Notre-Dame de la Garde
Notre-Dame de la Garde is a Catholic basilica in Marseille and the city's best-known symbol. The site of a popular Assumption Day pilgrimage, it is the most visited site in Marseille, it was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 149 m limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille. Construction of the basilica lasted for 21 years, it was an enlargement of a medieval chapel, but was transformed into a new structure at the request of Father Bernard, the chaplain. The plans were developed by the architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu, it was consecrated while still unfinished on June 5, 1864. The basilica consists of a lower church or crypt in the Romanesque style, carved from the rock, an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. A square 41 m bell tower topped by a 12.5 m belfry supports a monumental 11.2 m statue of the Madonna and Child made of copper gilded with gold leaf. An extensive restoration from 2001 to 2008 included work on mosaics damaged by candle smoke, green limestone from Gonfolina, corroded by pollution, stonework, hit by bullets during the Liberation of France.
The restoration of the mosaics was entrusted to Marseille artist Michel Patrizio, whose workmen were trained in Friuli, north of Venice, Italy. The tiles were supplied by the workshop in Venice; the rocky outcrop upon which the basilica would be built, is an urgonian limestone peak dating from the Barremian and rising to a height of 162 metres. Due to its height and proximity to the coast, the hill became an important stronghold and lookout point, as well as a landmark for sailing. In 1302 Charles II of Anjou ordered one of his ministers to set beacons along the Mediterranean coast of Provence. One of these beacon sites was the hill of Notre-Dame de la Garde. In 1214 maître Pierre, a priest of Marseille, was inspired to build a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the hill known as La Garde, which belonged to the abbey of Saint-Victor; the abbot granted him permission to cultivate a garden and build a chapel. The chapel, completed four years appears in an June 18, 1218 papal bull by Pope Honorius III listing the possessions of the abbey.
After maître Pierre died in 1256, Notre-Dame de la Garde became a priory. The prior of the sanctuary was one of four claustral priors of Saint-Victor. From the time the chapel was founded, surviving wills show bequests in its favour. Sailors who survived shipwrecks gave thanks and deposited ex-votos at Notre-Dame of the Sea in the church of Notre-Dame-du-Mont. Towards the end of the 16th century they began going to Notre-Dame de la Garde instead; the first chapel was replaced at the beginning of the 15th century by a larger building with a richly equipped chapel dedicated to Saint Gabriel. Charles II d'Anjou mentioned a guardpost in the 15th century, but the present basilica was built on the foundations of a 16th-century fort erected by Francis I of France to resist the 1536 siege of Marseille by the Emperor Charles V during the Italian War of 1536–38. On January 3, 1516 Louise of Savoy, the mother of Francis I of France, his wife, Queen Claude of France, daughter of Louis XII, went to the south of France to meet the young king, right after from his victory at Marignan.
On January 7, 1516 they visited the sanctuary. On January 22, 1516 Francis accompanied them to the chapel as well; the king noted during his visit. The need to reinforce its defenses became more obvious in 1524 after constable Charles III, Duke of Bourbon and emperor Charles Quint lay siege to the city and took it. François I built two forts: one on the island of If, which became the famous Chateau d'If, the other at the top of La Garde, which included the chapel; this is the only known example of a military fort sharing space with a sanctuary open to the public. The Chateau d'If was finished in 1531, while Notre-Dame de la Garde was not completed until 1536, when it was used to help repel the troops of Charles Quint, it was built using stone from Cap Couronne, as well as materials from buildings outside the ramparts of the demolished city to keep them from providing shelter to enemy troops. Among these was the monastery of the Mineurs brothers where Louis of Toulouse was buried near the Cours Belsunce and Cours Saint-Louis.
The fort was a triangle with two sides of 75 metres and a third of 35 metres. This rather modest fort remains visible on a spur west of the basilica, restored in 1993 to its original state when a 1930 watch tower was removed. Above the door can be seen a damaged escutcheon of François I, the arms of France, three fleurs-de-lys with a salamander below. Nearby, to the right, is a rounded stone weathered by time which once represented the lamb of John the Apostle with its banner. In 1585 Hubert de Garde de Vins, chief of the Catholic League of Provence, sought to seize Marseille and combine forces with Louis de La Motte Dariès, the second consul of Marseille, Claude Boniface, captain of the Blanquerie neighborhood. On the night of April 9, 1585 Dariès occupied La Garde, but the attack on Marseille failed, leading to his accomplice, Boniface. In 1591 Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, tried to seize the Abbey of Saint Victor, a stronghouse near the port, he charged governor of Notre-Dame de la Garde, with seizing the abbey.
