Friday, 17 August 2012

Of Mary and Motorbikes

Anybody who lives in France knows that the 15th of August is a big national holiday. And, as such, as well as being the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a day when you probably want to stay off the roads, because the whole country is probably trying to go somewhere.

Here in Brittany*, not only is the religious aspect of the day well-celebrated, with statues being paraded around villages in the traditional fashion, but there's an extra reason to stay off the roads as well: ten or twenty thousand motorcyclists descend on the small town of Porcaro to be blessed by the priest in a ceremony named "Madonne des Motards" or "Madonna of the Bikers" before riding around a circuit of 60km or so, waving on the way at the residents of the local towns and tossing sweets to the children.

Alternatively, if parading petrolheads aren't really your thing, you can head to the fabulously named town of Pleucadeuc, where you may start to wonder if all those roaring engines have given you double vision, because the 15th August is the date of the Grand Rassemblement des 2 et Plus, a grand gathering where twins, triplets and other multiple-birth siblings can attend mass together and enjoy a free aperitif.

It's all happening here en Bretagne!

* I realise this is a big clue in the Where Am I competition in my last post. The answers so far have been close but I thought somebody might figure out a few more details. You can post as many answers as you like but I'll only enter names into the prize draw once!


  1. I'd guess the Festival Interceltique à Lorient, but if I remember right, you usually go more to the north? Plus Pleucadeuc (which is one of my fav Breton town names btw) and Porcaro are more inland....

  2. I give up, my French geography sucks despite growing up in Nantes (and then I'm not even getting into the "is Nantes part of Brittany" debate!).

    I totally forgot about the 15 août and the motards. Funny!

  3. That must have been a cool event! I’m pretty sure many motorcycle riders are always waiting for this occasion to come. It sure is fun to ride your favorite motorcycle and meet different riders along the road. After all, that is the beauty of riding a two-wheeler. I’d love to come to this event, if given a chance!

    *Hannah Parkin