Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France

gkat_009.pdf43° 52′ 58.63″ N, 0° 59′ 15.40″ E

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Pierre de Fermat

The birthplaces of famous scientists and mathematicians are often disappointing: at best there may be a small plaque giving the briefest biography and dates of birth and death. Happily, mathematician Pierre de Fermat’s birthplace at Beaumont-de-Lomagne is an exception. His former home is a delightful small museum full of hands-on mathematics.

Founded in 1276, Beaumont-de-Lomagne is a bastide (a fortified town) about 58 kilometers northwest of Toulouse. In the middle sits La Halle, a covered square typical of many towns in the region. It was originally built in the 14th century, was replaced in the 17th, and has been maintained ever since. On market days, the tiled roof protects a lively market selling local produce—the surrounding area is an important agricultural part of France, and the market sells everything from fruit to foie gras, and the town’s speciality: garlic.

Just off the marketplace ...

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