On November 16, 1591 Méolhon did so but it was retaken by Charles de Casaulx, first consul of Marseille. in 1594. He sent two priests and Cabot, to celebrate mass in the chapel
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Bouches-du-Rhône is a department in Southern France named after the mouth of the river Rhône. It is the most populous department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region with 2,019,717 inhabitants in 2016, its INSEE and postal code is 13. Marseille is prefecture. Bouches-du-Rhône is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, it was created from the western part of the former province of Provence and the principalities of Orange and Lambesc. It lost part of its territory in 1793, including Orange and Apt, when the Vaucluse department was created. Following its creation, the department was strongly and supportive of the French Revolution, containing 90 "Jacobin Clubs" by 1794, it was noteworthy that more than 50% of the priests in the department accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy which in effect subordinated the church to the government. During the ascendancy of the Communist Party in the twentieth century election results indicated that support for left-wing politics remained strong in the department, in the northern suburbs of Marseille.
The history of the area is linked to that of Provence. Marseille has been an important harbour since before Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul; the Roman presence left numerous monuments across the department. Notable people born in the area include Romantic painter Camille Roqueplan and his brother and theatre director Nestor Roqueplan; the department is part of the current region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is surrounded by the departments of Gard on the west, Vaucluse on the north, Var on the east, by the Mediterranean Sea on the south; the Rhône river delta forms a vast swampy wetlands area called the Camargue in the southwestern part of the department. Bouches-du-Rhône is bordered by the Rhône to the Durance to the north; the Rhône divides into the Grand Petit Rhône south of Arles. The principal mountains of the department are the Sainte-Baume massif, Mont Sainte-Victoire, the Garlaban massif and Alpilles massif; the department's prefecture and largest city, contains a major industrial harbour and serves as France's largest commercial port.
The Bouches-du-Rhône department is urban, with 28 towns having a population of more than 10,000 as of 2008. Marseille, population 853,000 is the departmental and regional capital Aix-en-Provence, population 142,743, subprefecture, a university town and seat of the regional Court of Appeals Arles, population 52,729, sous-préfecture and site of an ancient Roman city Martigues, population 46,471, the leading city for the European petrochemical industry Aubagne, population 46,093, birthplace of Provençal author Marcel Pagnol Istres, population 42,603, sous-préfecture and home to a military airbase Salon-de-Provence, population 41,411, the home city of 16th-century soothsayer Nostradamus Vitrolles, population 36,610 Marignane, population 33,909, site of Marseille Provence Airport La Ciotat, population 33,790 Miramas, population 25,632, regional railway hub Gardanne, population 21,121 Les Pennes-Mirabeau, population 20,187 Allauch, population 18,728 Port-de-Bouc, population 17,207 Fos-sur-Mer, population 15,448 Châteaurenard, population 14,817 Berre-l'Étang, population 13,881 Bouc-Bel-Air, population 13,437 Tarascon, population 13,340 Rognac, population 12,195 Auriol, population 11,969 Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, population 11,564 Plan-de-Cuques, population 11,096 Saint-Martin-de-Crau, population 10,979 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, population 10,662 Septèmes-les-Vallons, population 10,481 Trets, population 10,239 Rivers include: The Rhône, which forms the border with the Gard department The Durance, which forms the border with the Vaucluse department The Arc The HuveauneLakes include: Étang de Berre Étang de Vaccarès, in the CamargueMountains include: Alpilles mountain range Calanques between Marseille and La Ciotat Corniche des Crêtes Garlaban Mont Puget Montagne Sainte-Victoire Sainte-Baume massif The department of Bouches-du-Rhône is known for its seismic activity: the zone II townships of Lambesc Peyrolles-en-Provence and Salon-de-Provence are the most exposed.
