Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Florac, France, visited July 3, 2012

Florac, in south central France, is in the Lozère department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is a small town with a population of approximately 2,000 people.
Raymond of Anduze once held the barony of Florac and is recorded as using the castle there in the 13th Century. Later, in 1363, local born Pope Urbain V lent the town 300 florins for the construction of ramparts, defenses that were not unusual and offered desirable security and protection for the townspeople. These defenses remained in place until 1629 after the Treaty of Ales which insisted on the razing of fortifications as perceived "strongholds".
The Château passed through a number of feudal families before being entirely rebuilt in 1652 after the Wars of Religion.
During the French Revolution, it was turned into a "salt loft" and later was used as a prison in the 19th century. In the late 19th century, a then young Robert Louis Stevenson visited the area and featured the town in a chapter of his wry Victorian bestseller Travels through the Cevennes with a Donkey, published in 1879.
Since 1976, the castle has been the headquarters of the Cévennes National Park, who restored it and installed a permanent exhibition on the National Park.
Florac's Medieval Catholic Church was destroyed in 1561, during the Wars of Religion, and the first Protestant church was razed following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In a rush to recapture the religious revenue stream after the revolution, two new churches were erected on the old sites - a Protestant church in 1832 followed by the Catholic Saint Martin's a year later. More pictures of this interesting town are here.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Saint Pierre d'Albigny, France - June 25, 2012

Saint-Pierre-d'Albigny, a small rural town of 3700 souls is in the Savoie department of the Rhône-Alpes region. It is 290 miles from Paris and about 420 miles from Calais. A market is held in the town each Wednesday morning.
This fairly featureless farming town still supports an Office de Tourisme, a Mairie, a rundown hotel and the obligatory church. Certainly not a place to go out of one's way for but there is a reasonable campsite down by the river with a substantial grocery store nearby. See here for a few pictures.