Frank in France #33

Frank Varney

Frank in France #33

4 mins
October 20, 2021

I’m not sure what the weather is like in Wisconsin right now, but in France this last week and weekend we’ve had warm temperatures and sunny skies. It’s been glorious.

We were able to make the most of the beautiful weather by joining friends in Saint Agnant, about 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, just outside of Rochefort.

Saturday morning we joined our friend Christell’s parents for une tuerie (the butchering of animals). I remained on the sidelines while the other prepared the ducks.

They seem to be enjoying this far too much. (Photo by Frank Varney)
A walk in the woods to get the smell of burnt feathers out of our nostrils. (Photo by Frank Varney)

As usual, we were received like royalty and enjoyed a wonder lunch. Our hosts explained the dish as being a local dish and when it was served, it turns out that it is a dish that my grandmother used to make. I think my family called it “boiled dinner” but it’s basically cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sausages, and another meat boiled together. I found it interesting how people from different cultures (with my grandmother’s family having Polish and German ancestry) share similar dishes. It was a nice lunch and brought back memories of my dear Gramma Ruby.

To help digest, we took a walk in the woods to look for mushrooms. Unfortunately, it’s been a bit too dry, so we didn’t find any edible ones. This is something I really enjoy about France: the yearly hunt for wild mushrooms. I don’t know what I’m looking for so I don’t pick them when I’m by myself. But when I’m with a knowledgeable person who knows their mushrooms, I enjoy participating.

Some of the sculptures of Les Lapidiales, where sculptors are invited to create a work of art to join the other sculptures created over the last twenty-one years. (Photo by Frank Varney)
 A group selfie in front of one of the sculptures. (Photo by Frank Varney)
So much detail! (Photo by Frank Varney)
This reminded me of the sculptures found on Easter Island. (Photo by Frank Varney)

On the way home we stopped in nearby Romegoux where, for the last twenty years, scultpors have been welcomed to this former stone quarry to give free rein to their imagination.

Each year, new works are born, some carved directly into the walls of this former quarry. The quarry’s stone was once used for the construction of many buildings in France, including Fort Boyard just off the western coast.

This year, from May until September, six sculptors will pass their summer creating their works of art around the theme of “The Caribbean.” Then on Saturday, September 11, they will unveil their works and there is a huge public party.

Now THAT is a long neck! (Photo by Frank Varney)
Why yes I will join you for a glass of cheer. (Photo by Frank Varney)
One of my favorite sculptures. (Photo by Frank Varney)

As you can see from the photos, the sculptures vary in style and detail, but they are all beautiful and enormous. There are so many that we weren’t able to see them all, but we’re planning to go back again.

After our visit, we joined other friends (remember l’éclade?) for dinner and dancing, and perhaps a bit too much cognac (French brandy). But a fun time was had by all and we were happy to have enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather with great people.

This article was orginally reported by
Frank Varney