Valencia is a town southeast of France, prefecture of the department of Drôme region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. A Roman city with a rich history, the city of Valence conceals many wonders in terms of archeology, architecture and landscape. Located in the heart of the Rhône corridor and subject to a Mediterranean climate, Valence is often referred to as “the gateway to the South “. Between Vercors and Provence, its geographical location attracts many tourists.
The commune, founded in 121 BC, after the invasion of Gallia Narbonensis by the Romans, it moved quickly to become the largest crossroad behind Lyon. With its growing importance, Valence gained the status of Roman colony.
Over the centuries, the town grew and grew. Today, many vestiges of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, but also from the 17th century, 18th century and 19th century are visible in the city centre. The city is historically attached to the Dauphiné, of which it forms the second largest city after Grenoble and is today part of the network of French Towns and Lands of Art and History.
Valence has beautiful monuments such as the Maison des Têtes, built between 1528 and 1532 by Antoine de Dorne, the Saint-Apollinaire cathedral, built between 1063 and 1099 under the leadership of Bishop Gontard, or the monumental fountain of the architect Eugène Poitoux. The city has many historical monuments, most of which can be found in Old Valence.
The city offers discovery trails through the gardens and canals that cross it over more than 17 km. Paths run along the banks where a diverse fauna evolves. Listed on the list of towns and villages in bloom in France, Valence is one of the seventeen municipalities in the former Rhône-Alpes region to be labeled “Four flowers” by the competition of towns and villages in bloom.
Dominating the waves of the Rhône, Valentia the “vigorous” occupies a privileged site of three alluvial terraces. It was with the Roman conquest that it entered history.
In the 5th century, control of Valentia passed from the Romans to the Alans and other barbarians: in 413, the Goths under Ataulf besieged and captured the brother of the usurper Jovinus, Sebastianus, at Valentia on behalf of the emperor Honorius. In 440, Alans led by Sambida were given deserted lands in Valentia by the Romans. Three years later, Aetius settled the Burgundians in the region, under King Gondioc which became part of the Kingdom of the Burgundians. His son, Chilperic II, ruled Valence from 473 to 493 when he was slain by his brother Gundobad. Chilperic’s daughter Clotilde married Clovis, the King of the Franks, in 493. Clovis’s son Childebert I attacked the Burgundians in 534, adding their territory to the Frankish Kingdom. The city then fell successively under the power of the Franks, the Arabs of Spain, the sovereigns of Arles, the emperors of Germany, the counts of Valentinois, the counts of Toulouse, as well as its own bishops, who struggled to retain the control of the city they had won in the fifth century.
Around 800, a new Saint-Estève cathedral (of Saint Etienne) was built in place of the baptistery, with a west-facing choir. It is built symmetrically to the Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste church. It housed many relics: those of the saints Apollinaire, Cyprien, Corneille, Félix, Fortunat, Achillea and a fragment of the Holy Cross. The episcopal quarter also included housing for the canons, grouped around a courtyard-cemetery, and a round church, Notre-Dame-la-Ronde. Early in the IX century, perhaps before, the Roman wall is raised with walls constructedrollers. In 890, the widow of the king of Provence Boson, had their son Louis III crowned king of Provence in Valence. In 1029, the Archbishop of Vienne invested Guigues III, known as “the Old Man” of the county of Viennese. It belongs to the family of the Counts of Albon, which has held the region for several decades, frequently occupying the county and the bishopric of Valence. The region still suffers raids of the Saracens at the end of the IX and X century.
The Rhone is sometimes presented as the border between the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire which Valencia is part until XV century, but it is mainly a link between the different countries that border it. The bishopric of Valence, like the rival principality, the county of Valentinois-Diois, also extends on both banks. It is also an important commercial axis, in particular for salt, which will benefit the city which keeps as a trace the name of the street “Saunière”, formerly the name of one of the four doors of Valence, that which gave to the south.
The city also benefits from its position at a point of change in the wind regime in the Rhône valley: in the Middle Ages, boats only sailed up the river by towing at the pass, or by blood (by men). North of Valence, the ascent could be done by sail (but not always). At the end of the XV century, it was even the capital of hauling because besides this advantage due to wind, it is a stop in a day of Lyon, and a crossroads and into the mountains. Finally, going up the Rhône is particularly difficult at Valence, which caused forced stops. Several Valentinois were specialized in the brokerage of haulers. The haulers pulled large boats or barque trains, in teams of a few dozen to several hundred men. Each man was pulling a mass of about ton. This tow mode regresses strongly at the end of XV century, to be replaced by horses hauling, except for local hauling.
The city, sheltered from the floods of the river and protected by its ramparts, is a stage on the pilgrimage route to Compostela. Religious life comes alive, the Saint-Apollinaire cathedral is built as well as the Saint-Ruf abbey which in the Middle Ages was the head of order of a large congregation of canons regular. This abbey, founded in 1039 in the suburbs of Avignon, was transferred to Valence in 1158. Two important figures are fighting for power over the city: the bishop and the count of Valentinois.
The economic boom is reflected in the development of towns, especially on the side of the Rhône: the River (Riperia) known today, less poetically, “lower town”; the New Town, north of the old Pomperi gate and the Bourg-Saint-Pierre, formed around the Saint-Pierre abbey, which spawned the current town of Bourg-lès-Valence. Elsewhere, on the middle terrace, housing outside the walls is associated with religious foundations: the Commandery of the Hospitallers, Porte Tourdéon, Saint-Félix Abbey, Porte Saint-Sulpice, the Templar Commandery in Faventines, the Benedictine priory from Saint-Victor to the south near the old Via Agrippa, and perhaps, further south,
After the disappearance of the county of Valentinois, incorporated into the province of Dauphiné, the dauphin Louis II of Poitiers-Valentinois can impose homage to the bishop and to the abbot of Saint-Ruf (exempt and immunist abbot): Valence is therefore incorporated into the province of Dauphiné. On the death of Louis II, who was its last count, the Valentinois was sold in 1419 by his heirs, his daughter Louise de Poitiers (widow of Humbert VII of Thoire and Villars) or his close relatives, to Charles, dauphin, then king. of France (Charles VII). The county of Valentinois was attached to the crown of France in 1424.
The second half of the XV century and beginning of the XVI century is a golden age for the medieval city, materialized by the House of Heads and the pendant. Founded onJuly 26, 1452by the Dauphin Louis, future Louis XI, the University of Valence quickly developed. Renowned professors from various countries, such as Jacques Cujas, have forged his reputation by teaching law, theology, medicine and the arts. After his coronation, Louis XI confirms his preference by sending his letters patent intended for the university on October 12, 1461. In March 1480, the king still supported his favorite university.
While the lower town hosts a port and an arsenal, the medieval town remains enclosed in the rampart of the Lower Empire, reinforced in 1570 under Charles IX. Despite this withdrawal of the city within its walls, the fate of Valence remains linked to the Rhône, a major commercial axis but also a border between the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire until the 15th century. The creation of a university in 1452 participated in the intellectual awakening of the city. The Dauphin Louis made many stays in Valence which, as a sign of allegiance, gave him a city gate, the Saunière gate and a few surrounding houses. He made it into a “delphinal palace”, subsequently occupied by the religious order of the Recollects. Become Louis XI, he authorized in 1476 a market in the borough of Valence during his stay in the city and confirmed his privileges of the tax, in favor of the city of Valence.
