Blaye is a commune and subprefecture in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. Its inhabitants are called the Blayaises. Blaye is located on the right bank of the Gironde estuary, close to the A10 autoroute, 56 km north of Bordeaux. There is a rail line with occasional freight trains. A small ferry crosses the Gironde to Lamarque, in Medoc. In ancient times Blaye was a port of the Santones. Tradition states that the Frankish hero Roland was buried in its basilica, on the site of the citadel, it was early an important stronghold which played an important part in the wars against the English and the French Wars of Religion. The duchess of Berry was imprisoned in its fortress in 1832–1833; the town was named Blaye-et-Sainte-Luce and was renamed Blaye in June 1961. The town has a citadel built by Vauban on a rock beside the river, which contains the ruins of a medieval castle, Château des Rudel, the ruins of Basilica of Saint-Romain, which holds the tomb of Charibert II, king of Aquitaine, son of Clotaire II.
Nearby, Fort Paté, on an island in the river, Fort Médoc on its left bank of the 17th century, completed Vauban's defenses of the water approaches of Bordeaux. The citadel of Blaye, its city walls, Fort Paté and Fort Médoc were listed in 2008 as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of the "Fortifications of Vauban" group. Blaye has a small river-port used for grain exports. Fine red wine is produced in the AOC Côtes de Blaye. A large nuclear power station with four reactors is located nearby. Several schools are located in Blaye. Public schools include the following: École Maternelle Pierre Bergeon École Maternelle Lucien Grosperrin École Elementaire Pierre Malbeteau École Elementaire Andre Vallaeys The town has tribunals of first instance and of commerce. Bordeaux wine regions Communes of the Gironde department INSEE Town council website Personal website about Blaye Webpage about Blaye Citadel Another webpage about Blaye Citadel
Arras is the capital of the Pas-de-Calais department, which forms part of the region of Hauts-de-France. The historic centre of the Artois region, with a Baroque town square, Arras is located in Northern France at the confluence of the Scarpe river and the Crinchon River; the Arras plain lies on a large chalk plateau bordered on the north by the Marqueffles fault, on the southwest by the Artois and Ternois hills, on the south by the slopes of Beaufort-Blavincourt. On the east it is connected to the Scarpe valley. Established during the Iron Age by the Gauls, the town of Arras was first known as Nemetocenna, believed to have originated from the Celtic word nemeton, meaning'sacred space'. Saint Vedast was the first Catholic bishop in the year 499 and attempted to eliminate paganism among the Franks. By 843, Arras was seat of the County of Artois which became part of the Royal domain in 1191; the first mention of the name Arras appeared in the 12th century. Some hypothesize it is a contraction of Atrebates, a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain that used to inhabit the area.
The name Atrebates could have successively evolved to become Atrades, Atradis and Arras. Others believe it comes from the Celtic word Ar, meaning'running water', as the Scarpe river flows through Arras. Louis XIII reconquered Arras in 1640. Arras is Pas-de-Calais' third most populous town after Boulogne-sur-Mer; the town counted 43,693 residents in 2012, with the Arras metropolitan area having a population of 124,200. Arras is located 182 kilometers north of Paris and can be reached in 2 hours by car and in 50 minutes by TGV, it is the historic center of the former Artois province. Its local speech is characterized as a patois; the city of Arras is well known for its architecture and history. It was once part of the Spanish Netherlands, a portion of the Low Countries controlled by Spain from 1556 to 1714; each year Arras attracts thousands of visitors, who explore the city's architecture and historic buildings. Some famous attractions include the splendid Town Hall and its Belfry, the "Boves", the Squares, the Art District, the Abbey District, the Vauban Citadel, the Nemetacum site.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is just outside the town. Unlike many French words, the final s in the name Arras should be pronounced. Archaeologists found evidence of prehistoric human settlements in the Scarpe basin; the archaeological sites of Mont-Saint-Vaast in Arras and Biache-Saint-Vaast were Stone Age settlements of the Mousterian culture. They were evidenced by the finds of stone tools; these tools show signs of the Levallois technique, a name given by archaeologists to a distinctive type of stone knapping, developed by forerunners to modern humans during the Paleolithic period 170,000 years ago. Little was found to document the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in the Arras area. Arras was founded on the boat of Baudimont by the Belgic tribe of the Atrebates, who named it Nemetocenna in reference to a nemeton that existed there, it was renamed Nemetacum/Atrebatum by the Romans, under whom it became an important garrison town. In the Scarpe valley archaeologists' excavations and data recovery revealed Late Iron Age settlements.
