The Carmargue features in another piece here on The Long Spoon, and the Cowboys are mentioned. Not many know about this extraordinary breed of men.
The Carmargue is a harsh environment. Blazing hot and mosquito-filled in the summer, it is freezing cold and very windy in the winter. The living is either tourism or horses and the horses are linked to the bulls, both French and Spanish. With Spanish bulls, they are killed in the fights, but the little known of French bulls do not fight, they are teased and live to gain monumental notoriety, behave really badly,and generally generate a very vibrant energy. There are monuments to great French bulls in villages throughout the area. And all of this joyfully feeds back around to the tourists.
But there is a sharp disparity between those who own and run the bulls, the Manadiers, and those who work with them. The Manadiers are strong, macho men with massive power and control. Ceremony, tradition, drinking, carousing, and intriguing women, abound.
In these images you see a mixture of the two worlds as, inevitably, they are inexorably woven together. The men featured in these images were tricky, charming and incredibly tough characters. I was privileged to be given the entree.