In the 16th century its military functions developed with the construction of a citadel. Many private mansions and bourgeois residences then flourished within the ramparts. The Maison des Têtes is one of the jewels of this surprising architecture by the profusion and richness of its decoration carved in stone. This period came to an abrupt end in 1562 when the city was occupied by the troops of the Protestant baron of Adrets, François de Beaumont: all the religious buildings in Valence were partially or totally destroyed, including the Saint-Apollinaire cathedral and the Saint-Ruf Abbey, both seriously affected. The abbey of Épervière never rebuilt, the canons choosing to rebuild their monastery in the early XVII century around their priory of St. James. The building of the Saint-Ruf abbey, of Romanesque structure, was then profoundly altered and given a new facade (to the east, namely rue Saint-James), while the convent buildings were rebuilt to the north.
François Rabelais studied in Valence in 1532, before settling in Lyon, a large cultural center where the bookstore trade flourished. Charles IX passes through the city during his royal tour of France (1564 – 1566), accompanied by the Court and the Great of the kingdom: his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henri de Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine. The major turning point took place in the 17th century, which saw a multitude of religious orders flourish in Valence. The city then confirms its religious, administrative and judicial functions to the detriment of trade. The historic center of Valence still retains its medieval aspect with its narrow streets.
Strategic point of the Rhône Valley, Valence has been a military place since its inception and had 7,100 inhabitants in the 1700s. It is to these that the accommodation of the soldiers falls and it is moreover to limit this plague that a municipal deliberation proposes, as of 1714, the construction of barracks in the current rue Bouffier. Quickly insufficient to house the 12,000 men and 20,000 horses of a provisional cavalry camp, the town invested 190,000 pounds for the installation of new barracks in the district of Rollin, north of the road to Romans.
It was in Valence that the epic of Louis Mandrin, the smuggler who defied the general farm and redistributed the proceeds of his thefts, ended in May 1755. After spending several days in the city prison, Mandrin is condemned to death: he is taken to the Place des Clercs where the scaffold is erected, he is then wheeled until death ensues. His body was exhibited after his death, for three days, and many people came to pay him a last tribute, as his popularity had grown. The death of Mandrin on the Valence wheel marks the end of his actions but also the beginning of a legend as the
Napoleon Bonaparte was assigned to this city from 1785 to 1786 in the artillery regiment of La Fère. He subsequently made numerous stays there. He will indeed return several times to Valence. He crossed the city in particular on October 12, 1799 on his return from the Egyptian expedition, and offered his former landlady who had come to greet him at the post office, a cashmere from India (offered to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament), a compass and a powder spoon (donated to the Valence museum in 1862). He also met that same day the future Cardinal Spina who would negotiate the Concordat in 1801 on behalf of Pope Pius VII.
It was not until the 19th century that the City emerged from its ramparts, replaced by boulevards in 1860. Valence then developed in a fan shape around its old center. Shortly before the Third Republic, Valence underwent numerous urban redevelopments. It replaces its ramparts with beautiful facades hiding the old town, and is developing new public spaces. The museum of art and archeology was inaugurated in 1850, the boulevards replaced the military ditches in 1860 and the town hall was created in 1894. The Champ de Mars, created a few years before the Revolution, became the privileged place of walk of Valence and visitors throughout the XIX century. The panoramic view that we discover from this terrace, over the Rhône, theMonts du Vivarais, and the ruins of the Château de Crussol, is very popular and even makes the pride of its inhabitants. When at the end of the XIX century, the owners want to sell their land Robine covering 7 hectares, located below, to developers, Valentino are moved.
For decades, the increase in the population (26,000 inhabitants in 1900) and changes in lifestyles have led to new needs, including the creation of a public park. However, given the high price (240,000 francs) requested by the sellers, the mayor Jean-François Malizardhesitates and plans to buy only half of the land. Fearing that the land would be sold to private developers, the municipal council decided to acquire the whole plot during the meeting of December 20, 1900. However, the purchase did not materialize. In October of the following year, Théodore Jouvet, a retiree who made his fortune in the wine trade, offered to offer the town the sum necessary for the acquisition of the plot. In 1905, Jouvet Park, named after its benefactor, was created and became the most visited park in the city.
In the 20th century, while the Valence of tomorrow is being developed on the upper terraces, the city of yesterday “with Roman memories” is not forgotten and is undergoing a successful renovation. While leaning on his past,
At the dawn of the 20th century, the municipality Chalamet and the state undertaking major work in this area of the city center: by Alphonse Clerc construction of a new stone bridge over the Rhone to replace Marc Seguin metal bridge (stone bridge which will itself be replaced by the Frédéric-Mistral bridge (1967) following its destruction during the Second World War), the backfilling and alignment of Avenue Gambetta, the expansion and modernization of the Épervière marina, the creation of a public square (Place de la République) near the bridge and the construction of a new middle school (current Lycée Émile Loubet) south of the Champ de Mars. Most of these major works were carried out by Émile Loubet, who became President of the Republic (1899-1906).
In the 20th century, while the Valence of tomorrow is being developed on the upper terraces, the city of yesterday “with Roman memories” is not forgotten and is undergoing a successful renovation. While leaning on his past.
The focal point of major north-south European routes and the gateway to the Alpine furrow for east-west connections to Italy and Switzerland, the territory of the Valence conurbation is developing around innovative companies, a in higher education, centers of excellence and an economic land offer. The development of the economy of Valence is favored by the proximity of large metropolises such as Lyon or Geneva and, thanks to transport axes, of the large European capitals.
The economic development of Valence can also count on a territory that produces wealth in the agrifood industry, high technologies with the presence of large groups in electronics or aeronautics, many innovative SMEs and a university center of importance as in the animated image and the knowledge with the presence of large animation studios recognized internationally for the quality of their productions.
The Valence conurbation, by virtue of its geographical and strategic position at the crossroads of the main European flows, benefits from exceptional and multimodal infrastructures: the marshalling yard, the commercial port of Valence: river and sea-river service by the Rhône, by the canal from the Rhône to the Mediterranean and by access to the Freycinet gauge to the north, a motorway access to the A7 and a branch to Isère and Italy (A49), a railway branch giving access to Europe-Mediterranean flows and to Italy.
Valence is home to the headquarters of the Crouzet brand (aeronautics, automation, electronics, micro mechanics, defense); factories of the Thales group (an electronics group specializing in aerospace, defense and information technologies with 720 employees at the Valence site); factories of the Scapa brand (sports equipment); the factories of Agrana Fruit (manufacture of drinks and canning of fruit); factories of the Andros company (manufacture of canned fruits and sweet biscuits), factories of the Allopneus company (sale of tires), the headquarters of the production company Folimage(production of animated films); but also counts on its municipal territory and its agglomeration factories and companies of metallurgy, electronics, precision mechanics, and agrifood (such as the factories of Cafés Pivard and brioches Pasquier).
Valence is also the seat of the Drôme Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI de la Drôme), which manages several facilities including the Épervière marina, the Valence commercial port and Valence airport. -Chabeuil (all three located in the agglomeration).
Many monuments in the city of Valencia are protected under historical monuments. Many of these monuments can be found in the Old Valence.
Former Consular Palace
At the start of the 1920s, a decision by the City Council planned to modernize the old town and align the buildings on rue du Palais to create a regular space. The president of the Chamber of Commerce seized this opportunity to have the land purchased by the Chamber in order to build a new consular hotel. Indeed, since 1879, the Chamber of Commerce has been a tenant of the Clerc house, struck by the alignment by the embellishment measures in front of the courthouse. The consular chambers designate the chambers of commerce and industry whose role is to represent the interests of commercial and industrial enterprises to the public authorities and to provide them with support and assistance. The building that houses a consular room is called a palace or a consular hotel.
