Apr 1, 2014
Today we drove through St Pons de Thomieres on our way to Olargues. We wanted to see the cherry blossom in the valley. At the right time it would be spectacular but the weather was not so good and the blossom was starting to fall and the new growth of the leaves was taking over. Nevertheless it was pretty and a very worthwhile trip. It wasn't just the cherry blossom that was worth seeing but the valley, the river and some of the bridges were spectacular. When we got close to Olargues we could see the village on the side of the hill with the river valley to the left of the village, however the village itself was a little disappointing.
We drove back into Mazamet and stopped by La Moutonnerie. This was an interesting museum recording the history of the wool processing industry in Mazamet. This industry gave Mazamet it's wealth but it declined in the 1950s and has now died out altogether. The museum is privately owned and run by a charming man whose father and grandfather worked in the industry. We watched a 10 to 15 minute video which contained old film of all aspects of the processing that took place from the cleaning of the skins to the preparation and export of bales of wool ready for final conversion into fabrics. The collection of old machinery, photographs and narrative about the issues facing the workers was well put together. What was relevant to us was the close association that Mazamet had with Australia as one of its major suppliers of sheep skins with photos of warehouses in Botany, Sydney. No doubt many of the skins came from the Western District in Victoria although Victoria did not get a mention.