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Langeac (Municipality, Haute-Loire, France)

Last modified: 2017-12-03 by ivan sache
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Flag of Langeac, horizontal and vertical version - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 15 December 2004

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Presentation of Langeac

The municipality of Langeac (3,758 inhabitants in 2014; 3,394 ha; unofficial website) is located in south-eastern Auvergne on river Allier, between Brioude and Saugues.
Langeac is located near the entrance of the wild gorge of Upper Allier, which can be visited only via a scenic railway line built between Langogne and Langeac in the 19th century. Until 1977, one of the biggest fluorine mines in France was located near Langeac.

Langeac was one of the 13 Good Towns of Auvergne, which sent representatives to the State General of Auvergne. The town was surrounded by a city wall defended by seven fortified gates, only one of them being still standing.
Langeac was the site of several religious foundations. The priory dedicated to St. Catherine is still ruled by Dominican nuns. In the first half of the 17th century, the Prioress was Mother Agnès of Jesus (biography). Born in 1602 in Le Puy-en-Velay, Agnès decided when aged 7 to serve the Blessed Virgin and to wear a heavy iron chain around her waist for the rest of her life. She entered in 1621 the newly built priory of Langeac; as a cook, she had to go several times a day to the well, which was located far from the kitchen, but never ever complained or did ask any help but to God. Accordingly, a profuse spring of freshwater gushed fourth in the kitchen. The miraculous spring, said to have healed several sick people, is still located in the aisle for old people, which replaced the early priory, but is still administrated by the nuns.
Another holy spring, Mother Agnès' Hole, is located on the St. Rocco's hill, which dominates the town in the south. During the black plague epidemics of 1630, Mother Agnès encouraged the inhabitants of Langeac to build on the hill a chapel dedicated to St. Rocco, then invocated against plague and contagious diseases. When the masons complained because they had to carry uphill water from river Allier, Agnès marked a specific place and advized the masons to dig there, promising they would find water. The spring is still there, although very weak; its water was still used by infirms some years ago.
After having caused a miracle in Langeac in 1952, Mother Agnès was beatified by the Holy See in 1994.

On 13 August 1786, General de Lafayette, appointed Marquis de Langeac, visited the town. This Belle Journée (Nice Day) has been commemorated every year since 1997 at the end of July.

The Declaration of Langeac was elaborated during the "Equal Parenting" Summer School (website), held in Langeac from 25 to 31 July 1999. The opening principles of the Declaration are:
1. Fathers and mothers should be accorded equal status in a child's life, and consequently should have equal rights and equal responsibilities.
2. Where the parents cannot agree, the children should spend equal time living with each parent.
3. Parenthood must be based only on the child-parent relationship, not that between parents. Children have the right to know both parents and vice versa.

Ivan Sache, 15 December 2004

Flag of Langeac

Pictures taken during the "Equal Parenting" Summer School show two flags hoisted on facades of ancient houses, probably where the Summer School took place:
- a big rectangular, blue flag, charged with a yellow rooster surmounted by a white fleur-de-lis, shifted to the tail of the rooster;
- a vertical, forked blue banner, charged with a white rooster alone.
In the rectangular flag, the rooster looks towards the flag hoist, in the banner the rooster looks towards the flag fly.

The coat of arms of Langeac is "Azure a rooster argent combed and wattled gules in chief a fleur-de-lis or".
These arms were granted by King Charles VIII in 1487. Matthieu says that in 1488, the Consulate (municipal authority) of Langeac was set up; Charles VIII granted "a common seal with as arms a rooster surmounted by a fleur-de-lis".
The Summer School's website shows the coat of arms apparently used in Langeac, with a white rooster looking towards the "hoist" surmounted by a yellow fleur-de-lis. The shield is surmounted by a crown. The scroll placed below the shield bear the (there unreadable) motto of the town.
All these sources show the same coat of arms for Langeac, but the flags show something different. The rectangular flag has the colours of the rooster and the fleur-de-lis reverted, whereas the forked banner has a rooster as on the coat of arms but no fleur-de-lis at all.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 15 December 2000