Rugby is played with an oval-shaped ball like the American football. This 'oval' shape--l'Ovalie--is how many refer to the rugby heartland of southwest France. At the Port Lauragais service area (on the A61 motorway, adjacent to the Canal du Midi near Toulouse) there is the Ovalie, the national rugby museum. The museum was the brainchild of Jean Lacouture. Lacouture was de Gaulle's official biographer and a major presence in Parisian intellectual circles; he was also the long-serving rugby correspondent of Le Monde. The exhibition is a permanent multimedia celebration of the game conceived by Lacouture housed in a purpose-built edifice that 'combines the distinctive shapes of a scrummage and a line-out.' It was funded by a joint venture of the motorway operating company (Les Autoroutes du Sud), the French Ministry of Youth and Culture and the Midi-Pyrenees region.
Din', Philip; French rugby football: a cultural history, Oxford: Berg, 2001 (1859733220)