Toulon is a city in southern France and a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department; the Commune of Toulon has a population of 165,514 people, making it the fifteenth-largest city in France. It is the centre of an urban area with the ninth largest in France. Toulon is the fourth-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Montpellier. Toulon is an important centre for naval construction, wine making, the manufacture of aeronautical equipment, maps, tobacco, printing and electronic equipment; the military port of Toulon is the major naval centre on France's Mediterranean coast, home of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and her battle group. The French Mediterranean Fleet is based in Toulon. Archaeological excavations, such as those at the Cosquer Cave near Marseille, show that the coast of Provence was inhabited since at least the Paleolithic era.
Greek colonists came from Phocaea, Asia Minor, in about the 7th century BC and established trading depots along the coast, including one, called Olbia, at Saint-Pierre de l'Almanarre south of Hyères, to the east of Toulon. The Ligurians settled in the area beginning in the 4th century BC. In the 2nd century BC, the residents of Massalia called upon the Romans to help them pacify the region; the Romans began to start their own colonies along the coast. A Roman settlement was founded at the present location of Toulon, with the name Telo Martius – Telo, either for the goddess of springs or from the Latin tol, the base of the hill – and Martius, for the god of war. Telo Martius became one of the two principal Roman dye manufacturing centres, producing the purple colour used in imperial robes, made from the local sea snail called murex, from the acorns of the oak trees. Toulon harbour became a shelter for trading ships, the name of the town changed from Telo to Tholon and Toulon. Toulon was Christianized in the 5th century, the first cathedral built.
Honoratus and Gratianus of Toulon, according to the Gallia Christiana, were the first bishops of Toulon, but Louis Duchesne gives Augustalis as the first historical bishop. He assisted at councils in 441 and 442 and signed in 449 and 450 the letters addressed to Pope Leo I from the province of Arles. A Saint Cyprian and biographer of St. Cæsarius of Arles, is mentioned as a Bishop of Toulon, his episcopate, begun in 524, had not come to an end in 541. In 1095, a new cathedral was built in the city by Count Gilbert of Provence; as barbarians invaded the region and Roman power crumbled, the town was attacked by pirates and the Saracens. In 1486 Provence became part of France. Soon afterwards, in 1494, Charles VIII of France, with the intention of making France a sea power on the Mediterranean, to support his military campaign in Italy, began constructing a military port at the harbor of Toulon, his Italian campaign failed, 1497, the rulers of Genoa, who controlled commerce on that part of the Mediterranean, blockaded the new port.
In 1524, as part of his longtime battle against Emperor Charles V and the Holy Roman Empire, King François I of France completed a powerful new fort, the Tour Royale, Toulon, at the entrance of the harbour. However, a few months the commander of the new fort sold it to the commander of an Army of the Holy Roman Empire, Toulon surrendered. In 1543, Francis I found a surprising new ally in his battle against the Holy Roman Empire, he invited the fleet of Ottoman Admiral Barbarossa to Toulon as part of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. The residents were forced to leave, the Ottoman sailors occupied the town for the winter. See Ottoman occupation of Toulon. In 1646, a fleet was gathered in Toulon for the major Battle of Orbetello known as the Battle of Isola del Giglio, commanded by France's first Grand Admiral, the young Grand Admiral Marquis of Brézé, Jean Armand de Maillé-Bréze of 36 galleons, 20 galleys, a large complement of minor vessels; this fleet carried aboard an army of 8,000 infantry and 800 cavalry and its baggage under Thomas of Savoy, shortly before a general in Spanish service.
King Louis XIV was determined to make France a major sea power. In 1660, his Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert ordered Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban to build a new arsenal and to fortify the town. In 1707, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Toulon resisted a siege by the Imperial Army led by Duke Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia of Savoy and Prince Eugene. However, in 1720, the city was ravaged by the black plague. Thirteen thousand people, or half the population, died. In 1790, following the French Revolution, Toulon became the administrative centre of the département of the Var; the leaders of the city, were royalists, they welcomed the arrival of a British fleet. At the siege of Toulon, the British were expelled by a French force whose artillery was led by a young captain, Napoleon Bonaparte. To punish Toulon for its rebellion, the town lost its status as department capital and was renamed Port-de-la-Montagne. During the Napoleonic Wars, from 1803 until 1805 a British fleet led by Admiral Horatio Nelson blockaded Toulon.
