Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sainte Foy la Grande, France - June 29, 2011

Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is pretty much at the intersection of three departments in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France. It is actually in the Gironde department but is close to the borders of both the Dordogne and the Lot et Garonne departments.
With little in the way of industry in the area, no commerce on the river and declining agricultural employment as France slowly (and reluctantly it seems) catches up with modern farming methods, career opportunities in Sainte Foy are scarce. Population peaked in 1975 at around 3,350 but has fallen steadily for the last 30 years and by 2008 was down to 2,550 - a loss of almost one in four people.
So, this quiet backwater, founded in 1255 by Alphonse de Poitiers, has been reduced to a large degree to dependency on tourism to the town and the surrounding countryside. A major problem is that far too many impoverished towns in rural France have been backed into the same condition by economic circumstances and sadly only a small fraction of these have the wherewithal to develop a formula that works.
More pictures here.

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