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©Les Hermaux, on Aubrac.
DiscoverThe village of Les HermauxIn the foothills of Aubrac

Les Hermaux

Discover Les Hermaux, a picturesque village in the foothills of theplateau de l’Aubrac

The village of Les Hermaux

Built in the foothills of the Aubrac, the village of Les Hermaux overlooks the Saint-Germain du Teil valley. The commune stretches from the Col de Bonnecombe to the Aurolle. Its well-preserved heritage bears witness to its picturesque history, a time when life was harsh in Lozère and on the Aubrac plateau. Since 1976, some forty lauze stones laid by local children bear witness to the names once given to passages, paths and localities.

Discover Les Hermaux, a picturesque village in the Aubrac region...

“And here are the houses, one on top of the other to take up less space, walls of dark colors rising in all directions. Of these houses, some rise suddenly, others fall in the same way; some look at each other head-on, others across; some see each other from the front, others from the side; some neighbor each other only at an angle, others turn their backs, and are all the more foreign for being so close. On these walls, so dark in appearance, rise roofs of the same color. There are streets, no doubt, in the middle of this village. You’d be tempted to think there weren’t, seeing this jumble of houses thrown one on top of the other.”

Abbé Darde, parish priest of Les Hermaux in the early 20th century.

A little history

Discovering Les Hermaux…

The origins of the village are unfortunately unclear, having been lost in the mists of time. What we do know is that a castle once stood on the square near the church. The lord of Les Hermaux at the time was the Baron de Canilhac, who paid tribute to the lords of Peyre. The lords of Peyre were answerable to the bishop of Mende, who owned a large part of the Gévaudan lands under royal decree. The castle was a defensive structure, protecting the Hermalziens and the lord’s lands at the highest point of his barony. All that remains of the ramparts that once surrounded the village is a single gate. People arriving from the east had no choice but to pass through it to enter the village. Bear in mind that, until 1875, the commune didn’t have a single practicable road for communication with the other communes! In that year, the road from Saint-Germain du Teil to the village was built, passing through the hamlets of Mascoussel and La Fabriguette.

The Maison du Cadet and the Hermaux village plaques

Take a look at the Maison du Cadet, with its handsome porch typical of Hermaux architecture. It’s named after the village’s mayor, “cadet” in Occitan. He lived here until a few decades ago. You can see the name of the house inscribed on the lauze slabs. They were made in 1976 by the Bouchier couple, children of the region. 45 similar plaques are scattered around the village. Written in Occitan and French, they perpetuate the old names given to the village’s streets, squares and houses. They contribute to the memory of the village and its inhabitants. In the past, the village was self-sufficient in terms of its many trades. In 1845, there were 686 inhabitants and 144 houses. There was a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a dressmaker, a stonecutter, a miller, a weaver… Some of these lauzes indicate the houses where these people lived (the cobbler’s square, the blacksmith’s house…).


Plague narrowly averted…

Living in Gévaudan in the year 1720 was not a pleasant experience. After a great famine had deeply weakened the population, the plague struck. It’s likely that the plague was brought back by the wool trade from Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Turkey). An unfortunate merchant brought it to the hamlet of Corréjac, near Auxillac, on his way back from a fair in Saint-Laurent d’Olt, where he came into contact with contaminated fabrics. Fearing that the plague might reach Les Hermaux, the parish priest of the time organized a mission preached by Father Valette. On the closing day, September 14, 1722, a cross dedicated to Saint-Roch was erected in the middle of the village. Here’s an extract from the act of vows deposited by the parish priest in the archives: “Considering and seeing with regret and sorrow that the plague or contagious disease is increasing more and more around the neighborhood of the said parish of Les Hermaux, that the source and cause of this scourge of which we are threatened can only proceed from the sins we have the misfortune to commit so often, recognizing that this is an effect of God’s wrath and that to appease and calm, we are resolved to prepare for death and place ourselves under the protection of the glorious and blessed Saint-Roch, making in his honor a sincere confession of all our sins and a holy communion to obtain from God, through his help, all that we need for time and eternity”. Some would argue that this initiative was effective, as the evil that decimated more than half the population of the villages of Banassac and La Canourgue did not reach Les Hermaux, just as it spared the villages of the Mandement de Nogaret(Trélans, Saint-Germain du Teil and Saint-Pierre de Nogaret) and Les Salces.



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