Fréjus

Fréjus

Fréjus, town (1990 pop. 42,613), Var dept., SE France. With adjoining Fréjus-Plage, located on the Mediterranean, it is a well-known resort of the French Riviera. Fruits and wines are produced and corks and metals are manufactured. Founded by Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., it was an important Roman naval port. The Argens River has since silted up the harbor, pushing the sea about 3/4 mi (1.2 km) from the city. Many Roman ruins are preserved, notably the oldest surviving arena of Gaul. Also of interest is a cathedral with a 5th-century baptistery. A French military school and army base are at Fréjus.
Fréjus can also refer to the Fréjus Road Tunnel and the Fréjus Rail Tunnel in the Alps.
Fréjus is a coastal town on the Côte d'Azur and commune in the Var department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southern France. It neighbours Saint-Raphaël, Var, effectively forming one town. The north of the commune forms part of the Estérel Massif.

Its population in 2004 was 50,536. At the 1999 census it had an official population of 46,801 inhabitants. Its land area is 102.27 km² (39.487 sq mi).

On December 2 1959, the Malpasset Dam, on the Reyran river above Fréjus, ruptured, killing over 400 people.

History

Frejus contains a medieval city as well as a popular seaside resort. Created by the Romans, Frejus attracts many tourists because of its history, cultural and artistic qualities, its well kept beaches, the sea and sporting facilities. There are numerous places of interest in the area, all are reasonably accessible from Frejus because of its convenient location. At present its habitants total 45,000 and the town offers a broad spectrum of activities. The history of Frejus is very similar to that of Provence, it has lived through many Saracens invasions which took place between the 7th and the 9th century. It has been destroyed many times in spite of the presence of the Roman Legion. In 49 B.C., Julius Cesar decided to have the Adrian Way built to link Italy through to Spain. In those days the Phoceans of Marseille had already set up a colony on the site, but it was the Roman emperor who gave the port its prosperity and the city its name of 'Forum Julii' meaning 'Jules market' and the port Claustra Maris (The sea bolt). It went on to become one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, until the Pax Romana, by denying Forum Julii its military activity, marked the beginning of its decline. The decay of Rome led to that of the cities of its empire. The sea encroached on the land while invasions by the Saracens and pirates left the monuments in ruin. By the 10th century there was very little left of the colony, mostly rubble. Sea-borne silt clogged up the port and led to the formation of a huge swampy plain, which then separated the village from the sea.

Main sights

The church of St. Maximinus, begun towards the end of the thirteenth century by Charles II of Sicily and completed by the end of the fifteenth century, a relevant example of pointed architecture in the south of France. The head of St. Mary Magdalen is honoured here, and the crypt contains tombs which date from the first centuries of the Christian Era. Forum Julii still has a lot of its ruins and an exceptional archaeological value. There's the Roman Amphitheatre, arcades of the Oree Gate, and remains of the Aqueduct arches. There is also the Cathedrale,Chapel Jean Cocteau , Aurelienne's villa and Aurelien's park. The rhythm and mood still lives on today with many exhibitions, theatre and classical music events. Also keeping up with its many traditions and artistic qualities. Frejus organizes throughout the year different fairs, there's the pottery fair and the Bravade (street market bargains), in and amongst its Roman and Gothic architecture, the 'old tile' roof tops and tinted walls, everything blends in nicely with the recently developed port, its neo palladium design and carefully selected colours of Provence gives its unique identity. Port Frejus which has a capacity of 750 moorings, is surrounded by beautiful fine sandy beaches. The town is very conscious of its natural heritage, in the background there is the massif de l'Esterel, the (Esterel hills) and it 'Nature' base situated on the sea edge, as well as protecting the area and its environment there are many sporting events held here. There's the well talked about annual 'Roc Azur' mountain bike event, which is open to everyone French or otherwise, all ages. There are plenty of walks to enjoy, the most recommended walk is to see the famous 'Malpasset' dam, which in 1959 burst and partly destroyed the town uprooting everything in its passage, only the ancient monuments withstood the torrential floodwaters. It also caused many deaths. Nowadays right along the length of the dam remains, you can find all sorts of Mediterraen flora: Heather, Pine, Oak and wild Strawberry trees (Arbousiers).

Sister cities

See also

Sources, references and external links

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