With its magnificent stately homes, block farms, livestock crush and church, the village of Virargues is a delight to stroll through. At first glance, you can see the importance of farming traditions in this charming mountain village.
While Virargues remains the heart of the commune, the small villages surrounding it are also worth a visit. Farges still impresses passers-by with its houses built on a peak, and in the eyes of the Muratais, Auxillac has always been the birthplace of Pierre Béral, who was a doctor in the service of King Henry IV for 32 years.
Fountain of Virargues
Along the road to Murat, you can see a chapel and oratory.
The latter was home to a spring that has now dried up and was said to have been beneficial to eyesight.
The chapel is dedicated to Sainte-Reine. Tradition has it that two young men from Auxillac suffering from a rash fever made a pilgrimage to Alise Sainte-Reine (Burgundy) and came back cured and with a statue of this martyr and relics that were used to build the chapel.
Sainte-Reine, an impressive roadside chapel
The medicinal properties of the Sainte-Reine spring may be linked to the diatom-rich soil surrounding it. In fact, the Foufouilloux site was one of the largest extraction sites for this precious fossilised seaweed in Murat and Riom-Es-Montagnes.
While the Imérys group, based in Murat, uses it in food filtration, this mineral is also present in many everyday objects (toothpaste, preservative sachets, swimming pool filters, etc.).
On the road from Virargues to Chastel-sur-Murat, information signs have been erected to give you more details about these mysterious algae!
Tour of the diatom quarries
If you take the time to visit the village, you will be able to admire a small heritage of buildings and beautiful block farms.
These buildings, which are typical of Cantalien architecture, feature a living area adjoining the farm part, which used to house the animals.
If you look carefully, you will also see that some houses have beautiful weather vanes.
Virargues is also home to a large communal oven that used to bring villagers together for the monthly bread-making: an event that punctuated life in the countryside!
Fountain of Virargues
In 1066, the village church was donated to the Abbey of Moissac in the Tarn-et-Garonne department. Originally a Romanesque building, it was modified in the 15th and 11th centuries. To get in, you have to drop down a few degrees (mind your head). Among the curiosities of this religious building, there is a bell wheel (of which there are only 4 in Cantal) that was used during services and a fresco rediscovered in 1990 that refers to Santiago de Compostela and the miracle of the hanged man unhanged.
Church of Virargues