“Te Counaissi” – it looks and sounds familiar, and yet….. If you happen to be in Languedoc between January and the two weeks before Easter, and you’re passing through the town of Limoux, it could well be an expression you hear. It’s the tease or taunt spoken by the masked Pierrots taking part in the region’s famous Carnival; and it’s your cue to engage the Pierrot in some banter ! Te counnaissi is Occitan – it means, I know or I recognise you, and unlike many other pageants, in Limoux, those who go to watch, also have the chance to participate! Be warned though, they’re fond of showering you in confetti!
We all know the French love a party, and the Carnival of Limoux is a party of pretty extraordinary calibre. Thought to have its roots in the Middle Ages, not even the dark days of the French Revolution could halt proceedings, and it remains the longest running ‘fete’ in France.
Since 1991, carnival season has concluded with a festival of gastronomy – an event called Toques et Clochers. Sponsored by the wine cooperative, Sieur D’Arques, each year, a different village within the appellation of Limoux, is chosen as the beneficiary of the fundraising activity of the local wine makers and chefs, and the proceeds go towards renovating the local church bell tower.
The Toques et Clochers weekend is always the one just before Easter and as Easter is early this year that means it’s on Saturday March 19th. It’s open to everyone and on this occasion it’s taking place in the pretty village of Pomas close to the town of Limoux. There will be free shuttle buses from the Sieur D’Arques building in Limoux and when you get there you will find everyone making merry with the famous Chardonnay and sparkling wine of this region.
Now, you have to love a festival rooted in pagan times that tips its hat to the church, and allows everyone to have a great time eating and drinking in the name of philanthropy… Vive La France !
You can visit the Sieur D’Arques and taste the 3 styles of sparkling wines produced in this region on our Domain Gayda & Limoux tour.