Chatellerault is a surprising place.
A smallish (population 34,000) town near the centre of France, until 1968 its main industry was the manufacturing of arms.
Somewhere in here is a town.In 1816 the French Artillery Commission decided to create a new government arms factory in a safe place away from its borders. In 1819, a Commandant Notret, the last inspector of Manufacture de Versaille, started the production of tools (axes and spades), then increased production with the fabrication of swords. In 1822, the manufacture of firearms started. By 1837 it was one of two main firearms and sword manufacturing towns in France, the other being Saint-Etienne.
When the factory closed in 1968, the small town was left with a huge empty industrial complex (and presumably very few jobs).
One of the outstanding parts of the factory are the chimneys which originally served the furnaces. The have been cleaned and a walkway installed between them, giving views over the town.
Although it is quite a slog to the top of the spiral staircase it is really worth it, because with the exception of the market square, from ground level Chatellerault isn't all that attractive. From the walkway you get a really different aspect. It also occurred to me while I was up there what good tradesmen the brickies must have been - those spirals aren't painted on, but laid in a different, darker brick.