After wheat, seigle (rye) is the most important grain crop in France, but in the past it was never very popular as a food. Rye bread, pain de seigle, was considered the pain noir, the black bread of the poor.
It was especially grown in the foothills of the Massif Central, in regions known as the ségalas, rye lands, which were too cold to produce a guaranteed wheat crop. Today rye is mostly raised for cattle and horses, and for its excellent straw for hats, chair seats, straw bale building and to form the axis in a Sainte Maure de Touraine goat cheese.
Image by Alupus, Creative Commons License