Yes, this weekend is the festival of scallops (Coquille St. Jacques) at Port en Bessin-Huppain, Calvados. A celebration of these and other fruits de mer; and also of the festival de chants de marins d’Europe.
Lots of manifestations, and degustastions, to celebrate the sea foods so much enjoyed (though not by Marjory) in this area of France. This part of Normandy, better known for the tourist attractions of the World War 2 Landing Beaches, is celebrating its more ancient heritage of sea-foods.
But what of the history of the coquille St. Jacques? What does this tell us of this area?
In the Middle Ages the pilgrim road from Canterbury to Compastella crossed the Channel to Cherbourg and headed south through this area, of which Les Pieux (“The Pious”) was a key resting point. On to St. Michel, then across France to Spain and to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James (St. Jacques) at Compostella.
Pilgrims wore the badge of the scallop shell, and carried one of these with them in which to receive alms from the faithful along the way. The ancient way of the pilgrims is still part of the local heritage, and notes on following the way available from local tourist offices.
Yet another reason to pay a visit to this part of Normandy??
Bob and Marjory