Caussade is a small town in the heart of south-west France, in the green valleys of the Midi-Pyrenees, about 70 kilometres north of Toulouse. It’s known as la capitale du canotier (capital of the straw boater hat). Their long hat-making tradition started with Perrette Gleye (better known as Petronille), who was born in 1770. Whilst tending her sheep, Petronille came up with the idea of assembling pieces of straw to make hats. She began weaving straw hats by hand for her family. Having 13 children she was an extremely busy lady … ! Later, she made hats for her neighbours. In 1796, she installed the first hat-making workshop, and an industry was born. The button hat above is from 2011 and not my favourite despite the buttons but had to include her.
To celebrate, there’s a hat festival every July. It’s dedicated to all hats – whether made of straw, wool, felt, fur, leather or even paper. Pretty much anything goes!
There’s a wonderful atmosphere and sitting in the cafe this morning I saw people wearing all sorts and styles of hats and just for a few days it’s truly is a feast of hats. Everybody wears a hat – in fact, it’s compulsory – there’s a 1 Euro fine if you’re not wearing one, I wasn't though and never got fined! Everywhere you look there are stands where hat designers are proudly displaying their work.