Actually, no…we’re completely serious when it comes to describing “Sète Joutes” (otherwise known as “Water Jousting in Sète, France”).
Sète Joutes is a fantastic example of one of our AzAmazing EveningsSM we have planned for you in 2013, as well as a highlight of the 7 Nights Springtime Along The Cote d’Azur President’s Voyage. Departing Barcelona, Spain on April 3, this President’s Voyage features hosted onboard social events and informal get-togethers throughout the week with Azamara Club Cruises® President and CEO Larry Pimentel and his wife Sandi.
It also includes a very special complimentary AzAmazing Evening event on April 4, where you can join Larry and Sandi—and a ringside seat along Sète’s Royal Canal—to witness the colorful sport of water jousting. It’s a tradition that began here in 1666, and remains as popular today as it was almost four centuries ago. An integral and much anticipated part of Sète’s cultural and sporting life, the Sète Joutes regular tournament season begins in earnest in June, when thousands of people descend upon Sète and line the canal banks to observe this historical event.
Water jousting is actually an old tradition of this Languedoc region of France, with the first competitions taking place as early as 1601 in the village of Agde. In the 18th century jousting tournaments opposed young bachelors in a blue boat to married men in a red boat, with their protective chest shields, uniforms and jousting poles being decorated accordingly. (This April, however, 10 oarsmen dressed in white will propel the boats, with an experienced boat captain at the helm.)
Two boats—one with blue trim and one with red trim—compete at a time. A first pass of honor opens the tournament. The jousters shake hands, holding their lances (the 2.8-meter-long wooden jousting pole) vertically when their boats cross. Then, perched on the tintaine (the small platform where the jouster stands at the end of the boat, about two meters above the water level), each jouster will then try to knock his worthy opponent off the tintaine and into the canal. Excitement builds until the two best teams of the competition are left, with one final opportunity to become the proud winners.
And as part of our AzAmazing Evening event on April 4, the competitions will be accompanied by traditional jousting music, French wines of the region and savory canapés—”joust” the thing to make this not-to-be-missed day complete.
Read more about our AzAmazing Evenings and the other exciting enhancements we have in store for you