The chapel of Sainte-Marie-des-Chazes, on the left bank of the Allier river
|• Mayor (2008-2014)||Robert Chausse|
|Area1||40.01 km2 (15.45 sq mi)|
|• Density||20/km2 (52/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||43239 / 43300|
|Elevation||540–1,301 m (1,772–4,268 ft)
(avg. 910 m or 2,990 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The commune is a creation from the bringing together of several local villages and hamlets, most importantly Saint-Marie-des-Chazes and Siaugues-Saint-Romain. The Mairie is located in Siaugues.
Château de Saint Romain
The castle changed hands several times, coming into the possession of the La Fayette family in c.1400 under Gilbert Motier de La Fayette. It remained in the family until the French Revolution when it was taken by the commune and used as a quarry. The castle then passed into private ownership and some preservation work has begun.
The village is also known, more recently, as the country home of French poet Maurice Fombeure, one of a school of post-war writers who exalted the French countryside. Very active in the literary circles of Paris, he was awarded the Grand Award for Poetry from the City of Paris in 1958 and his works continue to be studied in France.
Although not born in the area he married Carmen Javaugues, a girl from Siaugues and a published poet in her own right, and it was through her family that he developed his strong and lasting sense of connection to Siaugues and to the Auvergne.
Writing of Siaugues, he said;
Au bruit des fontaines
Vous prend par la main
Ce n’est qu’un village
Ouvert sous les cieux
Village sans âge
Où l’on est heureux.
Siaugues St. Romain
Of the sound of fountains
Siaugues St. Romain
Takes you by the hand
This is a village
Open to the heavens
A village without age
Where one is well.
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