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Le Mont de St Siméon

Île de France, France

Interesting excursions from St. Siméon

Posted by Luci Ackers on Nov 23, 2016
Interesting excursions from St. Siméon
  • Interesting excursions from St. Siméon
  • Interesting excursions from St. Siméon
  • Interesting excursions from St. Siméon
  • Interesting excursions from St. Siméon


There's no escaping the wonderful history and culture that surrounds the Île de France if you're staying at St. Siméon.

Holidays here offer you the opportunity to discover some of the most incredible landscapes and explore hidden places. Day trips from site will take you on a range of adventures. Some more mysterious than others...

One thing St. Siméon manager Hilary has been adamant about is her wish to introduce people to Francis Bourjot. Francis is a stone-cutter or lapidaire who cuts, polishes and works with semi-precious stones. He makes jewellery, ornaments and figures from inside the little workshop located by his house.

But here's the mysterious part: the location is being kept under wraps... Visitors to St. Siméon, however, can join one of the tours to Francis's residence and hear all about what it is that he does, and the story behind his work.

This workshop was once a bustling place, with up to 35 workers employed here during its heyday. The little workshop produced beautiful jewellery for expensive shops along Paris's famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Francis still uses the old machinery and his large polishing wheel would once have held up to six people, all polishing simultaneously.

During the Second Wold War and the German invasion a lot of businesses around France were forced to hide or protect their assets. For champagne houses, this meant bricking up the cellars, but for stone-cutters it meant burying their treasures in the garden! It is here that the majority of the stones still remain.

Though the war came and went, the stone-cutting workshop never really regained its former glory. So now Francis continues the legacy, using the piles of semi-precious stone that lie in his garden - hence the need for secrecy. He's sadly one of the last of his trade in France and he enjoys talking Hilary's guests through the workings of the place, the big polishing wheels and the antiquated but still functional machinery.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

1 Comment related to this article
André Militis 2 October 2017

Very interesting place to visit, you don't have to know about stones to enjoy the visit and listen to the story of an industry that employed 70 people before the war and now is a single man enterprise.

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