Greeting dear readers and friends! Well, I guess you can say that it’s been a pretty good weekend if you’ve gotten yourself out to a Provençal olive festival. We hadn’t attended the Fête de l’Olive in Ollioules in a few years and boy, it was nice to be back.
Since we live in a larger city, Toulon, it’s easy to get disconnected to “village life” which helps keeps alive so many of the area’s traditions and artisan crafts. The residents of Ollioules prepare for months, if not the whole year, for such festivals like the Fête de l’Olive and you can feel the pride and joy they feel in showcasing one of Provence’s most famous products – olives and their corresponding huile d’olive (olive oil).
Besides olive and olive-oil tasting (of course!), the festival features two full-days of activities for adults and children alike. There is a visit to an olive oil mill (you can also witness olives being pressed in the center of town, photo below), culinary demonstrations, various traditional (Provençal) dance performances, musical concerts, exhibitions, and a space dedicated to old-fashioned children’s games.
This weekend marked the 26th annual olive festival, so not to worry if you missed it this time around. If you happen to be in Provence in the fall (which is a great time to visit!) the festival takes place every year on the first weekend of October. The village of Ollioules is about 15 minutes from Toulon and about 45 minutes from Aix-en-Provence. It’s also quite near to the coast which makes it ideal for a half-day trip before hitting the beaches.
If you’re visiting another end of Provence, not to worry, there are plenty of traditional festivals (and thank goodness most of them revolve around food) to attend. Chestnut festival here we come (Fête de la Châtaigne)!