The Consular Palace of Valence was inaugurated in 1927, built according to the plans of the architect Louis Bozon. It combines classicism and modernity by inscribing, on a classic frame, a modern decor of entablature bands and curved moldings, railings and ironwork balconies in Art Deco style. On the facade there is a bossed base, large semicircular openings, fluted columns in the cut corners of the building. Modillions and dentils are decorative elements borrowed from classical language. These elements enliven the rigor of the building by creating curves and breaking the sharp angles of the facade. The interior fittings form a homogeneous and coherent decorative whole, due to close collaboration between architect and craftsmen: stained glass windows in the salons of honor, ironwork of the monumental staircase, lightings, basins, mural. The first floor is distributed from a large hall by a double flight staircase leading to the reception rooms and offices.
Valencia Town Hall
In medieval times, the first municipal assemblies met in the Saint-Jean district, the city’s artisanal and economic center. Until the 19 th century, there is no building constructed specifically for municipal functions. The dilapidation of the last building pushes the municipality to consider a real project. After having occupied for several centuries various sites (house of the brotherhood, Saint-Antoine house, part of the old Saint-Ruff abbey) the town hall of Valence settled in 1808 in the buildings of the former Sainte Convent -Marie, given to the city in 1806 by the Emperor Napoleon 1 st; place where it remains until it is rebuilt on the same location.
After various attempts at repairs and enlargements involving the theater, town hall and grain market, refused by the National Council for Civilian Buildings, it was only in December 1889 (nearly fifty years after the theater) that the City launched a national competition, the first, for a new building with a budget of 400,000 Fr. It receives 77 projects which, in order to preserve their anonymity, carry various and sometimes surprising mottos, such as Nil, Clarté, Being just and fear nothing, Grow and multiply, Come what may, Jack, Without fashion, La Lessive, Volens Nolens,Qui non azardo non Gagno, Sic, Bégonia, Lou soleo luisé per tou le mondé, All right (ol raïte), to name but a few.
Its eclectic architecture, characteristic of the 19 th century, borrows from classicism with its facade with three front sections with regular openings, as in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance brought up to date by Viollet-le-Duc with its central belfry, its mullioned windows… Its interior composition includes a vestibule opening onto a monumental grand staircase leading to the ceremonial rooms of the municipal function located on the main facade; municipal council room and marriage room separated by a reception room opening onto the Place de la Liberté by a balcony intended for proclamations. Municipal services are “thrown back” to the sides and back of the building. The symbols are strong: allegory of the Law and Universal Suffrage by the Lyon sculptor Lamotte surrounding the belfry clock, shields on the main facade bearing the coat of arms and names of the department’s chief towns, medallions on the east facade inscribed with words JUS with the scales and LEX with the tables of the law and the hand of Justice.
The proliferation of music stands in the middle of the 19th century is linked to the development of musical societies, choirs and orchestras popular that occur regularly. A first bandstand was erected in the center of the Champ de Mars in 1862. In accordance with the architectural codes of the time, it was built on a limestone base and composed of cast iron pillars surmounted by a molded zinc roof, decorated with lyres. Replaced in 1890 by the current kiosk, designed by Eugène Poitoux, it owes its name to the illustrator Raymond Peynet, who, while in Valence in 1942, gave birth to his famous lovers. His sketch of the bandstand housing a violinist and an admirer will tour the world. In 1966, in the presence of Raymond Peynet, the Valence bandstand was officially named, which was classified as a historic monument in 1982.
Listed as a historical monument since 1982 and the work of architect Eugène Poitoux, the Peynet kiosk is a bandstand that inspired Raymond Peynet in 1942 to his famous lovers. These “lovers” will travel around the world and adorn many objects. Raymond Peynet therefore works at a more than sustained pace for many newspapers. Having become famous, Peynet returned to Valence in April 1966 to baptize the kiosk which would henceforth bear his name.
The lovers of Peynet inspired the song The lovers of the public benches by Georges Brassens. They were declined in stamps in 1985 in France, in postmark of Saint-Valentin in Indre every February 14, in postcards, in dolls, in books, on medals, in statues (such as the one raised to Hiroshima in Japan). The object of a tireless quest by thousands of collectors, the little couple is famous all over the world. Japan has two Peynet museums (in Karuizawa andSakuto), while in Hiroshima, a statue of the Lovers faces the Atomic Bomb memorial. There is also a kiosk and a museum dedicated to the designer in the small town of Brassac-les-Mines, in the Puy-de-Dôme where Peynet’s mother, Isabelle Bard was from.
Created in 1896 and after having been temporarily installed in dilapidated premises, the Valence Labor Exchange takes up residence in a newly constructed building on Place de la Pierre, on the site of an old market hall. Inaugurated on March 13, 1904, it retains its structure, a vast rectangular space whose roof is supported by four rows of columns. The project consists of the construction of a facade on the square and the interior redevelopment of the original building into a room with 400 seats, rooms for unions, a meeting room and a library. In 1927, the building was raised by one level, making it possible to offer three additional rooms. Since the departure of the unions in the 1980s, the site occasionally hosts exhibitions and tends to assert its cultural vocation.
Valence train station
The station area is fully developed in the second half of the 19th century. Inaugurated in 1866, the Valence station expresses two radically different types of architecture: the passenger building is a classic tradition, while the metal hall expresses the party of industry. Built by Louis-Jules Bouchot, chief architect of the Compagnie des Chemins de fer, the passenger building takes up the main motifs of the Grand Trianon of Versailles, with a central building flanked by two recessed wings. The metal hall is an architectural engineers implementing the new techniques of the 19th century. Following its collapse in 1901, restoration and expansion work was carried out between 1903 and 1908, giving the building its current appearance. The facade is listed as a historical monument in 1982.
The Maison Dupré la Tour
This urban villa is located at the beginning of the XVI th century by the Genas family, whose fortune is linked to salt trade. Property Dupre Family Tour in the 18th century, it belongs to the City of Valencia since 1974. The house is divided into two main buildings arranged around a central courtyard. The lower room has a fireplace, a washing stone and a vegetable garden. In the courtyard, a turret houses a spiral staircase which concentrates most of the Renaissance decor, the accomplished style of which suggests the intervention of an Italian artist. Pilasters adorned with ancient figures and candelabras support a lintel whose sculpted frieze draws from the Greco-Roman mythological repertoire. This exceptional decorative ensemble makes this residence a Renaissance jewel in Valence. The staircase turret and the galleries were classified as historical monuments in 1927.
The Moorish House
The Moorish House was built in 1860 at the request of Mr. Ferlin on land near the old prefecture of which only the gate remains, the building having been destroyed by bombardments in August 1944. The building, whose main facade, about forty meters, overlooks rue Gaston Rey, contrasts with the old buildings that surround it. Its realization coincides with the beginnings of a rationalist urban planning program for the district, involving the widening of the rue Gaston-Rey and the alignment of all the facades on the prefecture located at the end of the street, to the west. Its owner, Mr. Ferlin, is thus forced to adapt his house to the asymmetrical shape of the plot. The building bears witness to the taste for Orientalism that swept through France from the 1830s, a trend that inspired painting, literature, sculpture… In architecture, this movement is characterized by the use of horseshoe arches and arabesques. sinuous, interlacing and many geometric patterns.
