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Welcome to Lamanere, part of the Haut-Vallespir located in the department of the Pyrénées-Orientales, and nestled in a lush green landscape. Lamanere is an ideal starting point for many
beautiful hikes, as well as a place with a rich historical and cultural heritage. A marker has been erected on municipal territory on the ridge line marking the border with Spain at the precise
geographical point (latitude 42 ° 19 ’59’ ‘N – longitude 2 ° 31’ 58 ” E) indicating Lamanere’s particularity as the southernmost village in mainland France.


The first mention of Lamanere was in 1323, the village name coming from the Late Latin word, “minera”, meaning mine or ore.
Tradition suggests that mining in the area goes back to Roman times. The first documentation of prospecting was at the end of the 13th century and beginning of the 14th century, as was the case in
almost all of the Vallespir area.
The appearance of hydraulic forges contributed to the exploitation of many deposits in Lamanere, as multiple records confirm in the 15th century.
Several sites were exploited to supply the forges specialising in iron ore smelting. But by the 18th century what was most mentioned in Lamanere were the deposits of copper, silver-lead, zinc, silver
and even gold.
Prospecting was intense in the 19th century, with both locals and outsiders forming companies and associations to make their fortunes. At that time, there were no less than 12 veins being mined with varying degrees of success.
However, remoteness, difficulty of transport and the inability to process the ore on site ultimately led to the failure of these mines.
The years between 1920-30 marked the end of mining in Lamanere, although the village has kept its name.


This large building was built between 1910 and 1912 to house the Town Hall, a school and, subsequently, a post office. The building was opened on 19 November 1912.
THE TOWN HALL, which has been in its current location since 1994, was first located on the courtyard level in the building when its construction was completed. It was there until 1962 when it was moved to another municipal building near the main square of the village at the corner of Carrer de Dalt, where it was located until 1994.
Mr Sauveur CASSULY became the first elected Mayor of LAMANERE in 1790.
THE SCHOOL. A statement by teachers drawn up on 5 Nivôse de l’An X (1801), based on the French Revolutionary calendar, informs us about public education in the Pyrénées-Orientales at that time. It mentions that a certain Philippe CASSULY taught reading, writing and arithmetic to 30 male pupils in Lamanere. A statistic from14 July 1876 reveals the presence of a girls’ school in the village, and estimates the number of children attending school as 41 boys and 39 girls.
Starting in 1912, the school, with its classrooms and large courtyard level playground, was housed in this building. For a long time it was composed of 2 classes, then only one before its closure in July 1966. Since then, children in the village have attended the school in the neighboring village of Serralongue.
THE POST OFFICE. In October 2012, the village approved a loan for the construction of a post office, which opened in 1913. Installed in the south wing of the building, with a full time postmaster, it became an “auxiliary” post office in 1971 and continued as such until 1982.
The upper floor of the building was used to house the teachers and the postmaster. When these two institutions closed, the municipality rented out the existing flats. This building, which was multi-purpose from the outset, also housed children in a summer camp. These camps were run by the Association des Pupilles de l’Enseignement Public (APEP), which had signed an agreement with the municipality, in 1962, and continued until 1978. In the 1990s, work on the courtyard level led to the construction of a large hall to host meetings and cultural and festive events in the village. At the beginning of this century. the village began renovations to create, first, a bistro, and then in 2004, a restaurant, which now occupies the premises next to the Town Hall.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Lamanere had a population of approximately 500 inhabitants.
The main occupations among the men of the village were mining, espadrille-makers, trépointeurs (workers who sewed the soles to the fabric of the espadrilles), farming and raising livestock.
The muleteers (in Catalan “traginers”) transported wood, charcoal (made in the forest) and sacks of grain, while a blacksmith was available to shoe the mules and make agricultural tools.
As for the women of the village, they worked as espadrille-makers, embroiderers, seamstresses and midwives.
In addition, they took care of their families from morning to night, cooking “l’ollada” (a vegetable and meat casserole), gardening and taking care of the pigs, rabbits and chickens… all part of their
daily chores.
For holidays, the Lamanerois would go to “Can Po”, the barber/hairdresser.
There were three grocery stores. The oldest was “le Café de l’Union”, signs of it can still be seen at no. 3 rue Ste Christine. It was both a grocery shop and a pub. It was later bought by the Orriols
family and would become a boarding house/hotel/restaurant (the large building next to the church).
In the square at Hortense Coste’s, one could buy groceries, as well as fabrics and haberdashery .
Opposite was the third grocery store, the “Botiga”, run by Marguerite Capallera, also known as Néné, It had replaced the cafe/restaurant Guisset. It was the last shop to close, at the end of the
It not only sold food, but also tobacco (including cigarillos sold by the piece, which some smoked on Sundays), haberdashery, newspapers and cooking gas. You could also buy a wide range of items
that have now largely disappeared: Job rolling papers, balls of yarn, fresh butter and more. It seemed that one could find everything at Néné’s. If an item wasn’t in stock, she would order it. This
is why the square was bustling with activity every evening, as the Lamanerois would come and wait for the “Massardo” bus, which would deliver goods and the mail.
Another small detail: Néné provided an important “public service”, allowing the villagers to use the telephone. Her shop was a meeting point appreciated by all.


