LightofFrance Feature Articles

It’s that time of year in Normandy … the sheer volume of chestnut trees requires no one begs for them. The French go out with baskets daily to collect their share off the roads, in the fields and towns; wherever the chestnuts fall, you will find folks gathering their stash for the winter and holidays.

Spend five minutes with one of these shells cracked open in the palm of your hand, and commune with nature. It’s all here …

… and in that autumn fall, that shift of season, there is so much to embrace, so much to harvest for winter.

There’s a basket full of walnuts on my kitchen floor. I use it to make sure the mice don’t find their way in from the just sheared fields of corn. They do come running. But I realized by accident years ago, in the middle of the night, some poor little guy had rolled one right out of the basket across the plank chestnut floors, and lodged it in a crack between the boards.

Next morning, the evidence was obvious. And, on occasional cold autumn nights when the leaves have not quite dropped, I’ll hear a walnut go rolling across the floor.

Aah, it’s a sure-fired way to catch them.

Locals sell chestnuts in a somehow-functional, ancient metal open fire during the Christmas season in Dinan, in Pontorson, in Avranches — hot chestnuts are delicious! Try it next you’re there for the winter holidays. It will be a stamp in the memory book of your time in France.