Having finally got Rors back to school after a week him being at home with le gastro, and with the promise/threat of three days’ of storms heading our way, Chris, Caiti and I headed off to Masgot, le village sculpté. I’ve been wanting to go for years and the crazy thing is that it’s not actually that far away, about an hour’s drive.
At last we made it. And the word ‘underwhelmed’ springs to mind. OK, it was a grey, drizzly day and I’m suffering with my neck/shoulder problems so that’s bound to colour my view. But, well, the village was a lot smaller than I’d imagined and there weren’t as many jolly sculptures by François Michaud (aka Facteur Cheval i.e. Postman Horse – there’s no explanation for his nickname, sorry) as I’d expected.
Michaud lived in Masgot and decided to fill the place with his small granite sculptures to cheer it up a bit. It certainly needs it!
But all was not lost. We admired the sculptures we came across and then went off on a walk which also happened to have some geocaches along the way. We got four in the end, a good day’s achievement. We also saw some interesting things.
The first one we happened across was Le reposoir. We imagined this to be some sort of seat but later, at the café having a caffeine boost before we headed for home, we picked up a handy leaflet that explained this was actually the spot where pall bearers, heaving a coffin between Masgot and the nearest town of Fransèches for burial would stop and have a rest. Our horsey postman carved it and above it wrote the Latin equivalent of: After death there is nothing and death itself is nothing. Not surprisingly he and the local priest didn’t get on after that.
We also saw la cressonière where the locals grew watercress, la chanvrière where they soaked bundles of hemp before drying it and grinding it to produce ‘tow’ to be used in ropes and household linen. There was a cabane de berger (shepher’s hut) as well. All I can say is poor beggar.
We saw a small quarry and also the legendary La Pierre Tournadoueire. The story goes that the Black Virgin built this, either pushing a big stones there, or alternatively carrying stones in her apron. Every full moon the stone on the top of the pile rotates, but you must on no account attempt to witness this as you’ll be cursed forever. So I guess no one will ever know if it really does revolve or not. I have to confess to being a tad skeptical.
So we had a rather pleasant and very interesting morning’s outing. I wouldn’t recommend going miles out of your way to visit Masgot but if you’re in the vicinity, give it a look and definitely go on the well signposted walk.
Our favourite sign was this one.
And I think the nicest sculptures were these four mysterious ladies. The seasons perhaps?