With the appearance of the sandal industry at the beginning of the 20th century, class consciousness appeared among the workers, as seen with the establishment of corporatist unions, as was the case in Lamanere in 1906. The villages first progressive mayor was elected in 1908.
Although it may today sound a bit strange, the class struggle was a reality in this small village, where more than 200 people worked for the owner of the Coste Firm. Also the owner of the only
grocery shop, the latter was able recover part of the wages paid to workers by the system of the “Llibreta”, a small notebook where all the purchases made by each family were noted and then
deducted from workers’ pay each fortnight.
At the end of WWI business was not going well and in 1920, the head of the Coste Firm imposed a 20% wage cut. In December 1921, refusing to depend on their boss any longer, 7 workers from the
Coste factory, along with an eighth worker from outside, founded the Workers Cooperative. The cooperative grew rapidly and under the impetus of Elie Dubic, production was mechanized. The
cooperative ceased its existence in 1981 with the retirement of its last worker.
At the end of the 19th century, the workers of Lamanere stood out by creating a mutual insurance company which they called “La Fraternelle”.


The Centro, a cooperative tavern run by volunteers and an offshoot of the Workers Cooperative, an espadrilles workshop, was established in 1922. It was open a few hours each day and on weekends.
The tavern housed a dozen large casks filled with wines from the Roussillon plain in its cellar, where the villagers could buy wine for their personal consumption.
In the tavern young people danced polka, mazurka… and then javas, passo-dobles, tangos and waltzes to the sound of an accordion, a violin, a coin operated piano and, later, to the sound of a
phonograph, The Centro was also a bistro, the men drinking cold anisette or a pint of wine, while chatting in Catalan. They played TRUC with Catalan cards: Espases (swords) to symbolize the army; Bastos (clubs), the rulers; Copas (cups), the chalice of the Clergy and Oros (gold shield), the merchants.
The pairs of players communicated through facial expressions, pouting and grimacing. This friendly and hospitable place in our village remained open until the end of the 1960s.


This stone bridge located on the Lamanere River still bears traces of a great flood. From 16 to 18 October 1940, unceasing violent rains and a powerful windstorm fell on Lamanere, the Roussillon
region and in particular the Vallespir. The rivers turned into torrents and flooded the lower part of the village. One house was swept away, others were flooded or covered with mud and stones, along with branches and limbs uprooted in the mountains due to landslides. The streets were torn up and electricity was cut off for six months. The village was completely isolated and the departmental road was inaccessible. With all the fields completely destroyed, the daily life of the people of Lamanere became very difficult, especially as this was a time of war.
The floods caused considerable damage throughout the Vallespir but also throughout the broader region, where a total of 57 people died, almost half (27) in Amélie les Bains.


The BASSA DEL MOLI is the pond for a mill that has now disappeared, as have the six others that were once located near the village and along the river (La Molinera, Gusti del Moli, El Moli Nou,
El Moli de la Cabanya, El Moli del Pla Del Boix and Moli Del Manché). The only visible remains are two millstones that have been converted into picnic tables by the small pond in the village.
Mules transported the sacks of rye, wheat, barley or buckwheat to these mills at the water’s edge.
The miller transformed the grains into flour and kept part for his labour.
The miller also owned a few fields, which were spread out in “feixes” (terraced plots) held back by dry stone walls. The hard-worked land of Lamanere, fertilised with the manure from the pigs raised in each house, was used to grow potatoes, beans, corn and cabbage, which were used in preparing the daily “L’OLLADA” stew.
The people of Lamanere baked their bread at home in round ovens in their houses; there was never a baker in the village.
The last mill, that of Pla Del Boix, was in operation until after the Second World War.


