Last modified: 2014-01-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: gers | samatan | fountain |
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Flag of Samatan - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 25 November 2012
The municipality of Samatan (2,297 inhabitants in 2009; 3,353 ha) is located 40 km west of Auch. Samatan is watered by river Save, who often flooded the town - for the last time on 27 July 2012.
Samatan is the capital of the canard à foie gras du Sud-Ouest protected geographical indication (PGI), foie gras being locally known as "pink gold". The department of Gers is usually associated with
foie gras (some 900 producers raised 4,5 million ducks and sold 2,250
tonnes of foie gras in 2011 - poultry industry directly and indirectly
employs 3,900 people in the department), although the main producer is the
neighbouring department of Landes. Wise marketing actions made of
Samatan the "Mecca of foie gras" (La Dépêche).
The emblematic marché au gras is organized in Samatan every Monday, all the year round in a 2,400-sq. m hall. It is now the biggest foie gras market in France and the biggest market in Gers. The average sales are 15 tonnes of ducks and geese and 1.5 tonne of foie gras, the sales experiencing a three-fold increase in October-December, the foie gras main season.
Samatan is the birth town of the erudite François de Belleforest
(1530-1583), presented by B.L.O. Richter as an "enraged lampoonist" (article).
Belleforest is credited 53 works, including 18 works of his own and 35 translations / adaptations - for instance, of Boccaccio and Cicero. Belleforest used to add to his translations notes of his own on the religious situation of the time. He was such an enraged opponent to Protestants that he refused to read their works ("I am sure that they are the most vivid liars known on the Earth"), which did not prevent him to call Luther "the German Muhammad" and the Calvinists "impostors [...] who played more bloody and abominable tragedies than Barbarians ever dared". His own works of "fighting theology" are based on the parallel, common at the time, between paganism and calvinism as threats to the Christian religion. V.L. Saulnier recalls that Belleforest, quite poor and with little courtesan's skills, lived from his works, mostly commissioned by booksellers; accordingly, his work was profuse, hastily written and clumsy. His lampoons reflect his own fanatic views, which were not uncommon at the time, and are probably a kind of verbal revenge against his condition.
Ivan Sache, 25 November 2012
The flag of Samatan is white with the municipal logo. Remotely shield-
shaped, the logo has nothing to do with the municipal arms.
The upper left quarter of the logo represents the emblematic monument of Samatan, the fountain built in the 19th century in front of the Town Hall (photos). Made of bricks and designed in neo-classical style, the four-sided fountain was listed on 9 February 1993 as an Historical Monument.
The flag is seen on a photo taken on 25 March 2012 during the inauguration of the starting line of the 15th stage of Tour de France, Samatan-Pau, ran on 16 July 2012. On that day, some 30,000 attended the event (remember that Samatan has hardly 3,000 inhabitants!).
Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 25 November 2012