Our beautiful village of Montmaurin in Haute-Garonne is a special place. It nestles on a hillside in an area of outstanding beauty between the valleys of the Rivers Save and Seygouade, in an area rich in nature and archaeological interest.
To the south of the village are the dramatic cliffs of the Gorges de la Save, with wooded slopes and prehistoric caves.
In the secret depths of the region’s water-etched limestone features there have been many outstanding archaeological discoveries of national and international importance. As well as the myriad Roman artefacts, the remains of many prehistoric plants and animals have been found, including the magnificent full skeleton of a prehistoric lion and the famous Venus of Lespugue, a tiny carving in tusk ivory of a pregnant woman dating back to the high Palaeolithic period.
In the Save valley below the village is the impressive Villa Gallo-Romaine – the largest Roman villa in France.
The area is equally rich in fascinating and rare flora and fauna, including rare orchids, ancient ferns, a variety of wild birds including black woodpecker, hen harrier, kite, nightingale, cuckoo, the elusive but tuneful golden oriole, many species of bat, the beautiful fire salamander and even the original ‘Roman snail’, bred for the table at the Villa Gallo-Romaine.
Imagine, then, that a large national quarry company has chosen to ignore the natural beauty, the archaeological heritage and scientific interest of Montmaurin and, instead, proposes blasting up to 150,000 tonnes of rock out of the hillside here every year for the next 30 years.
This has triggered a fierce legal battle to stop the quarry project, supported by many eminent archaeologists and conservationists, as well as many local people.
We are trying to send a message to the world to visit our wonderful area, and there is an association where you can register support ( entresaveetseygouade. blogspot.com). Jane Marston Butling Montmaurin, Haute-Garonne