La Pierre Levée
Pantagruel tore off a huge boulder from the Passelourdain cliff, a rocky structure in the commune of Saint-Benoît in the Vienne. He would then have carried it to this place in Poitiers. Balancing her on nine stones, this nine-metre slab would then have served as a table for feasting.
In the 18th century, this dolmen located near the ancient city of Poitiers, in the district of the Dunes (Super dubiam) collapsed in the 18th century, giving this strangely inclined position.
La Pierre levée is an important step in the initiation of the Order of the Bitards, a student brotherhood referring to Rabelais. Every year, on the Wednesday of Student Week, the members party, drink and eat endlessly, since 1922 to “give life to the orgiastic and pantagruelic legacy left by Rabelais, a student from Poitiers in 1431”. A nearby high school bears the name of Dolmen and the old Poitiers prison in the next street was called the Pierre levée.
On the upper face of the Raised Stone is carved an axe with two branches.
1 Rue du Dolmen
An ancient monument very well known by the Poitevins, La Pierre Levée situated at 1 rue du Dolmen is very anchored in the local culture.
In a small square in the Dunes district of Poitiers, stands a dolmen dating from the Neolithic period.
It was located not far from the Roman road Lemonum (Poitiers) – Avaricum (Bourges) – Lugdunum (Lyon).
6 m long and 3 m wide, the inclined stone rests on 9 pillars. On its upper side, there is a sculpture in the shape of two axes.
Rabelais refers to it in the chapter of the Facts of the noble Pantagruel in his youth and Saint Radegonde would have carried the enormous block of stone on her head to make a table of it but the devil would have stolen one of the pillars from where its inclination.
Finally, the Pierre levée is a place of initiation of the Bitards, a student brotherhood of the University of Poitiers.
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Gargantua and Pantagruel
Parodying everyone from classic authors to his own contemporaries, the dazzling and exuberant stories of Rabelais expose human follies with mischievous and often obscene humor. Gargantua depicts a young giant who becomes a cultured Christian knight. Pantagruel portrays Gargantua’s bookish son who becomes a Renaissance Socrates, divinely guided by wisdom and by his idiotic, self-loving companion, Panurge.
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By Damien Canteau
Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.