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Bull Fighting and Course Landaise

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Flying through the air with the greatest of ease at a Course Landaise
BULL FIGHTING
You either like bull-fighting, the primitive spectacle of man against beast, where just occasionally the animal wins against the odds, or you think that it is a cruel and uncivilised sport that has no place in civilised society. Whatever you feel, bull-fighting in the south-west of France, close to the border with Spain, the country synonomous with this activity, is flourishing and is a major spectator sport.

There are two classes of bull-fight: the corrida is the bigger of the events: bulls must be at least four years old to participate, and only fully qualified matadors fight them. The novillada is for novice, wannabe matadors, and younger, less dangerous bulls. The novice matadors must win a number of these fights to graduate to the corridas, though the bulls do not get the same chance.

Bull-fights typically have three phases: the first phase in which the matador uses a pink and yellow cape; then the picador, a man mounted on a horse with a long lance (the pique), whose job it is to to stick his lance in the bull to weaken or aggravate it, depending on your point of view, and finally the death when the matador arrives with his red cape. The novilladas may be fought with the aid of picadors or not.

COURSE LANDAISE

There is, however, a more gentle version of keeping alive the tradition of man against beast. The COURSE LANDAISE differs from bull-fighting in a number of important respects: first, cows are used rather than bulls; second, it is not a fight to the death and thirdly it is more of a participations sport in that in some instances members of the audience may be invited to participate.

This sport has perhaps more in common with steer-wrestling in American rodeos or running with bulls along steets. Courage, strength and agility are needed, but the cows live to see another day while the human participant may well have a few bruises to nurse. But it is related to bull-fighting for the object is to annoy the beast and survive - though instead of fighting and killing the beast the idea is to dodge and even jump over it.

Minor versions of the Course Landaise can even be found being run on sports grounds at the smaller village fetes - and very entertaining they are too, especially when the braver members of the audience try their hand.

Occasionally you may come across the COURSE POURTUGESE. This is similar to the Course Landaise, but the training is different and they use bulls rather than cows.


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Towns - Bull Fighting and Course Landaise

Aignan. Picturesque centre of armagnac production
Bull fighting arena. One of the handful of arenas that mount the full Corrida, with bulls over four years old.
Aire sur l'Adour.
Bull fighting arena. One of the handful of arenas that mount the full Corrida, with bulls over four years old.
Bayonne. Large city and port on the mouth of the Adour
Bull Fighting Arena. One of the major centres of bull-fighting; especially in August.
Dax. One of France's most important spa towns, dating from Roman times
Bull Fighting Arena. One of the major centres of bull-fighting in the area: August is the main month.
Eauze. A capital of the Armagnac area
Corridas and Novilladas in July. One of the handful of towns that hold the full Corrida: the headquarters of the local bull-fighting association is at Eauze town hall.
Garlin.
Novilladas. Novillada in July
Gimont. Old bastide town and foie gras centre
Novilladas. Novilladas in June
Hagetmau.
Novilladas. Novilladas in August
Mont-de-Marsan.
Bull fighting arena. Corridas in July
Orthez. Market town and one of the old capitals of the Béarn
Bull Fighting Arena. One of the handful of arenas that mount the full Corrida, with bulls over four years old. See EVENTS for dates.
Pouillon. Small but dynamic town with a welcoming atmosphere.
Course Landaise end of May. Includes running with the cows and also some Course Portugese.
Saint Sever.
Novilladas. Novillada in August
Saint Vincent-de-Tyrosse.
Bull Fighting Arena. Novilladas and Corridas
Soustons. Largest town in the Marensin on a large and beautiful lake
Bull fighting arena. Corrida in August
Vic Fezensac.
Bull Fighting Arena. One of the handful of arenas that mount the full Corrida, with bulls over four years old.

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