In 1820, the statue which became known as the Venus de Milo was discovered on the Greek island of Milo and seen by a French naval officer, Emile Voutier. He persuaded t
Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. One of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages, it was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. The population of the metropolitan area at the 2011 census was 655,013, with the city proper having an estimated population of 111,557. People from Rouen are known as Rouennais. Rouen and its metropolitan area of 70 suburban communes form the Métropole Rouen Normandie, with 494,382 inhabitants at the 2010 census. In descending order of population, the largest of these suburbs are Sotteville-lès-Rouen, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Le Grand-Quevilly, Le Petit-Quevilly, Mont-Saint-Aignan, each with a population exceeding 20,000. Rouen was founded by the Gaulish tribe of the Veliocasses, who controlled a large area in the lower Seine valley.
They called. It was considered the second city of Gallia Lugdunensis after Lugdunum itself. Under the reorganization of Diocletian, Rouen was the chief city of the divided province Gallia Lugdunensis II and reached the apogee of its Roman development, with an amphitheatre and thermae of which foundations remain. In the 5th century, it became the seat of a bishopric and a capital of Merovingian Neustria. From their first incursion into the lower valley of the Seine in 841, the Normans overran Rouen. From 912, Rouen was the capital of the Duchy of Normandy and residence of the local dukes, until William the Conqueror moved his residence to Caen. In 1150, Rouen received its founding charter. During the 12th century, Rouen was the site of a yeshiva. At that time, about 6,000 Jews lived in the town. On June 24, 1204, King Philip II Augustus of France entered Rouen and definitively annexed Normandy to the French Kingdom, he demolished the Norman castle and replaced it with his own, the Château Bouvreuil, built on the site of the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre.
A textile industry developed based on wool imported from England, for which the cities of Flanders and Brabant were competitors, finding its market in the Champagne fairs. Rouen depended for its prosperity on the river traffic of the Seine, on which it enjoyed a monopoly that reached as far upstream as Paris. In the 14th century urban strife threatened the city: in 1291, the mayor was assassinated and noble residences in the city were pillaged. Philip IV reimposed order and suppressed the city's charter and the lucrative monopoly on river traffic, but he was quite willing to allow the Rouennais to repurchase their old liberties in 1294. In 1306, he decided to expel the Jewish community of Rouen numbering some five or six thousands. In 1389, another urban revolt of the underclass occurred, the Harelle, it was suppressed with the withdrawal of Rouen's river-traffic privileges once more. During the Hundred Years' War, on January 19, 1419, Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England, who annexed Normandy once again to the Plantagenet domains.
But Rouen did not go quietly: Alain Blanchard hung English prisoners from the walls, for which he was summarily executed. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431 in this city, where most inhabitants supported the duke of Burgundy, Joan of Arc's king enemy; the king of France Charles VII recaptured the town in 1449. During the German occupation, the Kriegsmarine had its headquarters located in a chateau on what is now the Rouen Business School; the city was damaged during World War II on D-day and its famed cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombs. Rouen is known for its Rouen Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent; the cathedral's gothic façade was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet, some of which are exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 14th century, it is located in the Gros Horloge street. Other famous structures include Rouen Castle, whose keep is known as the tour Jeanne d'Arc, where Joan of Arc was brought in 1431 to be threatened with torture.
Rouen is noted for its surviving half-timbered buildings. There are many museums in Rouen: the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, an art museum with pictures of well-known painters such as Claude Monet and Géricault; the Jardin des Plantes de Rouen is a notable botanical garden once owned by Scottish banker John Law dated from 1840 in its present form. It was the site of Élisa Garnerin's parachute jump from a balloon in 1817. In the centre of the Place du Vieux Marché (the site of Joan of A
Nantes is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 303,382 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 950,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis, it is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire région, one of 18 regions of France. Nantes belongs and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial. Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the Loire, it was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851. Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France. During the 17th century, after the establishment of the French colonial empire, Nantes became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave trade.
