Kids take on fake bulls and real calves in Nimes. 

Bullfighting has long stretched beyond the Spanish border into France, where multiple variations of the sport (as well as legal protections) exist. 

Despite previous efforts by French parliament to ban the controversial tradition, it is still not only a way of life but an aspiration for young people in cities like Nimes and surrounding towns. Nimes is also home to the French Tauromachy Center, where thousands of kids have attended and trained in hopes of one day becoming professional "toreadors."

Reuters photographer Jean-Paul Pelissier recently followed some of the academy's current students as they taunted fake bulls with "muletas." Still years from fighting real bulls in front of adoring fans, the students, for now, settle for beginning level battles against smaller, friendlier calves:

Nino, a ten-year-old toreador apprentice of the French Tauromachy Centre, nicknamed El Nino, touches a practice bull at the bullring of Garons, near Nimes, September 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) 
Young toreador apprentices of the French Tauromachy Centre practice a muleta pass at the bullring of Garons, near Nimes, September 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) 
Young toreador apprentices of the French Tauromachy Centre practice a muleta pass at the bullring of Garons, near Nimes, September 25, 2013. A muleta is a small cloth attached to a short tapered stick used by a matador. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) 
Solal, a twelve-year-old toreador apprentice, practices a muleta pass with a shirt on the street as he leaves his home before a beginner's bullfight (becerrada) in Nimes, October 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)
Solal, a twelve-year-old toreador apprentice (L), looks at calves arriving at the bullring of Bouillargues, near Nimes, October 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) 
Nino, a ten-year-old toreador apprentice of the Nimes bullfighting school, performs a muleta pass during a beginner's bullfight at the bullring of Bouillargues, near Nimes, October 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)  
Solal (R), a twelve-year-old toreador apprentice of the Nimes bullfighting school, nicknamed Solalito, looks at young toreadors before a beginner's bullfight at the bullring of Rodilhan, near Nimes, October 27, 2013. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a man with a smartphone in front of a rental apartment building in Boston.
    Equity

    Landlords Are Using Next-Generation Eviction Tech

    As tenant protections get stronger, corporate landlords use software to manage delinquent renters. But housing advocates see a tool for quicker evictions.

  2. animated illustration: cars, bikes, scooters and drones in motion.
    Transportation

    This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One.

    To rein in traffic-snarling new mobility modes, L.A. needed digital savvy. Then came a privacy uproar, a murky cast of consultants, and a legal crusade by Uber.

  3. Maps

    For Those Living in Public Housing, It’s a Long Way to Work

    A new Urban Institute study measures the spatial mismatch between where job seekers live and employment opportunities.

  4. Photo: A protected bike lane along San Francisco's Market Street, which went car-free in January.
    Transportation

    Why Would a Bike Shop Fight a Bike Lane?

    A store owner is objecting to San Francisco’s plan to install a protected bike lane, because of parking worries. Should it matter that it’s a bike shop?

  5. Equity

    Why Black Businesses and Homeownership Won’t Close the Wealth Gap

    Economic plans like Mike Bloomberg’s assume that boosting black homeownership and entrepreneurs will close racial wealth gaps. New research suggests it won’t.

×