French Language Blog

The Super Moon (et les loups-garous) Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

Did you see the super blood moon eclipse this week? My family and I put on Van Morrison’s “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and sat on the lawn watching the special eclipse this past weekend. It was a special experience and, apparently, one that won’t occur again until 2033. Check out the picture we took of the eclipse above.

While watching the full moon, my husband and I told stories about les loups-garous, or werewolves, to our son. On ne voulait pas lui faire peur–we didn’t want to scare him, only entertain him. There are many old French tales, or contes, about werewolves, some of them more playful and some downright scary. In Quebecois literature especially, les loups-garous have a rich tradition. Sometimes known as rougarous, werewolves in the French Canadian tradition are linked with both Catholic religious and superstitious traditions. According to some stories, Catholics can be transformed into loups-garous if they break Lent seven years in a row! This transformation could last for 101 days, according to folklore, or until someone recognized the transformed werewolf and drew their blood.

Joseph Gagné at Curieuse Nouvelle-Francehas done some archival work into both Quebecois myths about les loups garous and news accounts from the 18th century. In “Gare au loup-garou de Québec!” (or “Beware of the Werewolf from Quebec!”), he includes an excerpt from a 1766 article in the Gazette de Quebec:

L’on apprend de St. Roch, près du Cap Mouraska, qu’il y a un Loup garou qui court les côtes sous la forme d’un Mendiant; qui, avec le talent de persuader ce qu’il ignore, et en promettant ce qu’il ne peut tenir, a celui d’obtenir ce qu’il démande. On dit que cet Animal, avec le secours de ses deux pieds de derriére, arriva à Québec le 17 dernier, et qu’il en repartit le 18 suivant, dans le dessein de suivre sa mission jusques à Montréal. Cette bête est, dit-on, dans son espece, aussi dangéreuse que celle qui parut l’année derniére dans le Gévaudan; c’est pourquoi l’ont exhorte le public de s’en méfier comme d’un Loup Ravissant.

What do you think? Scroll down to read the English translation and check out Curieuse Nouvelle-France to learn more about folklore about les loups garous.

English translation (taken from Gare au loup garou de Québec!):

“By accounts from St. Rock, near Cap Mouraska, we learn, that there is a Ware Wolf wandering about that Neighbourhood, in the Form of a Beggar, which, to the Talent of persuading People to believe what he himself is ignorant of, and promising what he cannot perform, adds that of obtaining what he desires. It is said that this Animal came, by the Assistance of his two hind Legs, to Quebec the 17th of last Month, and set out from hence the 18th following, with a Design to persue his Errand to Montreal.—This Beast is said to be as dangerous as that which appear’d last Year in the Country of Gevaudan; wherefore it is recommended to the Public to be as cautious of him as it would be of a ravenous Wolf.”


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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!


  1. Tom Reidy:

    As a Canadian, but not Quebecois, I found the article very interesting