"Museum of ""Old Mazères"""
Hôtel d'Ardouin - The gardens. Source: www.lebrelblanco.com
At the heart of the old walled town of Mazères stands the handsome Hôtel d'Ardouin. This houses the Museum of Old Mazères.
At the heart of the old walled town of Mazères, founded in 1253, stands the handsome Hôtel d'Ardouin. Built in 1580 by a rich pastel merchant, it is surrounded by gardens designed in the spirit of the Renaissance. It houses the Museum of Old Mazères.
A history of Pastel, the remains of the Abbey at Boulbonne, a portrait of Gaston Fébus, and a junior museum on the Second World War are the points to see on a visit. The Mazères brickworks camp was set up hurriedly to add to the one at Vernet in 1939. Following the collapse of the Spanish Republican army in February, the south of France became the favoured place for the withdrawing enemies of Franco.
On 6 February the civilian and military authorities set up a research committee on concentration and grouping camps. They decided to house the 12,000 militiamen of the 26th Durruti division (Catalan anarchists led by Colonel Ricardo) in the camp at Vernet. To improve the miserable conditions, 5000 people were "penned", in tents surrounding the Mazères brickworks.
Faced with the terrible living conditions in these "accommodation centres', humanitarian aid was organised in the form of parcels, money, clothes and sponsorship of interned Spanish teachers. Measures were taken to free the least dangerous detainees. A Mecca for Spanish anarchists until the start of 1940, the face of the camps at Vernet and Mazères changed during the course of the year with the assignment of the militiamen to work camps and other internment centres, then with the change in status of the Vernet that became a repressive internment camp for undesirable foreigners in the autumn of 1940.
At the same time, the war situation led to the arrest of Germans and Austrians, who were then detained at the Mazères Brickworks.
Musée du vieux Mazères
(Museum of Old Mazères) Hôtel D'Ardouin
Museum of Old Mazères - 09270 Mazères
Tel. +33 (0)18.104.22.168.03
Tel. +33 (0)22.214.171.124.04
Rail: Saverdun station (8 Km)
Air: Toulouse - Blagnac airport (70 Km)
Office de tourisme de Saverdun-Porte-de-l'Ariège
(Branch of the Saverdun-Porte-de-l'Ariège Tourist Office)
Rue Gaston de Foix, 09270 Mazères
Tel.: +33 (0)126.96.36.199.02 - Fax: +33 (0)188.8.131.52.97
Amicale des Anciens Internés politiques et résistants du Camp du Vernet d'Ariège
(Friendly Society for former political and resistance internees at the Vernet d'Ariège Camp)
AAI du Camp du Vernet d'Ariège - 09700 Le Vernet d'Ariège
Opening hours and prices
The museum is open all year round
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am - 12pm Thursday 2-5pm
The museum is open every Sunday during the summer - Free entry. Group visits by appointment.