Saint-Malo is a city that never stops to amaze us, and the Sculptured Rocks of Rothéneuf are one of these beautiful surprises. Having become a must-see in Saint-Malo, the sculptured rocks are a real typical attraction that appeals to young and old alike.
But what are they really and how do you plan your visit? We will guide you in this article.
The Sculptured Rocks of Rothéneuf are a set of figures that were carved directly into the rock. It is one of the best-known pieces of art brut in Brittany.
In 1894, a local priest, known as Abbé Fouré, settled in Rothéneuf, currently a district of Saint-Malo, but which at the time was attached to Paramé, another town in the region.
Having become deaf and dumb after a stroke, the Abbé Fouré went into rock-cutting. He began carving statues directly out of granite on the coast.
For nearly 14 years and over more than 500m2, he carved without interruption a real outdoor scene with more than 300 characters, facing the sea. He also used wood to carve figures in his house, located in the village, called Ermitage de Rothéneuf.
Initially, the sculptures were entirely polychrome, but the features of the figures were eventually highlighted with tar.
In 1907, the priest was unfortunately forced to stop his sculptures due to paralysis. He died in 1910, after having enjoyed the last moments with his work.
The Abbé Fouré was inspired by his own history and experiences to sculpt his statues. Examples include the representation of the Transvaal War (between South Africa and the British) or President Krüger who presided over South Africa at the end of the 20th century.
Abbé Fouré was particularly attached to the current events in the colonies and wanted to pass on a message through his sculptures.
But the Sculptured Rocks of Rothéneuf also highlight important Breton figures such as Jacques Cartier who is represented several times or Saint-Budoc, the famous Breton Saint.
There are also characters that tell the legend of the Rothéneuf, a family of shipwreckers from Saint-Malo.
The association “Les Amis de l’oeuvre de l’Abbé Fouré” was created in 2010 to safeguard and protect the heritage of the sculptured rocks. Its objective is above all a mission of memory: to make the work of Abbé Fouré known.
The association organises visits to the site and the house of Abbé Fouré and sets up temporary exhibitions to help people discover the work of Abbé Fouré.
It is possible to join the association or make a donation if you wish to support their work. Go to their website for more information.
The discovery of the Sculptured Rocks of Rothéneuf is, of course, done outdoors. So bring good walking shoes and enough to cover yourself if the temperatures are fresh.
The site is open all year round, only the opening hours change, according to the season (closed between 12h and 14h). The entrance ticket costs 2.50 € per adult, access is free for children under 10 years old.
As the site is steep, please note that the place is not accessible to strollers. The sculptures are located on the shoreline, so be particularly careful with small children.
A car park is located nearby if you are coming by car.
Rothéneuf is a neighbourhood of Saint-Malo and is located 5 km from the old town, in the direction of Cancale.
To get there from Intra-Muros, just take the road in the direction of Mont Saint-Michel. If you don’t have a vehicle, lines 4 and 6 of the Saint-Malo bus leave from the old town and go to Rothéneuf. The stop near the Sculptured Rocks is 600m from the site.