Areas Ib including the cantons of Aix-en-Provence, Trets Eyguières, Berre-Pond, Istres-North and South, Ia areas including the other cantons in the district of Aix-en-Provence, Arles-East, Châteaurenard, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Martigues-East and Roquevaire-West, are least exposed. Zone 0 includes the rest of the department. Since the Bouches-du-Rhône department is one of the most populous and diverse departments, it has long been the scene of fierce political battles; the development of the Marseille-Fos Port, the relationship maintained between France and its colonial empire, the industry around coal mining in Provence, significant immigration coming from Italy, from the end the nineteenth century and during the period between the two wars are all factors that led to the emergence of a large and militant working class. From the late nineteenth century, the socialist movement gained influence, such as by in 1881 by the election of the first socialist member of France, Clovis Hugues. Rural areas, in the region of Aix have tended to favor the influence of right-wing parties, including monarchists
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Montsoreau is a commune of the Loire Valley in the Maine-et-Loire department in western France on the Loire, 160 km from the Atlantic coast and 250 km from Paris. The village is listed among the most beautiful villages of France and part of the Loire Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2015, the French contemporary art collector Philippe Méaille associated with Christian Gillet, president of the French department of the Maine-et-Loire signed an agreement to turn the Château de Montsoreau into a museum of international contemporary art for the next 25 years; the Château de Montsoreau became home for Méaille extraordinary collection of radical conceptualists Art & Language and has been renamed Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art. Montsoreau was identified under the name Restis at the end of classical antiquity as a port on the Loire at the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, it has taken its name Montsoreau from a rocky promontory situated in the riverbed of the Loire and surrounded by water.
There has been three major buildings on this promontory, a Gallo-Roman temple or administrative building, a fortified castle, a Renaissance palace. Montsoreau was, until the seventeenth century, a center of jurisdiction and the seigneury of Montsoreau stretched from the Loire river to Seuilly-l'Abbaye and Coudray castle in the south. After the French Revolution, the exploitation of a building stone, the Tuffeau stone, brutally passed its population of 600 inhabitants to more than 1000, maintained during the first half of the nineteenth century; this stone, easy to work, was exhausted, the population decreased to stabilize again around 600 people. Montsoreau concentrated its activities on agriculture and river trade until the end of nineteenth century. During the Twentieth century, Montsoreau has seen river trade replaced by terrestrial trade and the raise of a tourism economy; the name Mount Soreau, appears in its Latin form, for the first time, in 1086 in a cartulary. Mons or Monte refers to the rocky promontory, located in the river bed of the Loire, on, built the fortress of Montsoreau.
No interpretation has been given of the name Sorello, found in several Latinized forms: Sorello, Sorelli. Its first recorded name at the end of the Roman period was the Domaine de Rest or Restis, Restis referring to its port. Montsoreau Monsoreau Traces of first settlements and the oldest remains are set back from the river, on the plateau in high areas; the main witness of this occupation is the dolmen of the Pierrelée, which dates from the 3rd millennium BC and is made up of six imposing slabs of hard sandstone coming from deposits in the neighborhood. Montsoreau is located on the borders of the territories of the Gallic tribes of Pictones and Andecavi. Coins and fragments of Gallo-Roman tiles, were found in Montsoreau on the edge of the plateau, above the town; the shaft of a fluted column, discovered during excavations of the castle, could attest to the presence of a notable public building on the top of the rock of Montsoreau. The first texts mentioning the domain of Restis dates back to the sixth century.
