The Grain Market
Belpech, a village to discover
From yesteryears to nowadays, what a history…
The original medieval market-hall, first mentioned in a manuscript dating from the reign of François Ier, was made of wood.
The offices of the communal house “coumuno” where the consuls ruled, and a prison, were located on the first floor. It was reached through stairs which started from the grain-measure platform. The grain measures that you can see beside the church date from 1826.
After the run-down communal offices were torn down, in 1829, the 11 wooden pillars were kept and a new roof was installed. However, the idea of a “New Iron Market Hall” came up in 1860.
The derelict, old wooden market-hall was destroyed and a new “Baltard-style” market hall was built in 1898. The project for a second “poultry” market, in the church yard, was never implemented.
Tramway in Belpech
In the early XXth century, the Piège yielded grain and feeding hay. It provided for the eastern part of the département, where vines were the only crop.
But roads were bad, and carting goods was long and expensive. Therefore good were delivered to Mazères and Saverdun (in the Ariège) and transited via Toulouse before being shipped to Narbonne. That way, they could travel 140 km before reaching Castelnaudary!
In order to solve the problem, a tramway line linking Belpech, Salles-sur-l’Hers and Castelnaudary was opened in 1903 by the Compagnie des Tramways à Vapeur du Département de l’Aude (Aude’s Steam Tramway Company).
The line operated until 1933. The Coopérative de l’Hers, Vixiège et Razès (Hers, Vixiège and Razès Cooperative), founded in 1934, was set up in the yard and offices of the abandonned station.
Belpech tramway station
The wooden market hall, late XIXth century
In the XIXth century, Belpech boasted six major fairs: swine, (barry of Tournefeuille), sheep (barry of tourrou), large livestock, poultry and eggs, ducks and geese (Oratoire plaza).
Thanks to L. and T. Guillosson for translation