The first documentation referring to bullfighting in Céret dates from 1577 when the town was still considered Spanish, being at that time under the rule of Philippe II.
The traditional fiesta, the ‘Festa Major’, took place on 18th September and was to celebrate Saint Ferréol.
The arenas were then constructed from wood and were located differently from today, for example, ‘la place du Barri’, ‘la Fontaine d’Amour’ ‘la place du Château’ and on the corner of ‘rue Jean Amade’.
The current arenas were inaugurated in 1922, and belonged to a private group of established families of Céret. This group was the ‘Société des Arènes de Céret’.
The most well-known of these arenas began under the management of Vincent Jorda. It was brought in for the summer and consisted of a presentation known as ‘novilladas’ involving bulls of 3 years old (novillos), with the final taking place on the day of Saint Ferréol.
On the subject of the French ‘Pampelune’: the celebrated bullfighter, SM ‘El Viti’, suffered a serious fracture of the left elbow. The mal-healing of this fracture from then on lent an individual style to his bullfighting gestures.
Under the management of Mme D.A Varga came a number of French bullfighters, Jacquito, Nimeno, B.Dombes also known as Simon Casas, F.Pascal, Chinito, R.Millian, for example.
The current bullfights (‘corridas’) have been in place since 1988 under the auspices of the ADAC, a voluntary group of bullfighting aficionados from Céret, registered as ‘TORISTA’. 2017 will be their 30th season.
Not far from the arenas is a monument by Manolo Hugué dedicated to the bullfighters of the world.
The 35 dishes donated by Picasso to the Musée d’Art Moderne in 1953 were all on the theme of bullfighting. Even today there still exists this link between art and the world of bullfighting.