01 October 2021

Le centre-ville

Le centre-ville is what we call "downtown" in the U.S. It's the "city centre" in other English-speaking countries. The town you see here is located in a département that saw its population fall from nearly 300,000 in 1850 to fewer than 120,000 in 2018 because of massive out-migration — the town itself experienced a similar population decline. Only one other département in France has fewer people living in it than the one in which this commune (pop. 3,300) is the third largest town. Despite that, it's a town that is nationally and internationally known because of its major industry and product.




Quoting Wikipédia:
« Depuis le Moyen Âge, beaucoup d'hommes venant de toutes les communes du département
vont tous les ans dans les grandes villes, sur les chantiers de bâtiments, pour se faire embaucher
comme maçon, charpentier, couvreur... C'est ainsi que les maçons [de ce département] deviennent
bâtisseurs de cathédrales. En 1624, ils construisent la digue de La Rochelle. Au XIXe siècle, ils participent
à la construction du Paris du baron Haussmann. Initialement temporaire de mars à novembre,
l'émigration devint définitive : ainsi [le département] perd la moitié de sa population...


  1. LOL!, Ken. I can’t stop laughing. I found it. Let’s say that most educated people may have heard of the product of this small town. But I doubt that peasants in the middle of nowhere have heard of it.
    At some point, I thought it could be Saint-Nectaire, because of its cheese. But the town is too big. Then I thought of Laguiole, because of its renowned knives, but again, the town was too big. Then I found it!

  2. Oh, we still don't get to know! Darn! I have no idea whatsoever. Now that chm has figured it out, put us out of our misery with tomorrow's post :)

    1. Judy, I’ll help you. Think of the last two days, I’ll say no more.

  3. I am a peasant in the middle of nowhere, and I know Aubusson. ;-) They make some nice tapisseries! I tried to figure it out by the Hotel de France website, but that was no help at all. It led me to Switzerland.

  4. Hah. I was thinking Limoges. Hadn't seen that many pictures of Aubusson, and it looks like a place well worth visiting.
    I do know that the only departement less populated than the Limouzine is Corsica, so do I get a gold star?

    1. The population statistics I cited were for départements. The Limousin is actually made up of three départements: Creuse (where Aubusson is), Corrèze, and Haute-Vienne (where Limoges is). So the Creuse is part of the Limousin, which used to be an separate administrative region but is now just a sub-region of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (Bordeaux, etc.). It all gets pretty complex. Yes, you get a gold star. The Limousin has twice as many people as Corsica.


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