An act of Charles the Bald indicates the presence, in 850, of houses, a fishery and a port in Rest. In the middle of the tenth century, according to the hagiographic narratives, it is made mention of caves in which the monk Absalon, coming from Tournus, was first considering to shelter the relics of Saint-Florent before bringing them further downstream and settle in Saumur. In 990 the Count of Blois Odo I built a fortress on the rock of Montsoreau and transformed the village into a stronghold; the Count of Anjou, Fulk Nerra, incorporated it to Anjou. Fulk, one of the first great builders of Medieval castles, modified it, the fortress remained under the control of Anjou, never taken, during more than 150 years. In 1101, during the installation of the Fontevraud community, the abbey of Fontevraud depended on Gautier I of Montsoreau, direct vassal of the count of Anjou. Gautier's mother-in-law, Hersende de Champagne, will be the first grand-prioress during the life of Robert d'Arbrissel. In 1156, Guillaume IV de Montsoreau sided with Geoffroy Plantagenet against his brother Henry II Plantagenet, future king of England and husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
The latter besieged the castrum and took it at the end of August 1152 despite the care taken at its fortification. This was the one and only storming of the medieval fortress of Montsoreau between Fulk and Jean II de Chambes in 1450; the history of the small city of Montsoreau is intricated with the History of the Renaissance in Europe and more with the history of the Renaissance in France. At the end of the Hundred Years War, Charles vii and Louis xi installed royal power in Chinon, encouraged or ordered their lords to build new buildings or redevelop old fortresses, thus began the construction of buildings in a new style in France, giving birth to Renaissance architecture, with châteaux that will be called "the Châteaux of the Loire Valley". In 1450, Jean II de Chambes, First counselor of Charles VII and ambassador in Venice, bought the fortress of Fulk III to his brother in law and destroyed it in order to build a residential palace on the top of the rock of Montsoreau. In an unprecedented move, he built the Château de Montsoreau in a residential style following Italian architecture of the time which makes it the first Renaissance building in France.
The Château de Montsoreau was directly on the river bank and still today, it remains th
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg's metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015, making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region's inhabitants; the transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014. Strasbourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union, as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union; the city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.
Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île, was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries through the University of Strasbourg the second largest in France, the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture, it is home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque. Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as a hub of road and river transportation; the port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Germany. Before the 5th century, the city was known as Argantorati, a Celtic Gaulish name Latinized first as Argentorate, as Argentoratum; that Gaulish name is a compound of -rati, the Gaulish word for fortified enclosures, cognate to the Old Irish ráth, arganto-, the Gaulish word for silver, but any precious metal gold, suggesting either a fortified enclosure located by a river gold mining site, or hoarding gold mined in the nearby rivers.
After the 5th century, the city became known by a different name Gallicized as Strasbourg. That name is of Germanic origin and means "Town of roads"; the modern Stras- is cognate to the German Straße and English street, all of which are derived from Latin strata, while -bourg is cognate to the German Burg and English borough, all of which are derived from Proto-Germanic *burgz. Gregory of Tours was the first to mention the name change: in the tenth book of his History of the Franks written shortly after 590 he said that Egidius, Bishop of Reims, accused of plotting against King Childebert II of Austrasia in favor of his uncle King Chilperic I of Neustria, was tried by a synod of Austrasian bishops in Metz in November 590, found guilty and removed from the priesthood taken "ad Argentoratensem urbem, quam nunc Strateburgum vocant", where he was exiled. Strasbourg is situated at the eastern border of France with Germany; this border is formed by the Rhine, which forms the eastern border of the modern city, facing across the river to the German town Kehl.
The historic core of Strasbourg however lies on the Grande Île in the river Ill, which here flows parallel to, 4 kilometres from, the Rhine. The natural courses of the two rivers join some distance downstream of Strasbourg, although several artificial waterways now connect them within the city; the city lies in the Upper Rhine Plain, at between 132 metres and 151 metres above sea level, with the upland areas of the Vosges Mountains some 20 km to the west and the Black Forest 25 km to the east. This section of the Rhine valley is a major axis of north–south travel, with river traffic on the Rhine itself, major roads and railways paralleling it on both banks; the city is some 397 kilometres east of Paris. The mouth of the Rhine lies 450 kilometres to the north, or 650 kilometres as the river flows, whilst the head of navigation in Basel is some 100 kilometres to the south, or 150 kilometres by river. In spite of its position far inland, Strasbourg's climate is classified as oceanic, but a "semicontinental" climate with some degree of maritime influence in relation to the mild patterns of Western and Southern France.
