Thursday, February 18, 2010

June 14, 2009 - Salers, France

Twenty-five miles north of Aurillac, on the edge of the Cantal volcanic region and the Volcano National Park, lies the tiny town of Salers with a population of just 400. Although its history can be traced back for about 1,000 years, the town really came into its own in the 16th century following its appointment as a local administrative center for the highlands of the Auvergne and home of its magistrates in 1564. Most of the existing dark gray volcanic stone buildings were constructed in that era, many of them lavishly embellished. Seemingly frozen in time, Salers has seen few significant changes in the intervening centuries and is now an exceptional example of life and architecture as it was in the 16th century.
The flip side sadly, is that the town has no viable means of support outside the exploitation of its past which it seems, it does quite successfully.
An oblique claim to fame for
the town is the Salers breed of cows. The main square in town, Place de Tyssandier d'Escous, is named for Ernest Tyssandier d'Escous, a 19th century veterinarian, who was central to the revival of the breed in the 19th century. A by product of this effort, is the officially recognized Salers cheese, a version of Cantal cheese and one of just five from the Auvergne region. More pictures of this historic town here.

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