The French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed robust industries after 1850. Deindustrialisation in the second half of the 20th century spurred the city to adopt a service economy. In 2012, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Nantes as a Gamma world city, it is the fourth-highest-ranking city in France, after Paris and Marseille. The Gamma category includes cities such as Algiers, Porto and Leipzig. Nantes has been praised for its quality of life, it received the European Green Capital Award in 2013; the European Commission noted the city's efforts to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, its high-quality and well-managed public transport system and its biodiversity, with 3,366 hectares of green space and several protected Natura 2000 areas. Nantes is named after a tribe of Gaul, the Namnetes, who established a settlement between the end of the second century and the beginning of the first century BC on the north bank of the Loire near its confluence with the Erdre.
The origin of the name "Namnetes" is uncertain, but is thought to come from the Gaulish root *nant- or from Amnites, another tribal name meaning "men of the river". Its first recorded name was by the Greek writer Ptolemy, who referred to the settlement as Κονδηούινκον and Κονδιούινκον —which might be read as Κονδηούικον —in his treatise, Geography; the name was latinised during the Gallo-Roman period as Condevincum, Condevicnum and Condivincum. Although its origins are unclear, "Condevincum" seems to be related to the Gaulish word condate "confluence"; the Namnete root of the city's name was introduced at the end of the Roman period, when it became known as Portus Namnetum "port of the Namnetes" and civitas Namnetum "city of the Namnetes". Like other cities in the region, its name was replaced during the fourth century with a Gaulish one. Nantes' name continued to evolve, becoming Nanetiæ and Namnetis during the fifth century and Nantes after the sixth via syncope. "Nantes" is pronounced, the city's inhabitants are known as Nantais.
In Gallo, the oïl language traditionally spoken in the region around Nantes, the city is spelled "Naunnt" or "Nantt". Gallo pronunciation is identical to French. In Breton, Nantes is known as Naoned or an Naoned, the latter of, less common and reflects the more-frequent use of articles in Breton toponyms than in French ones. Nantes' historical nickname was "Venice of the West", a reference to the many quays and river channels in the old town before they were filled in during the 1920s and 1930s; the city is known as la Cité des Ducs "city of the dukes " for its castle and former role as a ducal residence. The first inhabitants of what is now Nantes settled during the Bronze Age than in the surrounding regions, its first inhabitants were attracted by small iron and tin deposits in the region's subsoil. The area exported tin, mined in Piriac, as far as Ireland. After about 1,000 years of trading, local industry appeared around 900 BC. Nantes may have been the major Gaulish settlement of Corbilo, on the Loire estuary, mentioned by the Greek historians Strabo and Polybius.
Its history from the seventh century to the Roman conquest in the first century BC is poorly documented, there is no evidence of a city in the area before the reign of Tiberius in the first century AD. During the Gaulish period it was the capital of the Namnetes people, who were allied with the Veneti in a territory extending to the northern bank of the Loire. Rivals in the area included the Pictones, who controlled the area south of the Loire in the city of Ratiatum until the end of the second century AD. Ratiatum, founded under Augustus, developed more than Nantes and was a major port in the region. Nantes began to grow; because tradesmen favoured inland roads rather than Atlantic routes, Nantes never became a large city under Roman occupa
Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2. Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille. Nice is 13 kilometres from the principality of Monaco and 30 kilometres from the French-Italian border. Nice's airport serves as a gateway to the region; the city is nicknamed Nice la Belle, which means Nice the Beautiful, the title of the unofficial anthem of Nice, written by Menica Rondelly in 1912. The area of today's Nice contains Terra Amata, an archaeological site which displays evidence of a early use of fire. Around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory.