This house announces a break with traditional architecture and neoclassical academicism. In the city center, it contrasts with all the old buildings that surround it. Original, its decor is a reminder of the wonders of the Orient, in a context of rationalization and alignment of urban centers that took place in the 19 th century. From the 19 th century, the French presence in North Africa is accompanied by a craze for artists Oriental art. Painters, designers, architects travel to the East to discover new sources of inspiration which then arise in Western art: it is the birth of Orientalism. In architecture, this movement is characterized by the use of oriental decorations with horseshoe arches, sinuous arabesques, interlacing and numerous geometric patterns.
In 1858, Mr. Ferlin bought a piece of land in the rue de la préfecture. It is for the city to widen this street to 14 meters and to align all the facades on the prefecture. So Ferlin will be forced to build an asymmetrical building with a 2m wall to the east and a 4m wall to the west. Frequenting the artistic circles of the city, he chooses for his facade to draw on the oriental repertoire: which will therefore be worth the nickname to the building of “La Mauresque à Ferlin”. The modernity of the Maison also lies in the material used for the first time in Valence. The first level is in freestone, but the upper levels are made up of large slabs of molded concrete.
The Moorish House has regained its colors (red, green and blue) thanks to the restoration of its facade in 2019. If the ground floor in cold, very hard stone, had withstood the passage of years, the upper levels, made of soft limestone, and therefore easier to carve, were much more damaged, the decorations heavily eroded.. One of the peculiarities of this building is that it is not protected from the rain by a cornice: the water runs off the facade, chiseling it, it infiltrates the stone, making it more sensitive to frost. The stone, after having been cleaned was reconstituted, in order to recreate the decoration. The two gargoyles have been reinforced by dowelling, for aesthetic reasons and also safety. To protect the top of the facades, a lead coating now covers the crown decoration through which water infiltrated. The downspouts have been redone. The most spectacular, however, is the return of the polychrome, the 1 st and 2 th levels. The facade was carefully observed for traces of red and pale green ocher which had almost entirely disappeared. The painted decorations punctuate and reinforce the stone decorations.
The courthouse occupies the site of the former royal abbey of Vernaison, Cistercian community of sisters settled in Valencia at the beginning of the XVII th century. After the Revolution, the buildings were assigned to the Criminal Court and the gendarmerie. As the building was ill-suited to its new functions, a new courthouse was built in part on the site of the former convent. It was inaugurated in 1836 and will be enlarged and modified several times. The main facade, to the north, is inscribed on the site of the chapel, the cloister and the gardens of the nuns. It dates from 1861, when the previously opened arcades were closed. The southern part has retained its original facade, visible from the interior courtyard of the building. The courthouse of Valencia, built in the middle of the 19th century breaks with the own monumental architecture to the buildings of justice.
The war memorial
In 1919, Valence created a commission responsible for planning the construction of a war memorial. The architect Henri Joulie offers a modern and original work, available in three parts symbolizing the Victory, the Sacrifice and the Homage, thus constituting a monumental architectural ensemble. The figures of Victory and the Hairy are the work of the Drôme sculptor Gaston Dintrat with whom the architect has joined forces. Inaugurated in March 1929 in Jouvet Park, it benefits from natural decorative elements and is part of an intimate and collected space. It bears the names of the 736 martyr who died for the fatherland. Valence thus fulfills its duty of remembrance with a monument which is said to be “one of the most remarkable among those erected in France to commemorate the terrible cataclysm”, hence its registration as a historical monument in 2019.
House of heads
Antoine de Dorne, professor of law at the university and consul of the city, is the first known owner of this urban residence that he had built around 1530, on his return from a trip to Italy. The street façade presents characteristic Flamboyant Gothic decorations: a complex network of moldings, mullioned windows and braces, fantastic bestiary… The latter rub shoulders with Renaissance decorations, including the many medallion heads. The house was bought in 1794 by the widow of the bookseller Pierre Aurel, whose son, close to the young Bonaparte in garrison in Valence, was recruited as printer-in-chief of the army of Egypt. Since the 1960s, restorations have enabled this urban residence to regain its former splendor. Property of the City of Valence, it now houses an Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Center.
From the Middle Ages to 19 th century, the textile industry is well established in Valencia. The presence of canals in the city encouraged the installation of fullers and tanners. Rich Indian merchants but also clothiers gradually settled in the lower town and in the town of Bourg-lès-Valence. In the past, the sheets were made of wool and woven by hand on looms. From sheep breeding to artisanal sheet making, the wool industry has played a predominant role in the economic development of the West. The origins of this activity are attested from medieval times. The construction of this house dates back to 13 th century. It is the oldest known stone-built house in Valencia. It is located in the old quarter where the bourgeois, craftsmen and traders come together by activity. The Saint-Jean church and the common house, which no longer exists, constitutes the heart of this old quarter.
This house is traditionally called La Maison du Drapier because it dominates an area located on the edge of the Currière canal where the large shops for the manufacture of sheets are located. The shape of its facade with a porte-cochere and three shop arches, indicates that it belonged to a wealthy merchant. The house retains a medieval appearance despite numerous restorations of the 19 th century. The shop arches on the ground floor are characteristic of a medieval commercial establishment. They open the house widely to the outside and allow the artisan-trader to set up his stall in the street since in the Middle Ages, customers do not enter the shops. The openings are wide. They are surmounted by flat lintels, exceptionally high and heavy. In order to lighten the weight of the lintels and the walls hanging over them, two-tone relief arches distribute the loads on the sides. The first floor has two large openings called skeleton, formed of two twin bays, with slightly broken arches. The small hooked capitals are characteristic of the Gothic period.
The canals and streams of Valence form a network of approximately 40 km, including 17 km in the open air that cross and decorate different areas of the city. The presence of this water in the city conditions the lives of residents, past and present. Considered as an advantage or an inconvenience, the uses of these urban canals evolve over time. The foundation of the city of Valencia dates back to the ancient period. It is assumed that the Romans channeled the natural waters coming down from the Vercors. However, the first written documents attesting to the use and management of canals date from the Middle Ages. The monks use and channel the water to drive the wheels of their oil, mustard and wheat mills… The water also makes it possible to irrigate fields and orchards thanks to a complex system of by-passes and valves. Then little by little, for lack of maintenance, many channels will become blocked and overflow their beds. Today, the canals are mainly used for watering gardens and small private vegetable plots. Biodiversity protection measures have been put in place to protect all the animals and plants that live in the water or on the banks.
A natural and ecological heritage unique in France, the canals have accompanied Valence since Roman times. The name of Valence would also come from three Celtic words: “val” (water), “len” (plain) and “ty” (dwelling) and would mean “inhabited place rich in water”. At the time these rivers allowed the inhabitants to satisfy many needs and activities: fishing, irrigation, washing, soaking, driving force for the wheat, oil, fulling and silk mills. They are today a place of walk for many people from Valence. It is in the eastern districts of Valence, at the foot of a tier, the seminary terrace, that the canals (with a total length of 17 kilometers and 40 kilometers including the secondary irrigation canals) originate. Very quickly, the Valentinois will endeavor to channel these waters forming unsanitary swamps. In the XIII century, regulation and use of channels are privileged monasteries of Saint-Ruf and Saint-Victor who decided the location of the mills.
