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Argent-sur-Sauldre (Municipality, Cher, France)

Last modified: 2015-04-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Argent-sur-Sauldre - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 June 2014

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Presentation of Argent-sur-Sauldre

The municipality of Argent-sur-Sauldre (2,183 inhabitants in 2011; 6,700 ha; municipal website) is located in Sologne, 60 km north of Bourges.

Argent-sur-Sauldre was mentioned for the first time, as Argento, on Merovingian coins. The modern name of the village appeared in 1217. Although remains of fortifications have been found in archeological excavations, nothing specific is known on the history of the village. Clay allowed the development of ceramics industry. A brickyard and a tilery existed in the village in the 18th century. Clay extracted in Argent was once used by the Gien earthenware factory. The Renault pottery, established in 1847, is still in activity.

Argent-sur-Sauldre is watered both by river Sauldre and the Sauldre Canal. The Canal (47 km, 22 locks and 48 bridges, 7.7 m in width, 1.5 m in depth) connects Blancafort to Lamotte-Beuvron. Built between 1852 and 1873 and inaugurated on 14 July 1885, the canal was the only French canal totally isolated from the other navigable waterways, since money shortage prevented the building of the planned connections. It was therefore nicknamed canal sans queue ni tête (lit., canal without tail and head, bull-and-cock canal). In 1887, 16 wooden barges (27 m x 2.50 m; 50-70 tons of freight) belonging to five owners transported some 50,000 tons of freight; marl extracted from the quarries of Blancafort and used to fertilize the poor, acid soils of Sologne represented 80% of the freight. Building materials and wood was also transported. Until 1900, the barges were towed by two men, who needed six days to complete the round voyage. Later one, barges were towed by a donkey or a mule, which reduced the duration of the journey to three-four days.
Marl incorporation in Sologne was stopped during the First World War because of the lack of manpower. The Sauldre canal was abandoned in 1923, when less than 200 tons were transported. The canal was eventually delisted on 28 December 1926. The last barge, transporting stones for road pavement, sailed on the canal in 1941.
Water level in the canal was regulated by Lake Puits (180 ha, the largest in Sologne), built between 1860 and 1862. The lake, now used for recreational purpose, was emptied only two times (1901 and 1986) to repair its dam. The fishing event organized on 19-20 November 1986 did not yield either the expected monsters nor the farm hidden in the pond but some 22,000 kg of fish, half of them being catfish.

Argent-sur-Sauldre, although a small village, was in the beginning of the 20th century a significant railway junction. In 1913, three different companies operated each day 20 trains. Argent was located on the Paris-Bourges line, inaugurated in 1885 by the Paris-Orléans company; it took between six and nine hours to the villagers to reach Paris. The metric line Le Blanc-Argent (BA) was inaugurated in 1902. On 26 August 1906, the Société Générale des Chemins de Fer Économiques inaugurated another metric line connecting Argent to La Guerche-sur-l'Aubois.

Ivan Sache, 2 June 2014

Flag of Argent-sur-Sauldre

The flag of Argent-sur-Sauldre is vertically divided blue-green with a white key in the middle. The flag is also used as a vertical, forked banner (photo) (sightings, July 2008).
The flag was derived from the municipal logo. Blue represents the waterways while green represents the forests. The key highlights the location of the village as "the gate of the department of Cher", Argent-sur-Sauldre being located in the northern end of the department.

Pascal Vagnat, 2 June 2004