Ochre Extraction

La Puisaye was once one of the major centres for ochre extraction in France. In the south of the area, the ochre was exported in barrels on the river Loire; in the north the yellow ochre was cooked to produce red ochre. The presence of ochre was one of the main reasons why there are so many wall paintings in the churches of the area.

Ochre extraction was particularly unpleasant work, as it produced huge quantities of dust - “poussiere” in French - and the commune of Pourrain takes its name from this in the old word “pulverenus” - powder, or dust.


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