The Burning mountain and the Acacia forest. Part 2

The spa in Cransac, made from acacia wood, and sitting above the town on “la montagne qui brule” is surrounded by the largest acacia forest in Europe. If you  visit “La forêt de la Vaysse” in May  the air is full of the smell of acacia blossom (a glorious mixture of the smell of honey and jasmine) and the sound of the bees working away on the early summer treat acacia honey. Go on a Saturday and you can also treat yourself to some acacia fritters or buy a bottle of the syrup at the local market.



The thermal springs, that have been know since antiquity, became famous throughout France in the 17th century and people still come to take the water, a “cure” can legitimately be prescribed by your doctor.  The “curists” are a much sort after section of the tourist market. Walking through the forest you sometimes see the pipes weaving through the trees taking the precious waters to the spa and even the ground steaming as the mountain “burns”.

The burning mountain


The Burning mountain and the Acacia forest. Part 1.

2017-05-16-13-35-00--1210786499Aubin and Cransac are two towns so close together that you cannot see the join.  But both have a very clear identity.  Aubin, with its connection to the mine at Decazeville, it’s musée de la mine and the maison de la memoire resistance, deportation et citoyenneté, has a gritty down to earth atmosphere.

In Cransac, on the other hand, you sense the loss of a more affluent past, an air of tired gentility.

Cransac’s elegant buildings: the huge Hotel Du Parc, the old town hall and above all, literally, les Thermes. Are down to the presence of thermal springs first exploited by the Romans.

To Market, to Market

People arriving from the UK are always keen to visit a French market while they’re here, even people from other parts of France want to investigate the differences to their local markets.

The “go to” market around here is the Thursday morning market in Villefranche de Rouergue. and it certainly is a magnificent market, picturesquely situated in a bastide town and maintaining a core of genuine local producers, but…..

For me real life is reflected more genuinely in the little local markets, why? Well let me see:

Let’s start with the basics, it’s easier to park! OK maybe not the best reason, what else? Well all markets will have several fruit and veg stalls, (including little local producers and at least one larger “professional” green grocer), a butcher, and a cheese stall. So there really is no need to waste, time and petrol going elsewhere. Plus a smaller market you use regularly allows you to develop a rapport with stallholders, which makes it a more pleasant experience and means that they are able to advise you based on your habitual purchases and to source things you might request.

My personal favourites locally are;
Montbazens on Wednesday mornings, which has 4 local veg producers, a lady selling pork products from her own local farm, two fruit and veg stalls, a local chicken producer, 2 cheese stalls, a fish stall, two butchers and a horse butcher. You can even buy aligot or paella for your lunch. Can’t see that you need much more!

Cransac is interesting, blink and you miss it, it’s Saturday 1 to 3! Even smaller than Montbazens, but still has local producers of, fruit, veg and honey, (including a local organic producer) and butchers and bakers if not a candlestick maker!

Cransac marketP1020842 P1020844 P1020847 P1020849
So support your local market and local producers and save some time in the car and money on petrol, what’s not to like?