In France, during the summer, cattle in mountainous pastures can be highly exposed to tabanid bites. The persistent biting behaviour of tabanids not only causes disturbance, but is also responsible for transmitting diseases, such as bovine besnoitiosis. The purpose of this study was to better identify the level of tabanid annoyance on cattle by means of insect trapping and direct observation of cows. Tabanids were active during the entire daily observation period (10:00–16:00), except for Haematopota sp., which were less active in the morning. The tabanids collected in Nzi traps were generally representative of those that landed on cattle, except for Haematopota sp., as Nzi traps were not very effective for these species. The preferred feeding sites for most species appeared to be cow's legs or udder. Leg stamping was the defensive reaction most related to a tabanid alighting on a host. Generalized linear mixed models showed that the parameters associated with tabanid landings on hosts were related to weather and altitude, but not to landscape structure. Increased landings were mostly associated with the higher temperatures and lower wind speeds at midday, but some differences were observed between species. The results indicate that cattle-protection measures should be taken during the peak of tabanid abundance when climatic conditions favour intense biting activity. Nzi traps set close to livestock were very effective to catch tabanids and could help in reducing the annoyance caused by horse flies.