Here you are reading my blog: and the chances are that you’ve never visited Laroque.
Let’s go for a stroll then, and get to know the place a bit. You may think, when you’ve seen the photos, that the town is quite shabby-chic. It’s not. For the most part, Laroque is just plain shabby. It’s going through tough times, and it shows. Underneath it all, though, are characterful buildings, streets with a story, and even places that are enjoying a prosperous renaissance. Let’s set off from our house at the edge of the old town, and walk up Rue de la Joie……
And here’s Rue de la Joie: a happy name for a shabby street
But it’s a street with some very old houses indeed.
Laroque has several town squares. Here’s one: our market place on Thursdays
Another view of the square.
Onwards up the hill to the next square, Place de la Republique. This used to be the market place
And up the hill again – towards the church.
The fine great west door of the church.
Just a quick walk out of town. Chapelle St Roch used to be the parish church. But the town was emptied by the Black Death, and rebuilt lower down the hill, leaving the chapel isolated.
A view of the town from on high – old and new jostling together.
Back towards the church….
… and the old ramparts defending the town.
‘Beware of the bees’. But you can buy M. Gelineau’s honey at all the markets round here.
Once this textile factory was one of many, employing 1000s from the town and beyond. Now it’s disused and in ruins….
… and its grounds have become, in part, vegetable plots.
Sheep may safely graze outside the council flats.
We still have handsome houses in town.
This trompe l’oeil decorated the pharmacy, now closed, next to our house.
Once, the owners of the textile mills had fine houses such as this. Now it’s the home of the town nursery, the out-of-school club and the music centre
21 thoughts on “Laroque: a town tour”
I really feel I’m getting to know Laroque now Margaret. This is a lovely idea – I’d like more please! Sharon
p.s. Andrew wants to know if there are any people in the town!!!
Now come on. I think you both know enough about small French towns to realise that once everyone’s done their shopping by round about 8.30 a.m.; once all the old men who’ve spent the morning chewing the fat together in the main sqaure have gone home for lunch; once the children are back in school after the two hour lunch break…. there’s nothing to go out for. 😉
I agree with Sharon – superb idea. I’d love to know more about some of those places too. The church door is amazing.
yes, Margaret, nearly in every village or town, there are some architectural details to admire thanks for the fotos, AnnA
You’ll be getting a whole different kind of architecture where you are, too (maybe they even paint the walls sometimes 😉 )
It is so interesting to see those pictures!
I wonder if the pictures corresponded to anything you, or anyone else, imagined?
Well, they seemed familiar to me in the sense that I’ve been to small European towns and knew that they’re often a mixture of things: old and new; clean and dirty; depressing shabby and charming shabby; open plazas and tiny streets. I wasn’t sure how big Laroque is, though I imagined it as a smaller rather than larger place because of the way you’ve written about it – for example, that post about the healers and how everyone in town knows who they are. I do think I expected more cafes 😉
Ah, well, thanks for the thought about bars and cafes. That’s worth a post all on its own and I think I’ll do one soon. On paper we have 3….. Population, by the way, is 2200. Ish.
no Margaret, no “sprayers” here……….lovely wherever you go from september till June………….(july/august to avoid !) – going to visit my family, back on april 10th, take care, AnnA
While I don’t know Laroque well, I’ve driven throught it any number of times, bought pizza from the pizza truck near a small market (evenings only) (at least I think it was in Laroque..), and driven around just to look at the place because it’s part of area.
I visited a woman[ I met in Montsegur at a Club Cathares event (Chez Costes as it was) and then again at Yves Maris’ house (when he was alive and still maire of Roquefixade)] upon her invitation, a house on the street that leads up the hill from the church, right side of street. Very old house, narrow as they so often are but a wonderful view of Montsegur and more countryside.
She is a professional harpsichordist. I don’t know if she gives lessons or what.
Sharing mutual interests (cats also, besides music and catharisme) .made for a memorable visit (I haven’t been back to France since); she played some Couperin for me. I have her name in my address book but somehow remembering her name isn’t as important as remembering the conversations…if you know what I mean.
She told me some of the history of the church and the local area.
One time in Foix (taking the old route when the tunnel was closed for repairs) I saw a sign that pointed to the left and indicated Laroque.(it leads directly to a stop light interesection in town)
Another trip and I decided to explore this other route (one gets tired of going the same way,esp through the construction zone) and found more beautiful countryside to enjoy, somewhat isolated small farms, and a somewhat boring church (the turn off also mentioned the ruin of a castle but by now I’d seen enough old castles/chateaux) but the graveyard was sad in the way they are, wonderful in the way they can be and delightful in an unexpected way.
One grave had a most ornate monument in iron, incorporating both Christian and Masonic symbols….and tucked away closer to the far wall, a family plot for the Famille Authier….not the same family but certainly the same name of the last Cathar bishop, Pierre Authie/Authier/etc.
I get email news from ariegenews.com weekdays so I’ve followed the decline and fall of the textile industries. When I first came to the area (2000) the company by the carrefour heading toward Lavelanet was still open, the windows bright with the fabric designs.
I love reading your posts they help me keep the good memories fresh and spark older memories to return…
Should I win the lottery (CA) I would buy a house in the area…it’s all the small things that somehow make life seem fuller and I a richer person for having experienced it. Thank you for sharing the greater Life….
You certainly seem to know and love the area. You’ll have to return and keep those memories bright and fresh!
Well I’ll have to get my walking shoes on when we’re over for easter. I recognise just over half the places you’ve photographed. (Shame on me)
Now then. Which half 😉 ? You’ll be glad to know your recycling bags are here. I had to order them for delivery here (they won’t go through a letter box) so you’ll have them when next you come. Which is…..?
Thanks very much. I can’t understand why it’s so difficult to get bags to allow you to recycle?.
Good Friday. For a week. Don’t know the arrangements yet for splitting time with Abigail in Toulouse and decorating in Laroque… But we’ll definitely see you during our stay.
It isn’t really, once you’re properly in the system. I’ll explain later! We’re having our daughter here at some point over Easter, but there’s bound to be a moment when we can see each other. Stay in touch!
Excellent! I’ve never heard of Laroque before, but your account is wonderful’
No reason at all why you should have heard of it. But I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!
Nice to see your town, really looks like a lot of villages in the Spanish Pyrenees too. Greetings, Ron.
Yes, Spain can do shabby with interesting undertones too, can’t it? 😉
haha, yeah, that too, i guess 🙂
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