La Romieu: Cat Village

We left the gite after breakfast yesterday morning. Mum’s flight home was not until the evening so we went driving around during the morning. We’d seen a leaflet for La Romieu, one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”. Our interest was because of the cats.

The cat statues across the village make it a tourist attraction for many. The work of artist Maurice Serreau who moved to La Romieu in the 1990s, the cats are there because of the legend of Angeline and her cats. Angeline, a villager during the 1300s loved cats. The legend goes that during the famine, villagers were starving and resorted to eating cat stew. Angeline hid one male and one female cat in the attic.

As the weather improved and crops grew, there was a bit of a rodent problem – until Angeline revealed that as she had kept some cats during the famine, she now had 20 cats in the attic. The townspeople agreed that she could let them free, the problem was solved, and wherever Angeline went she was surrounded by cats.

It’s a lovely story (well apart from the bit about cat stew). And that is why today cat sculptures can be found all over the village. A selection of photos can be viewed below.

There’s also a large collegiate church there, which is quite a landmark in the otherwise small village – but it was not open while we were there. An excuse to visit again in the future!

After leaving La Romieu we pottered our way to the airport – taking the sceneic route. Still 6 hours early for Mum’s flight – but I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me to get up towards La Rochelle. I write this blog post from the warmth of my caravan on Île de Ré, where I am about to go exploring.


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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