Indeed, the water, used for irrigation, drinking water consumption and washhouses, is also a precious source of energy for the economic development of the time. The main ones (Charran, Thon, Moulins and Malcontents) cross the city from east to west before joining to form the canal de l’Épervière which then flows into the Rhône. In the XIX century, canals lose their importance and will be a bit forgotten, hidden by urbanization, high-rise buildings and roads. For a few years now, the municipality has undertaken work to enhance the roads, lined with poplars and willows, along these canals. Green routes have been marked out along the Malcontents, the Grande Marquise, Thibert, Charran and California canals. Canals that still continue to water the gardens today. The municipality also wants to promote gentle travel on the edges of the banks of the canals.
The so-called artillery barracks “Baquet barracks” was established in the early 20 th century on the site and on the premises of the former minor seminary of Valencia, closed in 1907. The Minister of War then plans to install a group of heavy artillery there, insofar as the City agrees to relinquish the building in favor of the State. A year later, it deliberates on disposal of premises and buildings of the seminary to assign them to a barracks to receive the new artillery regiment created in the 14 th army corps. On January 5, 1911, an official decree assigned the site to the Ministry of War to make it an artillery barracks.
The 1 st Regiment of Spahis unit of the French army under the armored-cavalry weapon, is heir to the traditions of the 1 st Moroccan Spahis marching regiment recreated during the 2 nd World War by the Free French Forces, from elements of the 1st regiment of Moroccan spahis. Since their new assignment, many improvements have allowed the building of the old seminary to adjust the organization of units that occupied until the last renovations and constructions carried out at the beginning of XXI th century. The Baquet district is today the last and only place of military establishment in the city. The 1st spahis regiment, after a temporary welcome in Latour-Maubourg, settled there in 1984 and has lived there ever since.
Named after the famous Drôme, the Marquis de Latour Maubourg, General Empire, the barracks was built in the last quarter of the 19th century. It thus completes the military heritage of Valence, already rich in four sites. Its construction was decided in 1876, opposite the artillery range, a large space reserved for shooting exercises. Designed to accommodate a regiment of artillery, it is ultimately the 5 th Regiment of hunters on horseback who moved there in June 1879. A perfect illustration of the Republican cavalry barracks, it consists of a central building for housing soldiers and two rows of stable-docks. The rides located in the axis of the district and the entities for the maintenance of the horses have disappeared. Following the departure of the military in 1998, it became the property of the City of Valence. After a phase of partial destruction of the buildings and the rehabilitation of three built complexes, the stables accommodate private companies and structures linked to the Latour-Maubourg university center. As for the central building, it houses the Valence Romans Agglo Media Center-Archives.
The Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral is one of the oldest monuments in Valence. The first Christian community of Valencia is the 3 th century AD. The first bishop was attested in 314. Later, in the Romanesque period, Gontard, the bishop of the diocese, wanted a building worthy of his rank. In the 11 th century, a new cathedral called St. Apollinaire is then built in the heart of the religious quarter. It is located in the center of the cathedral district and adjoins to the south the old early Christian baptistery and the episcopal palace, now a museum. The cathedral was classified as a historical monument in 1869.
Located in the extreme southwest of the old town, on the town’s first terrace overlooking the Rhône, the cathedral district is perfectly located. In the Middle Ages, the church tower served as a watchtower to monitor the surrounding countryside and navigation on the Rhône. The episcopal palace, or residence of the bishop, is built immediately next to the church. This palace, transformed several times, became in 1911 the Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology of Valencia. Over the centuries, the cathedral has undergone many modifications. Consecrated August 5, 1095 by Pope Urban II, it was destroyed during the religious wars and rebuilt exactly the XVII th century. In the 18 th century, Bishop Alexander Milo of Mesme richly rearranges his palace and church. It notably finances the great organ and its case, a new marble altar and paintings. The monument of Pope Pius VI, who died in Valence in 1799 prisoner of the Directory, was placed in the choir. In the 19 th century, the bell tower was struck by lightning. It was rebuilt, partly in Crussol stone, the white color of which contrasts with the rest of the building, which is essentially made of molasse.
Chapel of the Capuchins
The Capuchin convent of Valence was built by the Capuchin brothers between 1620 and 1630 in the lower town, in the “La Rivière” district. It appeared at the time as a modest house with three buildings arranged in a square, south of the chapel, according to a classic plan around a cloister encircling the central garden. This provision is still visible today. With a single nave with a flat ceiling, it has two chapels dedicated to Saint Philibert and the Virgin. It retains a giltwood furniture from the XVII th and 18th centuries, including an altar dedicated to St. Venantius from the neighboring convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Let. The Ministry of Equipment acquired the premises in 1977 and after extensive work, DDE agents moved there in 1983. The chapel is no longer in use today and serves as a meeting room, concert hall, exhibition…
A single-nave church with a flat ceiling, it has a polychrome gilded high altar and its altarpiece (listed as a Historic Monument, 1905), dedicated to Saint Venance, from the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Soyons. All the furniture classified and registered as a Historic Monument having been deposited by the Conservation of Antiquities and Objects of Art of the Drôme in the reserves of the Conservation of Heritage. The revolutionary period marks the end of their history in Valence the place is then used as a military hospital. In 1802, the general hospital was transferred there, followed in 1818 by the Hôtel-Dieu. Constantly redeveloped since the beginning of the 19th century, only the chapel, with its classic facade, retains its original structure. In 1991, work has emerged from within the choir, a fresco painted decoration in the 18th century. This Italian decoration takes in perspective the architectural elements and patterns unearthed on a triumphal arch located at the hinge between the choir and the nave (today protected by a shuttering). The chapel has been listed as a historical monument since 1997.
St. John’s Church
The Saint-Jean district was a large parish in the Middle Ages. If any trace of the original building survives, its bell tower date of the XII th century and houses two remarkable historiated novels: the Female snakes and Tobias capturing fish. After the wars of religion, the church was raised briefly at the beginning of the XVII th century. battered again during the revolutionary period, the body of the building was rebuilt in the 1840s, based on designs by the diocesan architect Alexandre Epailly. The bell tower-porch was restored two decades later by the architect-voyer Auguste Chauffeur who proposed a complete facing of the facades, radically modifying its architectural style and giving it a neo-Roman style very different from the original one. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste church was listed as a historical monument in 1978.
This monumental gate, dating from the 18th century, is the last vestige of the abbey home of the mother house of the order of Saint-Ruf. After seven centuries of presence in the city, the order began to slowly decline, gradually abandoning the rule of Saint Augustine, to prefer the management of property and a more worldly life. The order was finally secularized in 1774 and the site was gradually abandoned. In 1800, the abbey house accommodated the seat of the prefecture of Drôme. On August 15, 1944, the Allied bombardments targeting the bridge over the Rhône had serious consequences. The buildings housing the prefecture were largely destroyed, leaving as a witness to the great abbey a monumental portal as well as some lapidary remains preserved at the Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology in Valence. This portal and the buildings to the south were listed as historical monuments in 1999.
The Sylvante postern
This postern is one of the last vestiges of the fortifications of Valence. It is a monumental gate equipped with a portcullis, a massive iron gate that rose or fell to regulate access to the interior of the city and to isolate the top from the bottom of the city in case of conflict or epidemic. The rampart built on the banks of the Rhône has gradually put this separation between the upper town and the lower town into perspective. The Sylvante coast dates from the Middle Ages, just like the Sainte-Ursule, Saint-Martin and Saint-Estève coasts. These picturesque stairs connect the district called La Rivière, on the banks of the Rhône, to the first terrace overlooking it. Above the Sylvante coast are the terraced structures of the former abbey of Saint-Ruf. The 1944 bombardment having profoundly altered the site, vines replaced the religious buildings.
