"An overnight stop in Soumoulou." Soumoulou by ranger49
Soumoulou Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 5 photos
Soumoulou is a small town in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, Acquitaine. We were driving across France from Colliuore to Santander and it was at the right distance for us from the previous stop .
On entering the little town we got an impression of rather a poor little place. It was late afternoon on a Saturday, there were few people about and several shops had the appearance of being permanently Fermé.
I had not been able to find a reference to Soumoulou in any guide book so knew nothing of its history until after we returned home.
Google was rather slow but eventually produced the Link below from which I learned something of the ups and downs of this formerly prosperous town, famous for its agriculture and meat markets for over a century.
Changes in farming methods and in the distribution of agricultural products resulted in the decline of traditional cattle and produce markets for which the town was famous and which had brought trade and prosperity to its citizens.
After a period of decline opportunities to revitalise the town arose. The cattle market in Pau refused to allow a Brocante market to be held on the market site there because of the opposition of local antique dealers.
Soumoulou's municipal leaders grasped the mettle and invited the brocante and antique dealers of Pau to set up their stalls on one of the town's redundant cattle markets. Now Soumoulou has become the regional centre for regular large flea markets and antique fairs - and a weekly Sunday morning auction of second hand cars one of the biggest in SW France!
As we drove away up the High Street on Sunday morning we wondered why there were hundreds of people about the centre.
We knew they were not all going to church, hazarded several guesses - all wrong - but now we know!
I guess that tourism has also seen a decline - walking in the Pyrenees does not attract the same numbers it did even 50 -years ago and the construction of the A64 motorway that passes over the town has cut it off from passing visitors.
Lets hope this new trading activity will inject new life and the return of some of the town's former prosperity.
Better readers of French than I may glean more information below!
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