Once the location of a mill, the current building was constructed to house mine workers and mining offices. In 1932, Mme de Thoisy (adopted daughter of Mme Veuve Fabre) donated the building to the nuns of St Vincent de Paul so that they could offer a holiday place for orphan girls. Later on, it would become a holiday camp for young girls.
In 1939, in response to the “Retirada” (the massive exodus of men, women and children fleeing Franco’s army at the end of the Spanish Civil War), this charitable institution cared for and housed
hundreds of refugees. The following year, young girls from the Van Der Burch Foundation (located in Cambrai and Le Quesnoy in northern France) and fleeing the German occupation were housed
there. After these painful episodes, the building again became a holiday camp and existed as such until 1970.
Shortly after, the ADPEP (Departmental Association of Public School Pupils) bought the property.
However, the premises were too costly for the association to maintain. Subsequently, under the impetus of the Association for the Safeguard and Renewal of Lamanere, the municipality bought the
This association (law 1901) was established in 1985 through the support of the people of Lamanere and friends, and revived this place steeped in the history of the village. The association offered
guided hikes, nature classes and fairs, published books and welcomed hikers, and organised many other activities. It continued in existence for fifteen years.
More recently, in 2019, a new association, the “Plaçot au Coeur”, was created. Its interest and calling is to rehabilitate this large building and bring more life to this small village in the Haut


After the fall of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, over a two week period from 28 January to 13 February 1939, thousands of Spanish Republican refugees crossed the
border at the Col de Malrems, one of the main crossing points, and arrived in LAMANERE.
This small village of 350 inhabitants with very little means, had to manage this massive arrival of Spanish Republican refugees, made up of civilians and soldiers,
women and children, the sick and the wounded, as well as the elderly, all fleeing Franco’s army.
LA RETIRADA (the retreat) is the term that would be used to describe this massive, brutal and desperate exodus during the freezing winter of 1939.
The French political authorities declared themselves caught unawares and had no response planned. The local councillors and the population did what they could,
humanely and organizationally, to welcome and help this wave of humanity.


It is near this stone vaulted ceiling that provided access to a crossing on the river Taix, where the oldest house in the village is likely to be found.
This house was probably the first “hospital”, or rather a “maladrerie”, a place to receive travellers in need of care, food or simply rest. It was a type of charitable home run by “Donats”, individuals
devoted to a cause and subject to strict rules under the authority of a “Commandeur”.
It was the presence of this establishment that was likely to have led to the construction of the first church in Lamanere in 1378.
Due to its privileged geographical situation and easy access via the Col de Malrems [Malrems Pass] (1131m), this small hamlet developed and became the village of Lamanere. Mining activity and
agriculture would ensure its expansion. Later on, trade in goods would supplement the income of village inhabitants.


It is likely that this square, the Era de la Jove, was the place where the threshing of the different cereals grown in the village was carried out. The grain, which was cut down by the lord or the state,
was turned into flour by the mills located on the Lamanere river.
In 1778, the inhabitants of Lamanere paid 332 livres and 10 sols (approximately 2 700 €) in taxes.
The rectory of the village changed location and owner several times. The building where it was first located, returned to the Roca family during the Revolution, was then reclaimed by the municipality in 1808, although this claim was unsuccessful, It was not until 1812 that the question of housing for the priest was resolved. In that year, Michel Xicoy donated a house to the municipality, which became the rectory, located by the Era de la Jove.
The decision to rebuild the rectory in its present form was made in 1813. In 1814, Mr. Noguer won an auction for the house for the sum of two thousand sixty-four francs.
In 1906, the 23 Xicoy heirs claimed ownership of the building and on 4 July of that year they won their case. The rectory later became the property of the diocese and despite several claims from the municipality over the years, it was not until1978 that the village was able to acquire it, although its state of disrepair had left it uninhabitable.
In 1984, the municipality renovated it and created 5 gite apartments.


The main mining gallery located in the En Bourrec garden required, given the flow of water, the excavation of a drainage gallery to facilitate the work of the miners. The water in this gallery flows
continuously at all times of the year. The clear, fresh water from this upper fountain now quenches the thirst of hikers.
In 1921 a network was set up to supply the fountains that serve the streets of Lamanere.
The upper fountain initially fed an open-air stone laundry house, built by the village after a law in 1851 obliged all municipalities to build such a facility. Previously, the washerwomen did the
washing on Sundays by the riverside. They knelt in a sort of box with 3 sides, in front of a flat stone, where they soaped, beat the laundry with a beater and then rinsed it with water.
The laundry house was reinforced and covered in the first part of the 20th century. It consisted of two basins, the larger one was used to wash dirty clothes with Marseille soap, a wooden beater and
a quackgrass brush, and the smaller one was used to rinse them in clear water. It was an important place of social contact; the “bugaderas” (washerwomen) of the village would meet there and take
advantage of the opportunity to chat and talk about their daily lives.


