Castres' other specialist museum is the Musée Jean-Jaurès (same hours as the Musée Goya; €1.50), dedicated to its famous native son. It's located in place Pélisson, and getting to it takes you through the streets of the old town, past the splendid seventeenth-century Hôtel Nayrac, on rue Frédéric-Thomas. The museum was opened in 1988 by President Mitterrand appropriately enough, because Mitterrand's Socialist Party is the direct descendant of Jaurès' SFIO, founded in 1905, which split at the Congress of tours in 1920, when the "Bolshevik" element left to form the French Communist Party. The museum, though slightly hagiographic as you might expect, nonetheless pays well-deserved tribute to one of France's boldest and best political writers, thinkers and activists of modern times. Jaurès supported Dreyfus, founded the newspaper L'Humanité, campaigned against the death penalty and colonialism, and was murdered for his courageous pacifist stance at the outbreak of World War I oddly enough by a man called Villain. There could be no better epitaph than his own last article in L'Humanité, in which he wrote: "The most important thing is that we should continue to act and to keep our minds perpetually fresh and alive … That is the real safeguard, the guarantee of our future."
Pages in section ‘Castres’: Practicalities, Le Sidobre.
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