Notre-Dame de Soyons – Porte de l’Arsenal
Notre-Dame de Soyons has been a municipal property since 1927, listed as a historical monument since 1926 for the Porte de l’Arsenal and the facade and 1965 for the chapel. Abbess Antoinette de Sassenage bought in 1629, on the banks of the Rhône, a few houses which would form the nucleus of the Benedictine abbey which was to grow gradually. The work was completed in 1633 and the nuns took possession of their new home. At the beginning of the 18th century, the abbey began to decline. Having only meager income, she gradually succumbs.
In 1791, the buildings were confiscated and sold as national property, the 10 nuns who still remained there left the abbey. After having served in turn as a prison, as a wine warehouse for the troops, as an arsenal for the army of the Alps and Italy, the building is now assigned to a nautical sports association, “Les enfants du Rhône “. The restoration of the facade of the chapel enters into a context of enhancement and requalification of the old district of “La Rivière”, located on the banks of the Rhône. The destruction of the unhealthy “fishermen’s island” which faced the facade of the chapel initially made it possible to free up a visual space and create a point of greenery in a relatively confined urban space. It is on this site, located in the lower town, that the equipment dedicated to gastronomy will be built by 2019.
A major religious building in the city, the Saint-Ruf Temple is today dedicated to Protestant worship. It has a fine collection of decorations of 18 th century. The presence of religious reasons in this temple can be explained by the reconversion of the place. It is indeed a former Catholic church attributed after its abandonment to Protestant worship. Saint Ruf is the name of one of the first founders of the Christian community of Avignon. In the Middle Ages, the relics of this saint were kept in a church where monks settled to found an order called Saint-Ruf. This order was quickly transferred from Avignon to Valence where a huge abbey was built outside the city. This convent will be completely destroyed during the wars of religion by the Protestant troops. The monks took refuge in St James Street in the old town where they rebuilt all of their convent buildings). The site includes an old Romanesque church was transformed and embellished in the 18 th century.
Fully converted 18 th century, the finely chiseled décor reflects the elegance of this time. Religious motifs and themes are discreetly represented and remain barely visible. Biblical scenes are represented in the middle of the trophies supported by garlands of flowers. Before the Revolution, France had a very large number of religious orders. The king decides to suppress some of them, including the order of Saint-Ruf. During the revolution, the disused church was transformed into a wheat store before opening up to revolutionary assemblies. These are at the origin of the funeral monument placed in the old choir in homage to the Valentinois, Jean-Etienne Championnet, general of the troops of the Revolution. In the 19 th century, Bonaparte, first consul of France, entrusted the church to the Protestant community for the exercise of its worship: it was the first Protestant temple in Valence.
Field of Mars
The old “Promenade de Beauregard”, carried out on the initiative of the Bishop of Valence in the 1770s, took the name of Champ de Mars a decade later, probably because of the military parades that took place there and the exercises. which are practiced there by the artillery students, before the commissioning of the artillery polygon. From the outset, it was chosen to house a bandstand, then in 1845, a monumental bronze statue representing. Championnet, general-in-chief of the army of the Alps, produced by the Grenoble sculptor Victor Sappey. In 1913, a monument dedicated to the Drômois who died during the war of 1870 was established in the south. But the Champ de Mars is especially famous for hosting festive events, markets and fairs. It dominates the Jouvet park and the Rhône, and opens onto the perspective of the Château de Crussol.
The 19th is often called “the century of natural hygiene”. This is why trees and fountains in urban areas are one of the major concerns of this period. They contribute both to the enjoyment of the city and to improving the health of the population. The monumental fountain is the work of Eugène Poitoux. It was installed in 1887, at the
roundabout of the ancient promenade Cagnard at major urban work conducted by the City at the end of the 19th century. “The griffins that make it the main ornament are taken from the coat of arms of Valence of which they are part. They hold under their claws the crests of the four districts of the department of Drôme. The consoles which support them represent the allegorical figure of the Rhône projecting the water into the upper basins from where it escapes through twelve mascarons (lion heads) to supply the lower basins”
From its creation, the fountain was surmounted by a sculpture representing a winged figure, which disappeared in the 1950s due to its degradation. In 2006, the model of the statue having been found (probably a representation of Hermes), a copy was made and installed in its original location. An emblematic place embellished with water jets, the monumental fountain symbolizes the central point of the city and the boulevards. By its circular shape, it visually accompanies the curve formed by the ice cream cafe, which is contemporary to it. It was moved a few meters in the direction of the old town during the work on the boulevards in the 2000s, in order to allow the development of a specific site for buses.
Water towers, Jean Perdrix park
In 1962, to cope with the increase in its population, the City of Valence, under the leadership of the mayor Jean Perdrix, decided to create a new district, in the form of an “area to be urbanized as a priority” (ZUP), the design of which was entrusted to the urban architect André Gomis. The district is made up of two parts separated by a large park of twenty-four hectares in the middle of which is projected a water tower, intended to serve as a landmark for this new district. Work began in 1969 and continued until May 1971. “Combining a functional object and artistic research, the sculptor Philolaos was able to transform water reservoirs into contemporary works of art, a true symbol of the city of Valencia”. The death of the architect André Gomis in 1971 and the change of municipality call into question the development of the surroundings of the water tower, which will not be carried out. In 1981, the water tower won the “clock district” prize which rewards the best urban art achievement of the 1970s in France.
Civil gymnasium Berthelot
Created in 1871, the civil gymnasium of Valence is one of the oldest sports societies in Drôme and is probably one of the very first national gymnastics associations. The gymnasium was created on the initiative of Edouard Iung, after the defeat of the war of 1870, for whom the development of sports structures should allow young people to prepare themselves physically and morally to reconquer the lost provinces. After having been accommodated in several sites, she moved into a gymnasium built in 1902, rue Berthelot, on her initiative. The facade of the original building remarkable is unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century.
The stone square
In the XV th century, the inhabitants of Valencia get the Dauphin Louis, future Louis XI, the concession of two annual fairs and a market that are confirmed by François I er in 1538. A traditional market place in the old town, the Place de la Pierre owes its name to an imposing stone carved with three holes used as measures for wheat. The bottom of the holes was slightly inclined in order to lead the grain to another opening through which it flowed. This stone has disappeared in the 19th century. The western part of this place has seen a succession of different buildings, including a small church dedicated to St. Martin in the Middle Ages, destroyed in the early XVI th century. A market hall was established on the site of the church. She remained in office until the end of the 19th century and converted into Labor Exchange at the beginning of 20th century.
Place des Clercs
Mentioned in the texts in 1285, the Place des Clercs owes its name to its location in the heart of the religious district of the city. Near the Saint-Apollinaire cathedral, there were several religious buildings. An important building monumental character of the XII th century, discovered north of the site during archaeological excavations, could have belonged to the complex of the former canonry. From the second half of the XV th century, the Clerics of the square hosts theatrical performances, including Game of the Three Martyrs, tells the story of Felix saints, Fortunat and Achilles, the legendary founder of the Church of Valencia. It is also on this square that the famous smuggler Louis Mandrin undergoes the torture of the wheel on May 26, 1755, in front of several thousand spectators. An important market is held every Saturday morning on the Place des Clercs.