Through the ages, the town has changed hands many times. Its strategic location and port contributed to its maritime strength. For centuries it was a dominion of Savoy, was part of France between 1792 and 1815, when it was returned to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia until its re-annexation by France in 1860; the natural environment of the Nice area and its mild Mediterranean climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 18th century, when an increasing number of aristocratic families took to spending their winters there. The city's main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais owes its name to visitors to the resort; the clear air and soft light have appealed to notable painters, such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Arman. Their work is commemorated in many of the city's museums, including Musée Marc Chagall, Musée Matisse and Musée des Beaux-Arts. Nice has the second largest hotel capacity in the country and it is one of its most visited cities, receiving 4 million tourists every year.
It has the third busiest airport in France, after the two main Parisian ones. It is the historical capital city of the County of Nice; the first known hominid settlements in the Nice area date back about 400,000 years. Nice was founded around 350 BC by the Greeks Phoceans of Massalia, was given the name of Nikaia in honour of a victory over the neighbouring Ligurians; the city soon became one of the busiest trading ports on the Ligurian coast. The ruins of Cemenelum are in Cimiez, now a district of Nice. In the 7th century, Nice joined. In 729 the city repulsed the Saracens. During the Middle Ages, Nice participated in the wars and history of Italy; as an ally of Pisa it was the enemy of Genoa, both the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor endeavoured to subjugate it. During the 13th and 14th centuries the city fell more than once into the hands of the Counts of Provence, but it regained its independence though related to Genoa; the medieval city walls surrounded the Old Town. The landward side was protected by the River Paillon, covered over and is now the tram route towards the Acropolis.
The east side of the town was protected by fortifications on Castle Hill. Another river flowed into the port on the east side of Castle Hill. Engravings suggest that the port area was defended by walls. Under Monoprix in Place de Garibaldi are excavated remains of a well-defended city gate on the main road from Turin. In 1388 the commune placed itself under the protection of the Counts of Savoy. Nice participated – directly or indirectly – in the history of Savoy until 1860; the maritime strength of Nice now increased until it was able to cope with the Barbary pirates. In 1561 Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy abolished the use of Latin as an administrative language and established the Italian language as the official language of government affairs in Nice. During the struggle between Francis I and Charles V great damage was caused by the passage of the armies invading Provence. In 1538, in the nearby town of Villeneuve-Loubet, through the mediation of Pope Paul III, the two monarchs concluded a ten years' truce.
In 1543, Nice was attacked by the united Franco-Ottoman forces of Francis I and Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, in the Siege of Nice. Pestilence appeared again in 1550 and 1580. In 1600, Nice was taken by the Duke of Guise. By opening the ports of the county to all nations, proclaiming full freedom of trade, the commerce of the city was given great stimulu
Marseille is the second-largest city of France. The main city of the historical province of Provence, it nowadays is the prefecture of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, it is located on French Riviera coast near the mouth of the Rhône. The city covers an area of 241 km2 and had a population of 852,516 in 2012, its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,173 km2 is the third-largest in France after Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,831,500 as of 2010. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia, Marseille was an important European trading centre and remains the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce and cruise ships; the city was European Capital of Culture in 2013 and European Capital of Sport in 2017. It is home to Aix-Marseille University. Marseille is the second-largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.
To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Farther east still are the city of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; the airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre. The city's main thoroughfare stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo; the main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse.
The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably Rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th and 8th arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille's main railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; the city has a hot-summer mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm to hot dry summers. December and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C during the day and 4 °C at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C during the day and 19 °C at night in the Marignane airport but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C in July.
Marseille is the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in country. It is the driest major city with only 512 mm of precipitation annually thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs in winter and spring and which brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; the hottest temperature was 40.6 °C on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was −14.3 °C on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave. Marseille was founded circa 600 BC as the Greek colony of Massalia and populated by settlers from Phocaea, it became the preeminent Greek polis in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War, retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa.
