take part in all of the action and buy your food from the stalls and eat it on the large tables. While our meal was delicious (a mix of tapas including calamars, sun dried tomatoes, acra de morue, serano ham, houmous…) it did take a very long time for us to get it because quite frankly, the service in the restaurant wasn’t very good and it was so busy that we had to wait about 40 minutes before they brought us our drinks. Luckily though, we had some street entertainment to distract us, there were mini concerts, guitarists and lots of local singers there to entertain their guests.

After our delicious yet long meal, we decided to join in the fun and take a walk around and see all of the different stalls. While my boyfriend and I were trying not to gag near the seafood stalls (it’s safe to say that we aren’t fans of seafood in the slightest!) my mum was enjoying seeing all of the different types of food that was on offer. Just picture a road full of every delicious piece of food you can think of, and that was Pézénas! Rest assured, sundried tomatoes, oysters, seafood, olives etc wasn’t the only food there, if your kids are fans of hotdogs, burgers and chips, then they won’t be disappointed as they were also on offer.

Stall at les Estivales in Pézénas.
One of the many stalls, this one was full of bottles of olive oil amoung other things.

After having explored the Estivales, we decided we were exhausted and thought it was best to walk back to the car. Now, you may be thinking “that’s it, that’s the end of their night”, well how wrong you are. Pézénas isn’t the easiest of places to get around, not because the roads are blocked and there are lots of dead ends and all of that “palava”, but mostly because everything is so pretty and petite and close together, that you can quite easily get lost because you’re not concentrating on where you’re going, you’re concentrating on everything around you! I’d like to call it the “goldfish syndrome”, because just as you’ve noticed an adorable balcony full of beautiful flowers, you spot some fairy lights hanging from the tops of the roofs, and then you notice a small restaurant down a side street, and then you notice pretty tiles on the floor. I was very surprised that I didn’t break my neck during that evening out seeing as I was whipping my head around every few seconds in an attempt to see everything!

Moliere footprints in les Estivales in Pézénas.
Told you there were pretty tiles. Just one of the many famous footprints to be found here.
Beautiful balcony in Pézénas.
I was quite surprised my head didn’t fly off my shoulders when I spotted this. This is just one of the many beautifully decorated balconies in Pézénas.
Fairy lights hung from houses in les Estivales in Pézénas.
All of the side roads were full of glorious lights like these, they’re very hard to miss and make for an excellent late night stroll.

All in all it was a fabulous night and I’m sure we’ll be attending again next year. It’s a pity we didn’t know about this Estivales beforehand because we would’ve been there every year, tasting the delicious food and marvelling in the beauty of the village. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to pop down there and see it all for yourself.

Gina Evans-Forte
Gina Evans-Forte
Articles: 64