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Friday, 10 August 2012

French Friday - Festival de la Moisson

St Ouen la Rouerie - Festival de la Moisson et des Vieux Metiers

Around this time of year, in many villages in France there will be a local fete celebrating la moisson, which is the harvest of the arable crops. We went along to a local-ish village last Sunday to have a have a look see. 'Vieux metiers' translates as old crafts/skills and as you'll see in the following photos the two go hand in hand really. It's all a bit of fun and about seeing how they did these things back in the good old days.

It started with a parade through the centre of the village of everything from a brass band, traditional dancers, Breton horses doing what they used to do in the past (i.e. be working heavy horses), then was followed by a display of ancient tractors and a few other things.

We then moved to the field where the events took place. These events are always held in a stubble field and it's quite fun watching the old threshing machines and having a look around at the displays. These are not huge events and really a couple of hours suffice for seeing all there is to see.

I took quite a few photos which I've tried to whittle down so will just post them here with captions.

The old boys with their old tools

Along came the dancers

The best bit for me - seeing the Breton horses scrubbed up and
actually doing some heavy horse work

I'm no expert but there may be some Cob Normand in this one.
It looks just a bit different around the neck and head, and is a bay rather than
chestnut or the lovely almost palamino colour of many Bretons
with their blonde manes and tails.

Now onto the old tractors

Some of which were lovingly restored and painted in bright colours

Some belched out clouds of smoke!

Some looked like they'd been rusting away in the corner of a barn for the last 50 years!

The Pompiers (Fire Brigade) from times gone by

A combine. I can't say as the ones I see in the small fields here look any more modern ;-)

Breton pulling a gypsy caravan

We looked inside later. It had a stove for heating/cooking on and a bed at the back.
It was really tiny inside.

Over in the field the old threshing machines (les batteuses) were going.

Perhaps there was a problem with this one!

Another batteuse

I'm not entirely sure, but I think this is how they did it before steam or diesel power.
Working horses going round and round. Must have been boring!

There was some local Breton dancing

And this exhibit which cracked me up!
A display of how they did the laundry in the good old days.
Those poor women must have had dreadful backache the next day!

Last but not least.
Me sporting my new basket which I bought
from the man selling hand made baskets.
I love it!


  1. What a lovely set of photos and description I could have almost been there.
    We have 2 Fest Nozs to go to within a week one no more than 20 away

    1. Thanks Mike! Hope you enjoy your Fest Noz. :-)

  2. Inspiring lol xx Ali xx

    1. Oh it was! You should have been there! ;-)))) xx

  3. Having spent most of yesterday catching up on a dreadful backlog of washing and ironing my knees & back are most grateful I don't have to do the laundry Moisson style

    1. LOL! Yup, even a sink and hot and cold water taps would be luxury compared to that!