However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar's Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar. Marseille continued to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire; the city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of 739 AD by the forces of Charles Martel. It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, although its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423; the city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious building projects of René of Anjou, Count of Proven
Montpellier is a city near the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Hérault department, it is located in the Occitanie region. In 2016, 607,896 people lived in 281,613 in the city itself. Nearly one third of the population are students from three universities and from three higher education institutions that are outside the university framework in the city. Montpellier is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Nice, it is the 7th-largest city of France, is the fastest-growing city in the country over the past 25 years. In the Early Middle Ages, the nearby episcopal town of Maguelone was the major settlement in the area, but raids by pirates encouraged settlement a little further inland. Montpellier, first mentioned in a document of 985, was founded under a local feudal dynasty, the Guilhem, who combined two hamlets and built a castle and walls around the united settlement; the two surviving towers of the city walls, the Tour des Pins and the Tour de la Babotte, were built around the year 1200.
Montpellier came to prominence in the 12th century—as a trading centre, with trading links across the Mediterranean world, a rich Jewish cultural life that flourished within traditions of tolerance of Muslims and Cathars—and of its Protestants. William VIII of Montpellier gave freedom for all to teach medicine in Montpellier in 1180; the city's faculties of law and medicine were established in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad of Urach, legate of Pope Honorius III. This era marked the high point of Montpellier's prominence; the city became a possession of the Kings of Aragon in 1204 by the marriage of Peter II of Aragon with Marie of Montpellier, given the city and its dependencies as part of her dowry. Montpellier gained a charter in 1204 when Peter and Marie confirmed the city's traditional freedoms and granted the city the right to choose twelve governing consuls annually. Under the Kings of Aragon, Montpellier became a important city, a major economic centre and the primary centre for the spice trade in the Kingdom of France.
It was the second or third most important city of France at that time, with some 40,000 inhabitants before the Black Death. Montpellier remained a possession of the crown of Aragon until it passed to James III of Majorca, who sold the city to the French king Philip VI in 1349, to raise funds for his ongoing struggle with Peter IV of Aragon. In the 14th century, Pope Urban VIII gave Montpellier a new monastery dedicated to Saint Peter, noteworthy for the unusual porch of its chapel, supported by two high, somewhat rocket-like towers. With its importance increasing, the city gained a bishop, who moved from Maguelone in 1536, the huge monastery chapel became a cathedral. In 1432, Jacques Cœur established himself in the city and it became an important economic centre, until 1481 when Marseille overshadowed it in this role. At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, many of the inhabitants of Montpellier became Protestants and the city became a stronghold of Protestant resistance to the Catholic French crown.
In 1622, King Louis XIII besieged the city which surrendered after a two months siege, afterwards building the Citadel of Montpellier to secure it. Louis XIV made Montpellier capital of Bas Languedoc, the town started to embellish itself, by building the Promenade du Peyrou, the Esplanade and a large number of houses in the historic centre. After the French Revolution, the city became the capital of the much smaller Hérault. During the 19th century the city thrived on the wine culture that it was able to produce due to the abundance of sun throughout the year; the wine consumption in France allowed Montpellier's citizens to become wealthy until in the 1890's a fungal disease had spread amongst the vineyards and the people were no longer able to grow the grapes needed for wine. After this the city had grown because it welcomed immigrants from Algeria and other parts of northern Africa after Algeria's independence from France. In the 21st century Montpellier is between 8th largest city; the city had another influx in population more largely due to the student population, who make up about one-third of Montpellier's population.
