Mamers, at the southern edge of Normandy, prides itself for its ‘rillettes’ a rustic potted meat pate - pork mainly here - slowly cooked in fat. Economic luck is long gone and Mamers’ delicacy is attributed to Le Mans otherwise known for indulging in a fast paced 24h car race.
An other aspect of Mamers hidden past is reminded by its Rue des 5 ans - 5 years street. During the wars between Catholics and Protestants Mamers cleared itself off all the latter using a variety of radical ways. A local bishop was made a Cardinal as a recognition to his contribution. After this episode local authorities decided to screen any new comers by establishing the 5-year quarantine. Then they could look after more serious business, developed the rillettes recipe.
Today’s Mamers doesn’t need any such measures anymore. It is dying. One house out of three is looking for a new owner, there isn’t even a French restaurant. Only retirement homes seem to thrive.