The cemetery of VALENCE by its uniqueness of place, its memorial history receives more than 100,000 visitors per year. The cemetery of Valence is one of the most important in the region in terms of size and history. It is unique and remain so. 1836 is the date of creation of the current Valence cemetery. It is also a translation of the cemetery (it was previously located on the site of Sainte-Catherine (Saint-Jacques district) on an area of 5000 ares). The cemetery was first blessed under the name of Saint-Lazare, from which it takes the name. It has been enlarged several times but still remains in its original location today.
Walking through its alleys is like entering the history of Valence through the men and women who made the city. Among the heritage elements, note the presence of numerous monuments and commemorative steles (Belat, Delacroix, stele of the Madeleine…) and two military squares paying homage to the soldiers who died for France during the Great War. Inherited from classical Antiquity, columns and cippi stand side by side in the same space with the cross rich in a multitude of models. From animals to plants, such as the draped urn, the hourglass, the broken column or the overturned torch, these highly symbolic ornaments participate in the funerary decoration of the cemetery space. More than 12,000 concessions, a third of which are perpetual concessions which represent a real heritage, both in funerary architecture (temple, vaults, cupolas, stelae, sculpture of women in pain, acroterions, etc.) and epitaphs. A walk in the alleys reveals this diversity: from the monumental stone vault (Crussol, Cavaillon…), to the individual and family concession (entourage, stele and granite slab).
This funerary monument, built in 1548, occupied the center of the cloister located north of the cathedral. Its sponsor is Nicolas Mistral, canon of the cathedral of Valence. Sold as national property in 1796, it was acquired by Antoine Gallet, liquorist, who converted it into a drinking establishment. Under the building is a crypt which could have housed burials but none have ever been found. The building takes its name from the particular vaulting system. Indeed, the vault of the building is spherical and carried by four pendants (particular system of assembly of stones placed in the four angles). It is the work of a seasoned architect whose business is developing in France the mid 16 th century.
The facades present a multitude of sinuous lines carved into the stone, reminiscent of worm galleries. Fabulous or exotic animals (salamander, crocodile, octopus…) but also cherubs or rosettes are hidden in the intertwining of the decor. The whole is made of molasse, a very crumbly stone that has worn out over time, making it difficult to read the decorations. The monument also recalls the motif of the Roman triumphal arch with its columns, capitals and architrave. The functions of the building evolve over the centuries. While the wars of religion leave all the churches of Valencia in ruins, the Pendant seems to have escaped it. Used alternately as a cellar, warehouse, pig pens, it was bought by the City of Valence in 1831 and restored. It was included on the first list of buildings classified as historical monuments in France in 1840.
Tradition places the foundation of the bishopric of Valence at the time of the High Middle Ages. Located in the southwest corner of the medieval town, many renovation-extension phases have significantly changed the appearance of the building. The transformations of the 18th century led by Bishop Alexander Milo of Mesme gave it its appearance mansion between the courtyard and garden, face it presents when the museum moved there in 1911. After a century of presence in the former bishopric, the Valence museum is leading an ambitious renovation-extension project between 2009 and 2013, with the architect Jean-Paul Philippon. This project makes it possible to double the exhibition area, to create a belvedere offering a 360 ° view and to assert the construction of a building with resolutely contemporary architecture while favoring the enhancement of the historical heritage.
After the publication of the Jules Ferry laws (1881-1882), the City of Valence is looking for a place to set up a nursery school in the lower town. Nine buildings were visited and the municipality opted for a house on rue Pêcherie, which it bought in 1884. The premises were very dilapidated, their destruction was scheduled in order to build a new school on its site. Following a competition, the Valence architects Ernest Tracol and Eugène Poitoux were appointed to carry out the project. They apply the rules of the emerging architecture school and achieve in 1903 a school-type III e Republic, with two classes and two function apartments. Located in a flood-prone area, the building is raised to be sheltered from the Rhône floods. The Jules Renard school closed in 2011 and the building, renovated in 2016, now houses the Maison pour tous in the city center.
La Comédie de Valence, former Bel Image Theater
At the beginning of 20th century, the municipal theater no longer sufficient, because of the many many requests and proposals shows, the City approves the proposed construction of a hall. Designed by the architect-voyer Louis Brunel in 1914, the village hall was completed in 1929. The internal organization of the building was completely redesigned during the renovation carried out in 1993, when it took the name of Bel picture. Four years later, he hosted the newly created Comédie de Valence. Its facade perfectly combines the monumental columns of the official balcony with the delicacy of a decor inspired by the civil architecture of the 18th century. The theme of music is suggested by musical instruments distributed over the four trophies that punctuate the facade.
The City Theater
In the 19th century, Valencia is a garrison town which hosts many military accustomed to frequent the theaters. This is why in 1827, it undertakes for the first time the construction of a theater whose construction will take 10 years. The facade presents a classic and sober arrangement that contrasts with the exuberance of the interior decoration.The Italian room is the result of a renovation project of the years 1886-1887. Sculpted medallions and inscriptions by authors and composers make this building a temple to the glory of comedy, drama, opera and vaudeville. The painted dome is made at the end of the 19th century. In addition to its function as a theater for entertainment, this building has hosted a multitude of activities: balls, fairs, conferences, political meetings…
Suisse de Valence: this shortbread cookie in the shape of a man is a specialty of the city. Sometimes improperly called “Pantin”, the Suisse de Valence is flavored with orange blossom, it contains almond powder and small pieces of candied orange peel. The name, shape and decoration of this cookie are inspired by the uniform of the Swiss guards of Pope Pius VI, who died in Valence in 1799. Switzerland is traditionally eaten during the Easter holidays and especially on Palm Sunday, the day of his party.
Estouffade of beef and onions from Valence: this is a Dauphinoise specialty mainly found in Valentinois. This stew is cooked with beef, bacon, onions and vegetables. It is also called “marinade grill”, recalling that, for centuries, before the arrival of the railroad, the sailors went down the Rhône and left the recipe for the matelote and this stew on the banks of the river.
Dragée de Valence: praline or chocolate confectionery coated with sugar made in the purest tradition, to celebrate solemn events in life such as baptisms, communions and weddings. The materials used are calibrated and regular almonds, mainly from France (Ferraduelle), but also from Spain (Longuette, Planeta) or Sicily (Avola). These varieties are the only ones which make it possible to obtain a very beautiful dragee.
Local wines: several wines of controlled designation of origin (AOC) are produced in the agglomeration of Valence, on the right bank of the Rhône (Ardèche). We can cite Saint-Péray (produced in the communes of Saint-Péray and Toulaud) and Cornas (produced in the commune of Cornas, just north of Saint-Péray). About 20 km north of Valence are produced Hermitage, an AOC wine originating in the municipality of Tain-l’Hermitage (Drôme) and Crozes-Hermitage, a wine produced in ten municipalities around Tain andCrozes-Hermitage. These wines are part of the vineyard of the northern Rhône valley, better known under the name of “Côtes-du-Rhône “. Finally, each year, in Saint-Péray, the “Fête des vins” and the “Wine markets” take place where all the producers and winegrowers of the various AOCs in the Rhône valley participate and offer their wines for tasting..
the fruits commonly found in the Valence region include peaches, apples, pears, apricots, figs and many red fruits such as cherries, blackberries, sour cherries and raspberries.
the chef Anne-Sophie Pic (3 stars in the Michelin guide) is a fine dining restaurant and Master restorer. A graduate of the Higher Institute of Management, it owns the gourmet restaurant of Maison Pic located at 285 Avenue Victor Hugo Valencia. She is the first female chef to receive three Michelin stars; The Maison Pic has existed since 1889. Four personalities have followed one another, two women and two men, all from the Pic family. André Pic, his grandfather, obtained three stars from 1934.Jacques Pic, his father, obtained three stars from 1973.