The school of medicine is what kickstarted the city's thriving university culture,however many other universities have been well established in the coastal city that has developments such as the Corum and the Antigone that too have been drawing in more and more students. William I of Montpellier William II of Montpellier William III of Montpellier William IV of Montpellier William V of Montpellier William VI of Montpellier William VII of Montpellier William VIII of Montpellier Marie of Montpellier and King Peter II of Aragon James I of Aragon James II of Majorca James III of Majorca The city is situated on hilly ground 10 km inland from the Mediterranean coast, on the River Lez; the name of the city, Monspessulanus, is said to have stood for mont pelé, or le mont de la colline Montpellier is located 170 km from Marseille, 242 km from Toulouse, 748 km from Paris. Montpellier's highest point is the Place du Peyrou, at an altitude of 57 m; the city is built on two hills and Montpelliéret, thus some o
Social situation in the French suburbs
The word banlieue, French for "suburb," does not refer to an environment of social disenfranchisement. Indeed, there exist many wealthy suburbs, such as Versailles outside Paris; the term banlieues has been used to describe troubled suburban communities—those with high unemployment, high crime rates, a high proportion of residents of foreign origin from former French African colonies and therefore Berbers and Arabs. The destruction of World War II, coupled with an increase in the country's population left France with a severe housing shortage. During the 1950s, shantytowns developed on the outskirts of major cities. During the winter of 1954, popular priest Abbé Pierre urged the government to work on behalf of the country's large homeless population. To relieve the shortage, end the practice of illegal squatting in public places, the governments of the Fourth and early Fifth Republics began the construction of huge housing projects; these included the villes nouvelles of Cergy-Pontoise, Marne-la-Vallée and Sénart.
These were financed in part by the Marshall Plan, organized through central planning, fixing industrial objectives to meet. The villes nouvelles owe much to Le Corbusier's architectural theories, decried before the war. During the Trente Glorieuses, a period of economic growth which lasted from the war's end until the 1973 oil crisis, was accompanied by the baby boom, the French state and industrials encouraged immigration of young workers from the former colonies from the Maghreb, to help fill labor shortages. In 1962, upon the conclusion of the Algerian War 900,000 pieds-noirs were repatriated to France, as well as most of the 91,000 Harkis; the latter were put in internment camps, while the pieds-noirs settled in the south of France. For example, the city of Montpellier experienced population growth of 94% between 1954 and 1975. Harkis were not given permission to migrate, but some French military officers helped facilitate their migration to France in order to save them from certain reprisals in Algeria.
After being freed from the internment camps, many harkis went on to live alongside other Algerian and Maghrebi immigrants in shantytowns. In 1963, 43% of French Algerians lived in shantytowns. Azouz Begag, Delegate Minister for Equal Opportunities in the government of former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, has written an autobiographic novel, Le Gone du Chaâba, describing his experience living in a shantytown on the outskirts of Lyon; the vast new apartment blocks, or flats, were at first chiefly inhabited by members of the middle class. As the housing situation improved, most middle-class residents moved to better houses and immigrants left the shantytowns for the blocks; the blocks are termed "HLM" — habitation à loyer modéré, districts of blocks are termed cités. You can see some Parisian housing estates here:. A popular urban planning concept at this time, popularized by Le Corbusier, a Swiss architect, was to separate areas of towns or cities according to several functions: living center, commercial center and working center, with the centers being connected by buses.
This led to the isolation of the living centers, with two consequences: There was little activity at night and on Sunday, aggravated by the fact that bus transit to the central cities was limited. This model became contested; some towns refused to build social buildings, leaving the poor further concentrated in certain towns which placed no or few restrictions on the construction of social housing. An example is the city of Paris: when old buildings were destroyed, only office and high-rent apartment buildings were constructed in their place, preventing the poor from settling in those neighborhoods. Most were forced to live in the northern suburbs. In The Global City, Saskia Sassen has analyzed the relationship between a new economic model and the shape of modern cities; the public services offered did not follow the tremendous increase of the population in these areas. This phenomenon has been termed "ghettoisation." The 13 December 2000 "SRU law", required that communes devote at least 20% of their housing capacity to social housing.
Many locally elected officials opposed the law, which sought to relieve residential segregation that had developed as a consequence of the earlier, uneven construction of the cités. In the wealthy Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, of which President Nicolas Sarkozy served as mayor from 1983–2002, less than 2.5% of its housing stock meets the social-housing criteria. After the 2005 riots, the government announced that it would enforce the SRU law more although it would accommodate local circumstances such as the absence of land on which social housing could be built; the children of immigrants feel torn between the culture of their parents and the culture they have g