is a commune
of the Nièvre département
, in France
Clamecy is the capital of an arrondissement in the department of Nièvre, at the confluence of the Yonne
and on the Canal du Nivernais
, 46 m. N.N.E. of Nevers
on the Paris
Clamecy is parochially described as the 'Capital of the valleys of the Yonne
' and classified under the French tourist criteria "Station Verte de Vacances" (centre for outdoor activity based vacations) and among the "Plus Beau Détour de France" (most beautiful diversions in France).
Coat of Arms
The earliest literary mention under the name of Clamiciacus, a possession of the bishops of Auxerre, is in the bequest by Pallade
, Bishop of Auxerre
, in 634, founding an abbey in the suburbs of Auxerre, dedicated to the Virgin, Saint Andrew and Saintb Julien, martyr, and supported by lands in Clamiciacus and other places.
Clamecy continued to belong to the abbey of St Julian
until the eleventh century, when it passed to the counts of Nevers and of Auxerre
, one of whom, Hervé
, enfranchised the inhabitants in 1213
The crusading Count William IV of Nevers promised the bishop of Bethlehem that if Bethlehem should ever fall, he would welcome him in Clamecy. After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1188, the bequest of the now deceased count was honoured and the Bishop of Bethlehem duly took up residence in the hospital of Panthenor, Clamecy, which remained the continuous (if somewhat idiosynchratic) seat of the Bishopric of Bethlehem until the French Revolution...
The town was sacked and substantially rebuilt in the 14th century during the hundred years war.
Clamecy enjoyed great prosperity thanks to the development, by Jean Rouvet, of the 'Flottage du bois', by which timber from the immense forests of the Morvan national park were processed and floated down river to Paris. The 'Flottage' which started in the 16th century continued until the beginning of the 20th century (the last floating 'log train' left Clamecy in 1923).
There is also an interesting hereditory link between Jean de Clamecy (later to become John II, Count of Nevers) and Henry VIII of England, via Jean de Clamecy's daughter, Elizabeth of Nevers, who married John I, Duke of Cleves and was consequently Anne of Cleves great grandmother.
The medieval centre of Clamecy has been classed by the French government as a "Secteur Sauvegardé" (protected sector) in entirety; the only such protected area in the whole of the department of the Nievre.
The town has evolved in the typical concentric French manner, with a town centre principally comprising of 13th to 16th century houses (still remarkably intact), surrounded by 19th century houses and buildings with 20th century developments forming an outer ring.
Its principal building is the church of St Martin
which dates chiefly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The tower and façade are of the 16th century. The chevet
, which is surrounded by an aisle
, is rectangular - a feature found in few French churches. After a period of neglect following the French revolution, the church underwent significant restoration under the auspices of Viollet-le-Duc
and was classified as an historic monument in 1840.
Of the old castle of the counts of Nevers
(site now occupied by the 19th century Mairie), only the vaulted cellars remain. A church in the suburb of Bethléem
(Bethlehem), dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, now serves as part of an hotel.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica
Eleventh Edition (1911):
- Among the industrial establishments are saw-mills, fulling-mills and flour-mills, tanneries and manufactories of boots and shoes and chemicals; and there is considerable trade in wine and cattle and in wood and charcoal, which is conveyed principally to Paris, by way of the Yonne.
Most of the industry mentioned in the much quoted Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 edition came to an end in the first two decades of the 20th century. Apart from a few modern industrial units on the edge of town and the remnants of a small acetone production facility, little evidence remains of Clamecy's former industrial heritage. Considerable investment by successive local administrations has seen the transformation of the town from 'logging centre of the Nievre' into a pretty, medieval tourist attraction and favourite tie-up for leisure users of the Canal du Nivernais which runs from Auxerre to Decize.
The modern economy of Clamecy (and surrounding countryside), in order of importance, is derived from tourism and agriculture with a high proportion of inhabitants earning a living by commuting to larger towns such as Auxerre and Paris.
At the 1999 census
, the population was . On 1 January 2004, the estimate was .
- Jean Rouvet (16th century), responsible for dramatic increase in the prosperity of Clamecy when he launched the first 'rafts' of Morvan timber to be floated down the Yonne river to Paris
- Éléonore de Grandmaison (1620-1692), pioneer in Nouvelle France
- Roger de Piles (1635-1709), painter and writer
- Jean Née de la Rochelle (1692-1772), historian
- André Giroud de Villette (1752-1787), aeronautical pioneer (and friend of Louis Bleriot)
- Louis-Antoine-François de Marchangy (1782-1826), writer
- Claude Tillier (1801-1844), political pamphleteer and novelist
- Edouard Seguin (1812-1880), Nobel prize-winning chemist
- Hippolyte Marié-Davy (1820-1893), scientist and inventor
- Gabriel Alapetite (1854-1932), prefect, ambassador and minister
- Romain Rolland (1866-1944), writer and winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1915
- Alain Colas (1943-1978), yachtsman
- Arnaud Montebourg (b.1962), politician
The public institutions include the sub-prefecture, tribunals of first instance and of commerce and a communal college.