Without claiming to be exhaustive, here are some of the unmissable events in our beautiful region: each has its own colour but all will leave you with beautiful memories.
The « Saint Cochon »
The big village festival
Traditionally, pigs were killed in mid-January in Besse and throughout Auvergne: a great opportunity to share a meal with neighbours and friends. Every 3rd Saturday in January, « Saint Cochon’s day » perpetuates this age-old custom in a big village festival version : pig cutting, stills, shows, street entertainment… Shop windows are dressed in “pig pink” and costumes are out ! As in Asterix (but without the bard attached to the tree), a large banquet, where pork dishes will be served, is organised at lunchtime and brings together more than 1,400 guests. The traditional turnip soup (a local recipe…) then closes the party. The 2020 edition broke all records : more than 20,000 people!
The Andros Trophy
The gliding competition
Every year in February, the Andros Trophy sets young and old on fire. A real generosity from the drivers that fills the public with enthusiasm and contributes to the success of this sporting event. Switching to a 100% electric version since the 2020 edition, the race is exciting and impressive: we speak from experience as we had the opportunity to attend !
The « Médiévales » of Murol
Hear ye, hear ye, good people !
Organised every year in May, the “Médiévales” take the young and old back to the Middle Ages. They are free and offer a rich and dynamic programme. Numerous activities are offered to visitors: medieval re-enactments, soldier costume parades, medieval music and dance. There are also activities for children, including a “mini knight” workshop. A large market also allows visitors to discover and buy local crafts and products. You can also eat typical medieval dishes in a tavern set up for the occasion, or attend a big tournament between knights to learn more about that period.
The « Montade » and the « Devalade »
An impressive procession
On the 2nd of July, the statue of the Virgin is taken in procession to Vassivière : it is the Montée or « Montade », which coincides with the migration of the herds at the beginning of the summer. It returns to Besse in September, on the Sunday after Saint-Matthieu’s Day, at the same time as the return of the herds. It is the Descent or « Dévalade ». The procession leaves Vassivière in the evening and follows the way of the cross. Besse is decorated with blue and white banners and welcomes the procession with fireworks and rifle shots. It is also the occasion for a 3-day saint’s festival with numerous merry-go-rounds and the parade of the conscripts’ floats.
Volcano Day at Lake Pavin
Unravelling the volcanic mysteries of Lake Pavin
Taking place every two years in July (on even years), Volcano Day at Lake Pavin aims at making you discover this exceptional site located a few kilometres away from our guest house:a presentation of this legendary and mysterious lake in all its aspects (volcanology, chemistry, physics, biology, diving, speleology, etc.) and via the different vectors that are the stands and entertainments, the permanent exhibition, the conferences, or the hikes on the spot… But it is also the occasion of a very beautiful walk to get there.
The wine and cheese fair
Taste the best of Auvergne’s gastronomy
This fair, where the best French grape varieties meet with the most remarkable Auvergne PDO cheeses, is a gourmet event that takes place over a weekend at the end of July. About sixty exhibitors come to show their exceptional products. There are also brotherhood parades, gastronomic and craft workshops, and street music… Note the “Miracle of the Fountain” which happens only on this occasion : the water from the Gayme fountain becomes rosé wine !
The Festival of the Estive
Discover peasant life
Organised on the first Sunday in August, this festival pays tribute to the peasant life of yesteryear. It begins with a parade of animals in the streets of Besse and a hike to Lake Pavin following the herd. Discovery workshops, tastings and musical entertainment punctuate this day in the open air. These workshops are a great opportunity to attend demonstrations of old-fashioned trades: milking cows, shearing sheep, pit sawyers… A genuine moment of sharing between farmers, craftsmen and participants, this festival ends with a meal and a sale of farm products : long live the edible souvenirs !
Carnival in the streets of Besse
Originally, the Bavajade was the killing of the rooster to celebrate the end of the haymaking. Every two years at the beginning of October (on even years), a sort of carnival takes place where social hierarchies merge into general rejoicing. The mayor, elected officials and inhabitants dress up according to the theme of the year. The Town Council even treats us with its little play : the whole town lives to the rhythm of the Bavajade. Conviviality, welcome and solidarity, characteristics of the Besse people, are omnipresent during shows, meals, parades and other good moments of sharing that the Bavajade multiplies at leisure.
Hiking to discover ephemeral works of art
Horizons-Sancy is a great occasion to discover art in the heart of nature. The event that gives internationally renowned artists the opportunity to present special works. Created for the occasion, ten artistic “golden nuggets” meet in the middle of nature and take possession of the natural scenery of the Massif du Sancy. All artworks are environmentally friendly and removed after each edition in order for biodiversity to take over again. Each year, several creations are visible in the surroundings of our guest house : Besse, Super-Besse, Picherande, Murol, Saint-Nectaire… A very good reason to go for a walk with a precise goal : to discover the horizon works. A overview of the 2018 edition here !