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A few kilometers east of the scenic port city of St-Malo, along Brittany’s Emerald Coast, is the beguiling site of The Sculptured Rocks of Rothéneuf. Here’s how this coastal sculpture garden came to be.
Abbé Adolphe-Julien Fouré, a priest from the Breton village of Rothéneuf, is the man behind this incredible, carved cliff in Brittany. After suffering a stroke at the age of 55, which left him both deaf and mute, he left his post as a priest and returned to Rothéneuf and started creating sculptures, many out of the coastal rock. Rothéneuf locals nicknamed him the Hermit, as he spent the last 15 years of his life—from approximately 1894 to 1910—alone, creating these rugged masterpieces. An incredible feat.
Among the sculptures, visitors will see fishermen, pirates and smugglers, as well as mythical creatures and monsters from the sea. A famous face to Rothéneuf, the French explorer and navigator Jacques Cartier, features heavily, as do famous Breton saints, like Saint Budoc.
Rothéneuf municipality doesn’t promote this incredible piece of craftsmanship, mainly due to the detrimental effects erosion has one the whole site. When visiting, the whole place feels like a hidden world, completely off the tourist track; a sight you feel privileged to behold.
Once the village of Rothéneuf is behind you, the nearest landmark is the Le Bénétin restaurant. It’s only a short walk (under 10 minutes) from the center of the village to the coast and it’s clearly sign-posted. The setting is completely rugged and natural, with no walkways or barriers, so keep this in mind if you’re travelling with children or require better access.