Sury-le-Comtal is a thriving town of 5,329 people. Located in the Loire department, it lies in the Plaine du Forez Situated between Saint Etienne (25 km) and Montbrison (12 km), the township is limited on the West by a small river, La Mare. In the past, the counts of Forez had channeled the stream called Beal, which reaches Sury through the neighborhood of Les Granges, to fill the moat of the fortified castle and power the mills. Nowadays, sections of the Beal are covered up and its waters feed the pond in the park of the Chateau. Its spillway runs beneath the Champ de Mars and the boulevard Jean Moulin before it surfaces again and runs along the Chartonnes to go and flow out into La Mare.
I will be brief about the history of the town and its origins since better qualified people have written about them before, among whom Jacques Clavier on the contemporary period. I will merely give you a photo tour of the town with brief commentaries concerning the most interesting sites.
When coming from Saint Etienne, one reaches Sury-le-Comtal via the Côte Sainte Agathe. Then rue du 11 novembre runs through the entire length of the town in the direction of Montbrison, with the old town on its left. In recent years, a long-range project was finally completed and now the Boulevard Jean Moulin skirts the town on the North with a roundabout at each end of the boulevard inaugurated in 2002.
Coming from Saint Etienne and the South East, after passing the Côte Sainte Agathe, we go around the Charles de Gaulle roundabout, take the rue des Parottes, pass the Technical High School of Sainte Claire, then, continuing in the direction of Saint Marcellin, we reach the cemetery through the rue de Belle Vue. The cemetery is worth a visit. It spreads around a chapel dating back to the eleventh century and believed to be the first church in Sury. In the cemetery, one will find the mausoleum of the Lyotard family, that of the senator Duché, and even the XXX of a former carpenter member of the Compagnons du Devoir brotherhood. Against the chapel walls, lie a number of burial sites of priests who played a significant role in the life of Sury in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of these burial sites are remarkable.
After this visit, we return to the town center along the Grande rue Franche where, long ago, strangers could build housing outside the town walls. We pass the old Lyotard manufacture and the Agricultural High School and approach the old town through the rue de la Grenette. We can continue the visit with the Place Neuve and rue Émile Raymond which mark the limit of the old fortified town. Along rue Émile Raymond, several ancient sites can be seen.
The blocks of Gambetta and Sainte Reine between rue Émile Raymond and rue Gambetta were part of a renovation project and have just been replaced by a modern construction which includes several apartments, a medical suite and the Seguin pharmacy. During this work, archeological excavations have helped locate part of the foundations of the ancient city walls along rue Gambetta. Following rue Émile Raymond, we arrive Place Giraudier and reach the street on which stands the old town hall. A pretty house can be seen there and, across from it, the entrance to the Cloister as well as several houses built against the remnants of the ancient walls surrounding the Chateau and the Church.
Following rue Martin Bernard, in direction of Place du 8 Mai, we come across the site of another old house demolished in the process of renovating the town center. Turning onto rue du 11 Novembre and, on the right, Boulevard Orlu, on through rue Gambetta, we reach Place de l'Hôtel de Ville and the War Memorial. At the end of the street, one can see the Post Office. Turning right, we move into rue Antoine Poizat then rue des Tulles to reach the chemin de La Mare which we follow to discover the Chateau and the Church. At the end of this path, a bridge crosses over La Mare. It is the road to Montbrison. Across this road, one can see the sports facilities, the slaughter house, and the "U" Supermarket opened in February 2004. There also spreads the Chartonnes neighborhood which includes the Salle des Fêtes, the fire house and the cattle market, not very active nowadays, but where a cattle competition still takes place every year.
Continuing through the Champ de Mars and the Porte d'Amancieux, the old way out of town towards Montbrison, passing the birthplace of Antoine Blanc, first Archbishop of New Orleans, Louisiana, we turn right onto rue Jordan and arrive Place de l'Église flanked by the entrance to the Chateau. We end our tour by a visit of the Church and the Chateau.
Several small retail shops are scattered through the center of town.
Every Wednesday morning, itinerant merchants and small producers from the surrounding countryside spread out along the streets in the town center and animate an important open market.
During the year, a number of events bring life to the city. An exchange market and exhibit of old cars is organized by the association "Pouët Pouët Suryquoise".
Artists exhibit their works at the Galerie d'Art, Porte du Cloître. A sale of arts and crafts is organized in May around the Church area by "Sury Vitrine des Arts et de la Culture".
In june, a Brocante Vide Grenier day is organized by the Groupement des Commerçants et Artisans.
Each November, on the second Wednesday of the month, another exhibit, "L'Automnale du Livre", is organized by the town council with the participation of many authors. The theme of that exhibit changes every year. Authors who are interested in participating may
Internet of town hall
Photographys : Yves Salmon.
Thanks Denise for translation.