The name comes from Saint Florus Saint-Flour. Legend that this man would put his hand on the volcanic rock and would be open to him to let him pass, to enter the heart of the city. This path is accessible from the street Frauze and the path of the Goats (322 steps!).
The gastronomic specialties abound: cheese (Cantal, Saint Nectaire, blue, Salers, Fourme d'Ambert), the Auvergne stew (potatoes, carrots, pork), bacon (pork very tender).
Saint-Flour amazes the visitor. The city, proud, that cap the square towers of a Gothic cathedral stands, such a ship in the sky on a basalt promontory, one thousand meters of altitude. At its feet flows a peaceful small river qu'enjambait once, on an ancient bridge, probably of Roman origin, the old way of "France in Languedoc."
Fortress city at one with the volcanic basement that the root symbolizes, by its abrupt implementation, strong currency it illustrated over the centuries: "No one took me by force the wind." English, Road, Huguenots failed before the walls of that which the Treaty of Bretigny had been proclaimed "Keys of France against the Guyenne". During the Revolution, it earned the name "Fort Cantal" and for his achievements during the last war, it was cited in the order of the army.
A road hairpin, along beautiful organ, or a steep path leading to the door of Thuile, provide access to the citadel. The Old Town group its Renaissance houses around the Place d'Armes. St. Peter's Cathedral, the Gothic style, which blends and basalt stone Murat, contains the relics of Saint-Flour, "Le Beau Dieu", famous sculpture painted black walnut, unique and a beautiful mural restored few years ago.
The "villa Sancti Flori"...
In the fifth century, on this rocky outcrop defended on three sides by basalt cliffs, sometimes Lodève, a missionary bishop whose name reveals the Gallo-Roman "Florus". He gathers around him the people on the spot where he planted the cross of Christ. There leave at his death, a small church. Its influence is immense and for nearly five centuries, the Saint reputation will attract pilgrims around the tomb where, little by little, go to group homes that will become the Villa Sancti Flori.
In the eleventh century, a native son, the monk Odilon Mercoeur, the future abbot of the great Order of Cluny, endowed the city with a priory. Thus began the vocation of this small town in the center of civilization, a place of prayer but especially... stronghold. "Villa Sancti Flori" turns into "Oppidum Sancti Flori". In 1317, under Pope John XXII Saint-Flour became the seat of a new diocese. Possession, from the thirteenth century, its municipal franchises, acquired or granted the right of self-defense to residents abandoned the city sanfloraine attracts the favor of royalty to which it responds during the English occupation, in 1356 1391, a fierce defense that earned him the king Charles V the title "kingdom of Clef devers Guyenne".
And Charles VII came refuge...
Later, Charles VII threw herself behind its high walls to shelter them when, in 1437, returning from the Languedoc, he learned by a message from the Queen, the conspiracy of Angers which would bar the way to Paris. For eight days, he remains in Saint-Flour and enjoy this short break to collect his military forces before continuing his victorious march on Paris, recovery in English by the Duke of Richmond. Around the Saint-Pierre cathedral, high in the early fifteenth century, created an intellectual and religious center fed, over the centuries by the presence of notables, the consuls of the commune, people dress and justice. Thus, the town became a religious and judicial capital.
An architecture full of history...
It is remarkable to see how the rich past Sanflorain still reads in the old stones, the layout of streets, the order and character of medieval monuments remained standing. Two fortified gates still show the complexity of the defenses of the city. The terrace of the Rocks puts the visitor in the place where the medieval sentry watched the distant enemy bands took to the Gevaudan. Place d'Armes has substantially the appearance it had in the Middle Ages. Some arcades that were around have disappeared, the square has kept the two great monuments which constitute the framework: the Gothic cathedral and the "Renaissance" style facade of the Consular House. It is just walk its ancient streets with typical names like, instead of "Mets" Street of "Walls" or even the "Muret" to discover curious relics like this inlay ring in the doorposts the sixteenth century, to which the master of the house attached the bridle of his horse.
Glory days and dark periods...
The 1789 revolution breaks down the walls and puts an end to the military exploits of the city. From this distant and glorious past, it remains to Saint-Flour, his royal arms, "a blue field sown with golden lilies" which is the most valuable reward of military value. The seats have succeeded, in turn fingering, glory days and dark periods. In the last war, the sanfloraine city still retains the vivid memory of the suffering endured. For the first time ever, she saw her old citadel ground trodden by the enemy.
A calling home...
Center of a predominantly agricultural country, well aware of its natural setting and beauty of its sites, Saint-Flour turned to green tourism. It was the first city of the Cantal (and one of the first in France) erected by decree Tourist station on 13 June 1921. Its doors which for centuries were closely guarded the approach of the enemy, are now wide open its visitors.
The "Recluse" - the fierce city monitors the horizon of breathtaking Margeride Highway "The Meridian" which passes without touching, and the lower town. We win it by the Old Bridge on Ander, where for centuries the "Recluse", symbol of the soul of Saint-Flour, locked volunteer life in her dressing room corbelled, prayed for all Sanflorains.
Towards the blue waters - a few kilometers from Saint-Flour, Ander joined the Truyère retained in the majestic dam Grandval romantic surroundings, punctuated by masterpieces like medieval castle Alleuze and modern as the famous viaduct garage or his recent motorway counterpart.