Hidden Belgium: A folly dedicated to the patron saint of lost things

Hidden Belgium: A folly dedicated to the patron saint of lost things

Lost your phone? You might get help finding it in the pretty Ardennes village of Crupet, where an enormous folly is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of lost things.

Canon Jules Gérard spent the first three years of the twentieth century creating this fantastic folly. Hidden behind Crupet’s parish church, the eccentric structure was built out of 300 tons of local stone, cast iron, and concrete.

It is decorated with 22 brightly painted statues of humans and animals recreating four scenes from Anthony’s life, including a miracle involving a mule and a curious episode when fish listened to Anthony while he preached.

But the most bizarre feature is a massive 700-kilo figure of the devil made from solid iron who is shown trying to tempt the saint. The grotto used to attract thousands of pilgrims, but it is now almost forgotten.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.  


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