Castelsagrat is a small, rural village, but ‘vivant’.  This could be translated as ‘lived-in’ – a place where normal, everyday life still goes on. Castelsagrat, unlike some French villages, is not just a pretty museum piece of holiday homes owned by out-of-towners – the type of place that feels deserted on a weekday, or as soon as August turns to September – and for this reason it is lucky enough to have kept its boulangerie, bar-restaurant, épicerie, post office, and hairdresser.

If you were to visit Castelsagrat on Bastille Day, or ‘Le Quatorze Juillet’, expecting big celebrations and fireworks in the village, you would be disappointed.  La Fête Nationale is left to the bigger neighbouring towns to celebrate.  Castelsagrat chooses to stick with the original pre-1880 fête nationale as the big annual occasion to let its collective hair down, during the mid-August ‘Fête de l’Assomption de la Vierge Marie’.  On the eve of the feast day, and on the day itself, you will find many of the inhabitants eating, drinking and dancing until the early hours of morning, in the village square.

For the kids there are inflatable games around the square and fairground-style stalls selling bonbons and toys.  Remember this is France, where social occasions are very definitely family affairs and positively include children of all ages – indeed anyone of any age – and where the occasional very late bedtime is never frowned upon.

If your stay at Château Plombis happens to coincide with the fête, you will be made more than welcome and encouraged to join in the festivities, but it is advisable to book places for the convivial meal in advance.  For the very reasonable price of your ticket you will be treated to a four-course meal of local produce served by the village inhabitants of the Castelsagrat Comité des Fêtes.  The food is accompanied by constantly refilled jugs of rosé and red wine, and preceded by copious amounts of a delicious but dangerously alcoholic apéritif.  Fear not –  for youngsters, teetotallers and drivers (although staying at Château Plombis and being only a few minutes’ walk away from the square you can smugly leave the car where it is) there is plenty of water and fruit juice on each table too.

When the eating is done with, and while committee members efficiently clear away the debris of the meal from between chatting and happy groups of revellers, the dancing in the middle of the village square begins, continuing through until the early hours.

If that wasn’t enough, there will be a second night of fun and revelry, with even more dancing and a grand display of fireworks.

If you are interested in what else goes on in Castelsagrat and the immediate area during the year, and you understand some French, take a look at the frequently updated Facebook page of the village’s party committee – Comité des Fêtes Castelsagrat

 

 

 

 

 

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