These buildings, believed to be farms, were found near the municipalities of Arras, Hamblain-les-Prés and Saint-Pol. In the 4th century, Nemetacum was renowned for its arts and crafts as well as textiles trade throughout the whole empire. Between 406 and 407, the city was destroyed by Germanic invaders. In 428, the Salian Franks led by Clodion le Chevelu took control of the region including the current Somme department. Roman General Aetius chose to negotiate for peace and concluded a treaty with Clodion that gave the Franks the status of «foederati» fighting for Rome; the town's people were converted to Christianity in the late 4th century by Saint Innocent, killed in 410 during a barbarian attack on the town. In 499, after the conversion of Clovis I to Catholicism, a diocese was created in Arras, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arras, given to Saint Vaast, who remains the diocesan patron saint. Saint Vaast established an episcopal see and a monastic community, it was suppressed in 580 to found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cambrai, from which it would reemerge five centuries later.
In 667 Saint Aubert, bishop of Cambrai, decided to found the Abbey of Saint Vaast, which developed during the Carolingian period into an immensely wealthy Benedictine abbey. The modern town of Arras spread around the abbey as a grain market. During the 9th century, both town and abbey suffered from the attacks of the Vikings, who settled to the west in Normandy; the abbey revived its strength in the 11th century and played an important role in the development of medieval painting synthesizing the artistic styles of Carolingian and English art. In 1025, a Catholic council was held at Arras against certain Manichaean heretics who rejected the sacraments of the Church. In 1093, the bishopric of Arras was refounded on territory split from the Diocese of Cambrai. In 1097 two councils, presided over by Lambert d'Arras, dealt with questions concerning monasteries and persons consecrated to God. In this time, Arra
Belle-Île, Belle-Île-en-Mer, or Belle Isle is a French island off the coast of Brittany in the département of Morbihan, the largest of Brittany's islands. It is 14 kilometres from the Quiberon peninsula. Administratively, the island is divided into four communes: Bangor Le Palais Locmaria SauzonBelle-Île formed a canton until 2015 when it was merged into Quiberon as part of a general overhaul; the island has an average altitude of 40 metres. The area is about 84 square kilometres; the coasts are a mixture between dangerously sharp cliff edges on the southwest side, the Côte Sauvage, placid beaches, the largest being les Grands Sables and navigable harbours on the northeast side. The island's climate is oceanic, having less milder winters than on the mainland; the two main ports are Le Sauzon. There used to be forests on the island, but these have long disappeared due to increasing agricultural use of the land. At the 2009 census, the population of Belle Île was 4,920. However, in summer the population may increase to 25,000, with a peak at 35,000 between 15 July and 15 August due to tourist activity.
Evolution of Belle Île population between 1793 and 2008 Belle Île was separated from the mainland about 6000 BC, earlier than the neighbouring islands of Houat and Hœdic. Archaeological finds from the Bronze Age suggest that the island enjoyed a large increase in population in this time due to improvements in seafaring, it was naval base for the Veneti. The Roman name of the island seems to have been Vindilis, which in the Middle Ages became corrupted to Guedel. During the ninth century Belle-Île belonged to the county of Cornouaille. In 1572 the monks of the abbey of Ste Croix at Quimperlé ceded the island to the Retz family, in whose favour it was raised to a marquisate in the following year, it subsequently came into the hands of the family of Fouquet. The island's fortifications were erected by Vauban on behalf of Nicolas Fouquet, prior to Fouquet incurring the displeasure of Louis XIV; the island was held by British troops from 1761, following its capture by an expedition sent out from England, to 1763, when it was returned to France in exchange for Menorca as part of the Peace of Paris.
Because of the British occupation, half the population had fled and the abandoned lands were offered to the deported Acadians who settled here in 1766. The attacks on Belle Île and siege of Belle Île have been described by Olaudah Equiano in his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, 1789, June 1792. In 1761 Equiano was still a slave, his book was a bestseller in his own time. He became a central figure in the British abolitionist movement, as a forceful lecturer, exposing the barbarism and cruelties of slavery. Equiano gives a detailed eyewitness report of siege. Much of the island's current population is descended from repatriated Acadian colonists who returned to France after being expelled from Acadia during the Great Upheaval. Today, Belle-Île's population is about 5,300, its economy is dependent on tourism and fishing. During the summer the island's population increases as many people own a second home on the island due to its secluded location and beaches.
