Caussade, in the Tarn et Garonne, is mentioned in documents from the tenth century. In common with all towns in the area it has been through many different wars and changes of control. Including periods under English rule and also for a period of 50 years as a Protestant stronghold.
Today, however, the town is best known for its hat production but this started many years ago.
Petronilla Cantecor was born in Caussade in 1770 and in 1796 Petronilla created her first hat-making workshop in the nearby village of Septfond. Having developed a skill for making straw hats, she then passed the skill to other members of her family and then when she died in 1846 her grandson took over and eventually he was producing 5000 hats per day.
In 1857, a grant was offered by the town of Caussade to settle the business there, this along with the arrival of the railway and electricity heralded a period of great good fortune for this now regional trade.
At the start of the 20th century there were at least 3000 people employed in the town in the millinery business. Caussade was now at the centre of the French hat and thereby fashion industry.
There were huge problems with the depression in the 1930s and the industry has had to diversify and create hats of different fabrics and styles.
Each July there is festival dedicated to the hatting business and it is still possible to find courses to teach the artistry involved. By contacting the tourist office you can also arrange to visit an exhibition and get full details of each year’s festival dates.
Office Municipal de Tourisme, Carré des Chapeliers - Aux Récollets. 05 63 26 04 04. firstname.lastname@example.org
The town offers a full range of services and shops and holds its market on Mondays along the main street.