The city has warm sunny summers and cool, overcast winters. Precipitation is elevated from mid-spring to the end of summer, but remains constant throughout the year, totaling 631.4 mm annually. On average, snow falls 30 days per year; the highest temperature recorded was 38.5 °C in August 2003, during the 2003 European heat wave. The lowest temperature eve
Les Plus Beaux Villages de France
Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is an independent association, created in 1982, for the promotion of the tourist appeal of small rural villages with a rich cultural heritage. As of September 2016, it numbers 156 member villages. Membership requires meeting certain selection criteria and offers a strategy for development and promotion to tourists; the three initial selection criteria are the rural nature of the village, the presence of at least two national heritage sites and local support in the form of a vote by the council. Each village must pay an annual fee to the association and the mayor must sign the association’s Quality Charter. If the village fails to meet the requirements of the charter it may be excluded; the association claims membership can bring a rise of between 50 % in visitor numbers. The southern departments of the Dordogne and Aveyron have the most number of member villages, with ten in each, they are followed by Vaucluse, with seven, Lot, with six. Following the success of the French certification, similar associations have been formed in Wallonia, Italy and Japan.
The idea of an association to gather the most beautiful villages of France was born in Collonges-la-Rouge, Corrèze in 1981. Charles Ceyrac, mayor of the village, was inspired by a Reader's Digest book entitled Les Plus Beaux Villages de France which included pictures of Collonges, he decided to launch an association that would unite villages to give them a public face and revitalise their economies. He wrote to the mayors of one hundred villages included in the book. Sixty-six mayors responded and the association was founded on 6 March 1982 at Salers, Cantal. Charles Ceyrac remained the president of the association until 1996, when he was succeeded by Maurice Chabert, mayor of Gordes, the current president; the association is still situated in Collonges-la-Rouge. The association and its certification have been successful. Many competing certifications exist in France, differentiated by their targets, stringency of criteria and the cost of membership; the association has four employees and an annual budget of €479,000.
An application, as well as each six-yearly review, requires evaluation by the Quality Committee at the cost of €800 plus €0.50 per inhabitant. Each member village contributes an annual fee calculated at the rate of three euros per inhabitant. Since 2000, the president of the association has had a seat on the Conseil national du tourisme. Since 7 July 2012, Les Plus Beaux Villages de France has been part of the international association Les Plus Beaux Villages de la Terre; the association was set up to help villages promoting their touristic potentials. It targets villages that are sometimes neglected by wider regional or national touristic strategies; the association believes in improving life in French countryside and it places an emphasis on bringing back economical activities to villages. Most of the labelled villages are in regions that suffer from rural flight. Many villages can be considered dead when most of their houses are either in ruins or transformed into holiday properties by foreigners or French people living in other regions.
The association does not encourage open-air museums and other museum-villages. One of the major principles of the association is the protection of the historical and cultural heritage. Labelled villages must show a real strategy to promote their heritage; the association encourages environmentally friendly tourism, for instance by encouraging tailor-made breaks rather than mere passing trade. The association asks candidate municipalities to fill out an application form for the village or hamlet they wish to see receive the label; the locality must have a rural character with no more than 2,000 inhabitants and it must include two national heritage sites and their protection perimeter. The municipality must show real interest and the local council must have deliberated on the application. After the form is returned to the association, it sends experts to evaluate the application, they consider its appearance. The dossier is given to a commission who decides if the village receives the label or not.
If it is successful, the municipality must sign a quality charter. Bas-Rhin Hunspach pop. 684 Mittelbergheim pop. 605 Haut-Rhin Eguisheim pop. 1572 Hunawihr pop. 611 Riquewihr pop. 1300 Dordogne Belvès Beynac-et-Cazenac Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Domme La Roque-Gageac Limeuil Monpazier Saint-Amand-de-Coly Saint-Jean-de-Côle Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère Lot-et-Garonne Monflanquin Pujols-le-Haut Pyrénées-Atlantiques Ainhoa La Bastide-Clairence Navarrenx Sare Allier Charroux Cantal Salers Tournemire Haute-Loire Arlempdes Blesle Lavaudieu Pradelles Puy-de-Dôme Montpeyroux Saint-Floret Saint-Saturnin Usson Côtes d'Armor Moncontour Finistère Le Faou Île-de-Sein Locronan Ille-et-Vilaine Saint-Suliac Morbihan Rochefort-en-Terre Côte-d'Or Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Flavigny-sur-Ozerain Saône-et-Loire Semur-en-Brionnais Yonne Noyers Vézelay Cher Apremont-sur-Allier Indre Gargilesse-Dampierre Saint-Benoît-du-Sault Indre-et-Loire Candes-Saint-Martin Crissay-sur-Manse Montrésor Loir-et-Cher Lavardin Loiret Yèvre-le-Châtel (