If you’re anywhere near St Malo, it’s worth a drive or even a walk – it’s only about 4 miles – to the small village of Rothéneuf.
Follow the sign to “Les Rochers Sculptés” and pick your way down a twisty, stony path to where you will find a collection of fantastical creatures carved into the granite. Sea-calves and serpents, corsairs and smugglers sprawl on the hillside overlooking the ragged Emerald Coast.
Abbé Fouré, a priest suffering from hearing and speech defects spent 25 years here, working with a hammer and chisel to create some 300 intricately carved sculptures. Since he completed his project over a hundred years ago, time, the elements and tramping feet have eroded much of his work. I wonder whether there will come a time when it will be closed to visitors and steps taken to protect and preserve it; or whether it will just be allowed to wear away, which would be a shame when you consider the effort he put into it.
My particular favourite is a rectangular tableau showing what looks like a couple of dwarves against a background of palm trees, with the male dwarf appearing to simultaneously pull off the lady’s headdress while kicking her up the backside.
It made me marvel at the patience and skill of this lonely man, chipping away day after day through all weathers, and wonder what went through his mind while he was doing so. Rather poignant. I felt.
November to March : 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
April to June: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
July and August 9.00 am to 8.00 pm
September and October: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm.
Cost: not currently published, but when we went it was only a couple of euros.
Somewhere best visited on a dry warm day, because the wind can howl up the rocks, and the stones are slippery when wet.