Lyrique en Mer/Festival de Belle Île is the largest opera festival in western France. Founded in 1998 by American opera singer Richard Cowan, the festival produces two staged operas every summer, conducted by Music Director Philip Walsh and directed by Mr. Cowan, the Artistic Director. Additionally, there are sacred concerts in all four of the island's historic churches, as well as many smaller concerts and Master Classes. Lyrique en Mer has wide support from the French business community as well as from the Conseil Général, the Conseil Régional; the island has been a popular location for artists. Octave Penguilly L'Haridon's 1859 painting Les Petites mouettes depicts the island, it was praised by Maxime Du Camp and Charles Baudelaire, who referred to the sense of the uncanny, as though the rocks make "a portal open to infinity...a wound of white birds, the solitude!" During the 1870s and 1880s, French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted the rock formations at Belle Île. Monet's series of paintings of the rocks at Belle Île astounded the Paris art world when he first exhibited them in 1887.
Most notable are the Storm, Coast at Belle-Ile and Cliffs at Belle-Ile both rendered in 1886. The first time Auguste Rodin saw the ocean off the Brittany coast he exclaimed, “It’s a Monet." Australian born artist John Russell was a man of means and having married a beautiful Italian, Mariana Antoinetta Matiocco, he settled at Belle Île off the coast of Brittany where he established an artists' colony. Russell had formed a friendship with him. Van Gogh spoke of Russell's work, after his first summer in Arles in 1888 he sent twelve drawings of his paintings to Russell, to inform him about the progress of his work. Monet worked with Russell at Belle Île and influenced his style, though it has been said that Monet preferred some of Russell's Belle Île seascapes to his own. Russell did not attempt to make his pictures known. In 1897 and 1898 Henri Matisse visited Belle Île. Russell introduced him to the work of Van Gogh. Matisse's style change
Hautes-Alpes is a department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southeastern France named after the Alps mountain range. Hautes-Alpes is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, it consists of the southeast of the north of Provence. At the time when the department was created, the two mountain communes of La Grave and Villar-d'Arêne campaigned to be included in Hautes-Alpes and not in the neighbouring department of Isère to which they had been assigned; this was because they hoped to benefit from the relative autonomy and certain fiscal privileges enjoyed by the region since the fourteenth century under the terms of the Statute of the Briançon Escartons. Napoleon passed through Gap when he returned to reclaim France after his exile on Elba using what is now known as Route Napoléon; the department is surrounded by the following French departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Drôme, Isère, Savoie. Italy borders it on the east with the Metropolitan City of Turin and the Province of Cuneo, region of Piedmont.
Hautes-Alpes is located in the Alps mountain range. The average elevation is over 1000 m, the highest elevation is over 4000 m; the only three sizable towns are Gap, Briançon, Embrun, the subprefecture until 1926. The third highest commune in all of Europe is the village of Saint-Véran. Gap and Briançon are subprefecture in France; the following rivers flow through the department: Durance Guisane Buëch Drac Clarée SéveraisseThe Durance has been dammed to create one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe: the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. The Queyras valley is located in the eastern part of the department and is noted by many as being an area of outstanding beauty; the inhabitants of the department are called Haut-Alpins. The mountainous terrain explains the sparse population, about 120,000, it changed little during the 19th century, but fell to about 85,000 after World War I. Thanks in large part to tourism, the population has risen from 87,436 in 1962 to 121,419 in 1999, principally in the town of Gap.
The President of the General Council is Jean-Yves Dusserre of the Union for a Popular Movement. The tourist industry is dependent on skiing in winter. In summer the Alpine scenery and many outdoor activities attract visitors from across Europe; the Tour de France passes through the department regularly. This draws many cycling fanatics to watch the race. Cantons of the Hautes-Alpes department Communes of the Hautes-Alpes department Arrondissements of the Hautes-Alpes department Hautes-Alpes at Curlie Official Website Prefecture website General Council webstite A village in the French Alps built by Vauban
Besançon is the capital of the department of Doubs in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The city is located in the border with Switzerland. Capital of the historic and cultural region of Franche-Comté, Besançon is home to the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regional council headquarters, is an important administrative centre in the region, it is the seat of one of the fifteen French ecclesiastical provinces and one of the two divisions of the French Army. In 2016 the city had a population of 116,466, in a metropolitan area of 251,293, the second in the region in terms of population. Established in a meander of the Doubs river, the city was important during the Gallo-Roman era under the name of Vesontio, capital of the Sequani, its geography and specific history turned it into a military stronghold, a garrison city, a political center, a religious capital. Besançon is the historical capital of watchmaking in France; this has led it to become a center for innovative companies in the fields of microtechnology and biomedical engineering.