Espadrilles were first made in southern Catalonia and were a basic part of Catalan dress. They were also an object of smuggling into northern Catalonia until 1850, when the first workshop was set up in Saint Laurent de Cerdans. Making espadrilles also provided extra income in farm houses and village houses. In 1880, a workshop was set up in Serralongue, followed by one in Prats de Mollo in 1884.
In 1889, Michel Xatard established the first small espadrille workshop in Lamanere; however, shortly after he moved his production to Ceret. It was not until 1892 that the Coste brothers would
open their espadrille workshop in Lamanere, for which they remained partners until 1914. In 1911, they employed nearly 200 people: 3 men as espadrille-makers, 3 women as workshop workers, 48 men and 50 women working at home, 20 young people providing occasional labor, 20 day labourers and approximately 60 seasonal workers.
One can imagine the importance of this work in a village of 540 inhabitants. The power of the Coste brothers was all the greater as they also owned the only grocery shop in the village.
It was above all the production of luxury espadrilles that made the Coste brothers famous. Every year they claimed to send a pair of their finest espadrilles to the Queen of England.
In 1918, the brothers split up, Jeanet stayed in Lamanere and Jeanou moved to the village of Le Tech.
In 1920, a decline in sales put the Coste workshop in difficulty and the owner decided to cut wages by 20%. This decision led to the establishment of the Workers Cooperative in 1921 by employees
who rejected this measure.
Later, Jeanet’s son, Michel Coste took over the company and managed it with a more socially conscious attitude toward the workforce. He would manage the company until 1968 when it closed.


The cross on the lintel of this house bears witness to the existence of what is thought to have been the second hospital for the poor built in Lamanere. The first establishment of this type predated the construction of the village church, which was erected at the end of the 14th century. These medieval hospitals were found throughout the region from the 12th century onwards.
This charitable institution is therefore a reconstruction as indicated by the date 1686 engraved on the lintel. The Maltese-like cross was engraved in the 14th century on the wall of the hospital St-
Jean de Perpignan founded in 1116. This cross was also worn by the monks who were in charge of the Hospital St-Jean.
It should be remembered that Lamanere’s location made it a place of passage and exchange between the two sides of the Col de Malrems. This was a time when the two Catalonias were one and the
same country.


Construction on this place of worship began in 1378, as can be seen in the inscription engraved on a pedestal at its entrance: “Anno Domini MCCCLXXVIII fut principium ecclesia”. In the same
period, there is also mention of a cemetery on the right side of the nave. Originally a small, modest rural chapel in the Romanesque style of 12 by 5 metres, it was attached to the parish church of
Santa Maria de Serrralongue.
It was dedicated to Saint Sauveur, an uncommon name, and symbol of the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Its construction can be tied to the almost contemporary foundation of a hospital for the poor nearby.
It was not until 1722 that a priest resided there, and it became an autonomous parish in 1723, proof of the importance of the hamlet of Lamanere. It was completely renovated in 1745, due to both an increase in the population of Lamanere and to its general deterioration. Its semi-circular apse disappeared to allow the construction of a quadrangular tower-belfry. The sanctuary became
rectangular, which permitted the installation of a baroque altarpiece. The building was also enriched with side altarpieces.
Its alarming state required action from the town council on 20th January 1820. Due to the increase in Lamanere’s population, the church had become too small for the village’s 712 inhabitants. Its
redesign was completed in 1827. It’s current configuration dates from that time.
The last priest to serve here was Joseph Oro-Bach, until his death in 1936.


It is a beautiful, well-proportioned square. The back wall still holds the iron rings where Le traginer (the muleteer) would tie up the mules that would drink from the fountain, an old drinking trough.
All along the wall runs a stone bench similar to the pedrís, located on either side of the front door of many houses in the village… useful for resting or meeting people… and for the women making
espadrilles at home.
Enthroned in its centre stands “LE PLATANE”, a large plane tree, thought to have been planted on the 1 November 1830.
Major festivities took place on this square to celebrate the constitutional charter signed by Louis-Philippe, which granted legislative power and certain other rights to the people. The festivities
included a bull fight, unusual for the time, but a reflection of this important occasion.
Many events still take place in the village square, and in particular the annual Festa Major or town festival, organised for more than fifty years by the village’s dynamic festival committee.
The beautiful steps of the Saint Sauveur church sit facing the square. On these ten wide steps of l’Escaler, constructed of large stones from the area, the people of Lamanere working in the Coste
factory and the Cooperative would gather, especially between the two wars. They came to “fer l’hora”, spend an hour relaxing. They would passionately discuss the weather, politics and village
life, before being called back to work by the bell of the church tower clock.
Even today, the inhabitants of Lamanere continue to gather on the steps. L’Escaler remains a symbol of sociability and a place to watch life go by.