Monday, 25 July 2016

Snails galore at Cluis

I thought that was weird right away. The central green of this little Berrichon town is decorated with three big stone snails.

But then I thought if La Chatre had bronze sheep, and Rouen had concrete cows, then Cluis having snails wasn't quite so strange.

I went into the little microbrewery on the square and was invited to have a glass of snail slime. That was very weird.

("La Bave du Luma" turns out to be a quite acceptable strong bitter, brewed by an expatriate Brit who knows his stuff.)

And then found out that every year has a Fete du Luma, or Snail Feast, with a huge motorised snail leading the procession. (Luma is local dialect for the edible snail, 'escargot' everywhere else in France.)

Someone's back garden has a little traffic sign, a triangular red bordered sign with a little black snail - 'warning! snails!'

Someone else has curtains with little snails drawn on them.

Everywhere you look - snails!

Apart from the snails, Cluis turned out to be a fascinating little town. The splendid old manor house has been turned into the Mairie, there's an ancient church with some nice glass, a splendid medieval timber covered market, and a huge old fortress in the valley below whose pinkish walls are impressive even in their state of ruin. The town was a stop on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela, so you see a couple of scallop shells contesting the snails' hegemony.

But it's the snails I'll remember!

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