The University of Franche-Comté, founded in 1423, every year enrolls more than 20,000 students. The greenest city in France, it enjoys a quality of life recognized in Europe. Thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage and its unique architecture, Besançon has been labeled a "Town of Art and History" since 1986 and its fortifications due to Vauban has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008; the city is first recorded in 58 BC as Vesontio in the Book I of Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. The etymology of Vesontio is uncertain; the most common explanation is that the name is of Celtic origin, derived from wes, meaning'mountain'. During the 4th century, the letter B took the place of the V, the city name changed to Besontio or Bisontion and underwent several transformations to become Besançon in 1243; the city sits within an oxbow of the Doubs River. During the Bronze Age, c.1500 BCE, tribes of Gauls settled the oxbow. From the 1st century BC through the modern era, the town had a significant military importance because the Alps rise abruptly to its immediate south, presenting a significant natural barrier.
The Arar River formed part of the border between the Haedui and their hereditary rivals, the Sequani. According to Strabo, the cause of the conflict was commercial; each tribe claimed the tolls on trade along it. The Sequani controlled access to the Rhine River and had built an oppidum at Vesontio to protect their interests; the Sequani defeated and massacred the Haedui at the Battle of Magetobriga, with the help of the Arverni tribe and the Germanic Suebi tribe under the Germanic king Ariovistus. Julius Caesar, in his commentaries detailing his conquest of Gaul, describes Vesontio, as the largest town of the Sequani, a smaller Gaulic tribe, mentions that a wooden palisade surrounded it. Over the centuries, the name permutated to become Besantio, Bisanz in Middle High German, arrived at the modern French Besançon; the locals retain their ancient heritage referring to themselves as Bisontins. It has been an archbishopric since the 4th century. In 843, the Treaty of Verdun divided up Charlemagne's empire.
Besançon became part of Lotharingia, under the Duke of Burgundy. As part of the Holy Roman Empire since 1034, the city became an archbishopric, was designated the Free Imperial City of Besançon in 1184. In 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa held the Diet of Besançon. There, Cardinal Orlando Bandinelli asserted before the Emperor that the imperial dignity was a papal beneficium, which incurred the wrath of the German princes, he would have fallen on the spot under the battle-axe of his lifelong foe, Otto of Wittelsbach, had Frederick not intervened. The Imperial Chancellor Rainald of Dassel inaugurated a German policy that insisted upon the rights and the power of the German kings, the strengthening of the Church in the German Empire, the lordship of Italy and the humiliation of the Papacy; the Archbishops were elevated to Princes of the Holy Roman Empire in 1288. The close connection to the Empire is reflected in the city's coat of arms. In 1290, after a century of fighting against the power of the archbishops, the Emperor granted Besançon its independence.
In the 15th century, Besançon came under the influence of the dukes of Burgundy. After the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, the city was in effect a Habsburg fief. In 1519 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain, became the Holy Roman Emperor; this made him a francophone imperial city. In 1526 the city obtained the right to mint coins, which it continued to strike until 1673. All coins bore the name of Charles V; when Charles V abdicated in 1555, he gave the Franche-Comté to Philip II, King of Spain. Besançon remained a free imperial city under the protection of the King of Spain. In 1598, Philip II gave the province to his daughter on her marriage to an Austrian archduke, it remained formally a portion of the Empire until its cession at the peace of Westphalia in 1648. Spain regained control of Franche-Comté and the city lost its status as a free city. In 1667, Louis XIV claimed the pr
Cussac-Fort-Médoc is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. Fort Médoc in Cussac-Fort-Médoc, together with several buildings in nearby Blaye, was listed in 2008 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the "Fortifications of Vauban" group. Communes of the Gironde department INSEE
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere