Louis de Froidour
Map of The Regordane Way and lexicology of place names in 1668
Louis de Froidour, Grand Master of the Waters and Forests of Languedoc, visited the Regordane in 1668.
The place names on the map are often badly formed because Froidour, a 'northerner', tries to capture the village names as they are pronounced in Occitan!
Thus Génolhac is understood as 'Genouillac', which is the correct pronunciation; the Occitan 'O' being pronounced almost as 'OU' in Modern French and the Occitan 'LH' similar to a 'double'.
Our favourite? That just has to be "Belle Poille" Pass. It was transposed as "Belle Poęle", when in reality it was 'le col de la "Belle Puelle": the 'U' is pronounced as 'OU' (pouelle), the root of the confusion. A 'PUELLE' is a young woman (Latin 'puella'), so it is really "Belle Fille" Pass, based on the reputation of an Auberge where the servant maid was a jolly soul, allowing the travelling men-folk to tease and mess around with her. The salesmen understandably preferred to stay there than elsewhere and doubtless many a 'pass' was made at the "Belle Fille"!
We are grateful to Marcel Girault for sending us these insights from his university thesis. Click to see the map and accompanying lexicology of place names taken from the 1668 "La visitation du chemin appellé [sic] Regordane".
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