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Bourg-Saint-Andéol

Bourg-Saint-Andéol is a commune in the Ardèche department in the Rhône Valley in southern France.

Situation

It is the capital of a canton in the arrondissement of Privas, with a population of circa 8,000 in 1999.

It lies directly along the Rhône River at the south-east end of the département of Ardèche, 15 km south of the smaller see of Viviers, 4 km from Pierrelatte eastwards across the river in the département Drôme and 10 km from Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the north of the département of Gard. 14 km to the south-west starts the nearby Ardèche Gorges in Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche.

History

The Gallic settlement on a rocky peak over the Rhône river was called Bergoiata. Bourg-Saint-Andéol has one of the very rare testimonies of post-roman and pre-christian religions with its sculpted bas relief of God Mithra. It acquired its present name after Saint Andeolus, the 'apostle of the Vivarais', a disciple of St. Polycarp, supposedly arriving from Minor Asia, who evangelized the area under Emperor Septimius Severus, and was martyred in 208. The region was named Helvia in Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, with Alba-la-Romaine as capital city, then Vivarais from the mediaeval times after the see of Viviers, a region of Languedoc province during Ancient Regime until départements were created at the French Revolution. Due to the citizen's engagement for the Revolution, the town's name rejected a while the quite whimmy saint and was named Bourg-sur-Rhône. (At the Napoleonic times, Andéol had already been brought in back...)

It had been the seat of a bailli (royal magistrate). And the bishop of Viviers had settled several decades in Renaissance times in the city (the Bishops' Palace). It is the seat of the mother houses of the Congregation of the Presentation of Mary and of the Religious Congregations of the Presentation.

The city had grown and become one of the most important towns of county Vivarais due to its position on the Rhône river (boatmen mariniers du Rhône, trade and business in hide, fabric, wine, oil). Several patricians' houses are still to be seen in the centre of the city (although a part of it was bombed by Allied forces at the end of World War II, missing the hanging bridge - which was replaced afterwards by the existing one).

Economy

Bourg-Saint-Andéol is the shopping center for surrounding villages. In the mid 80es, several factories closed and economy almost drowned (ceramics). Nowadays, Pierrelatte with the site of Tricastin, first atomic energy plant in France, makes that many residents of Bourg-Saint-Andéol earn their livelihood by working over the Rhône. Another noticeable economical source of the are - already a typical mediterranean zone - is wine, with the Côtes du Rhône méridionales (southern) gathering four other communes around the city (Saint-Marcel-d'Ardèche, Saint-Just and Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche). An oil mill has been recently re-established for olive harvests in the area.

Tourism

The area is popular for tourism and summer homes, and the city is known as the richest patrimonial city in Ardèche: there are many dolmens in the Bois du Laoul forest and a sculpture of Mithra near the Vauclusian springs of the Tourne. The Bishop's Renaissance palace and several former noble or grand-bourgeois 18th century places are regularly used for local and visitors during summer season.

Culture

  • A national institute of clownery art has been settled in Bourg-Saint-Andéol, the Institut National des Arts du Clown.

Twin cities

See also

References

Based on the article in the French Wikipedia.

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