Baptiste Poinot, chef of the Flaveurs restaurant (1 Michelin star). The flavors are taste sensations perceived by the nose as well as the taste buds at the mouthing of a food. The starred restaurant Flaveurs was created in January 2006 in Valence by Baptiste Poinot.
Masashi Ijishi, chef at La Cachette restaurant (1 Michelin star).
Cultural events and festivities
Valence celebrates spring: celebrates local and regional agricultural production,
MOVIDA Flamenco Festival
Boulevards de Chine: flea markets and antiques,
Valence Festival: free concerts in town,
Music festival: free concerts (Champ de Mars, Jouvet park),
Les Féeries d’Hiver: show and fireworks display,
Scenario at the Long Court: International Festival of Writers,
Gastronomy festival: annual festival taking place in September,
Automobile exhibition of the Historic Monte-Carlo Rally: exhibition on the Champ de Mars of cars participating in the historic races of the Monte-Carlo rallies (events reserved for vintage vehicles).
Student Challenge: a major student event taking place every year for a weekend since 1988. It is a set of festivities, a parade, and sports competitions during which the different universities and schools in the city. This is organized by the Association Valentinoise des Étudiants, it is one of the largest student events in France,
Festival on the Field.: free annual musical event (French music, pop, rock, electro, urban music, hip-hop) since 2015 on the Place du Champ de Mars.
The vegetation in the plain of Valence is of the mid-European type belonging to the supramediterranean level (pedunculate oak, oak in the coldest places, coppice of hornbeams) mixed with thermophilic species such as the pubescent oak, even holm oaks (Quercus ilex) on exposed slopes with draining soils. To the south of the Drôme valley, where the Mediterranean influence finally prevails (20 km further south), we also find spontaneous populations of thyme, lavender, characia spurge, Spanish broom (Genista hispanica), Provence cane (Arundo donax), as well as Aleppo pines(Pinus halepensis) on the west face of Crussol hill. Due to the exposure and the nature of the soil, the Ardèche hillsides offer landscapes of Mediterranean scrubland and oak groves (Quercus ilex) from Tournon-sur-Rhône which is located 20 km north of Valence (Cornas hills, Saint-Péray and Soyons). The hills (limestone for the most part) have a double vegetation: Mediterranean on the south side and sub-continental on the north side.
Formerly, the cultivation of the olive tree went back to the well-exposed heights of Tain-l’Hermitage (19 km to the north), but they were replaced by the cultivation of the vine at first, then by that of apricots, peach trees and other fruit trees which are still very present in the region, even if more than 7000 ha of fruit trees (apricot trees, cherry trees, peach trees and kiwis mainly) have disappeared from the Drôme landscapes due to an epidemic of plum pox and bacteriosis forcing the grubbing up since 2003.
Parks and gardens
Composed of a heritage of 250 hectares of parks and green spaces, the city of Valence has 10 large urban parks, 17 kilometers of open canals, and more than 20,000 ornamental and alignment trees in its parks, its squares and along its streets and avenues. Located in the city center between Old Valence to the north, Jouvet Park to the west, the station district to the east, and the Emile Loubet high school to the south, the Champ de Mars esplanade is a vast promenade of 3 hectares planted with lime trees, with the Peynet kiosk in its center. The esplanade consists of two large lawns on which it is possible to have a picnic. It is also the site of cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions in summer. In 2000, before the conversion of the Champ de Mars, it was a parking lot lined with plane trees which is now underground.
Under this terrace is the city garden or Jouvet park which bears the name of Théodore Jouvet, a generous donor who offered the city of Valence the sum necessary for the purchase of the land and whose statue is placed near the belvedere from the Belle Époque. This garden occupies slopes that connect the Lower Town district and the Champ de Mars. It is crossed by small streams and decorated with statues. Central Park is also one of the most important monumental and civic complexes in Valence: the city’s war memorial, in the shape of an obelisk, was built there after the First World War; General Championnet, a native of the country, there is also his statue, which was dismantled in May 1944 and hidden, to prevent it from being melted down by the German occupier. The meeting of the doctor Gilbert Dreyfuse with Louis Aragon, his contact in the Resistance, was told by the poet after the war in a small article, published in 2001.
Covering an area of 26 ha, the Jean-Perdrix Park is the largest in the city. It is located in Valence-Le-Haut between the Fontbarlettes and Plan districts. The park has many trees, including 400 cedars near an amphitheater- shaped natural space. This Valence park offers a fitness trail, children’s play areas, and a large body of water on which the two futuristic water towers are reflected. Built between 1969 and 1971 by the sculptor Greek Philolaus at the initiative of the urban architect André Gomis, the water tower is a sculpture-architecture labeled ” Heritage XX century »And consists of two twisted towers, the highest of which is 57 m high.
The Saint-Ruf park is the park of the former prefecture and is located in Old Valence, in the Saint-Jean district. This small 0.5 ha park offers a beautiful view of the Ardèche and the ruins of Crussol. It connects the historic center with the old town. It is on this hill particularly well exposed to the setting sun that the Free Municipality of Saint-Jean has planted its vineyard. At the entrance to the park is the portal of the abbey palace of the Saint-Ruf abbey. Located in the district of Valensolles, the Marcel-Paul park is a landscaped park of 3.7 hectares, traversed by a natural source channeled into a country stream. It has lawns accessible to visitors, games for children and a space for bowls. It is crossed by the Épervière.
Not far away is the Parc de l’Épervière. Besides its marina, this park includes a body of water of 32,000 m, protected by a dike 400 meters long. In its leisure and relaxation area, the park contains restaurants, a campsite, a hotel, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a billiard table, a bowling alley, walks, and offers river cruises. After several months of redevelopment of the park, it reopens to the public in 2016.
The public green spaces of Valence total 250 hectares (more than 10% of the area of the municipality). Listed below in descending order of area (in hectares), the main parks of the city are:
the Jean-Perdrix park (26 ha);
the Jouvet park (7 ha);
the Parc de l’Épervière (7 ha);
the Trinitaires park (4.3 ha);
the Polygone park (4 ha);
the Marcel-Paul Park (3.7 ha);
the Champ de Mars (3 ha);
the Benjamin-Delessert park (2.3 ha);
the Itchevan park (1.8 ha);
the Saint-Ruf park (0.5 ha).
Valence, city “4 flowers”
Since 2002, the city of Valence has been one of the 226 French municipalities that benefit from the “flower town” label with “4 flowers” awarded by the National Council of towns and villages in bloom in France to the competition of towns and villages in bloom. This distinction, submitted every three years for the appreciation of a national jury, rewards the quality of the work of the teams of the city’s green spaces service and ensures that the evaluation criteria are well respected.
The seeds and young plants are kept and maintained in the Valence municipal greenhouses until they are ready to flower and resist the vagaries of the weather. Each flowering campaign is the subject of upstream consultation work between the different teams of municipal gardeners in order to ensure harmony in the plantations throughout the city. The beds are renewed twice a year with seasonal plants: “annuals” in May (poppy, carnation, sunflower, cornflower, etc.), “biennials” in October (primrose, daisy, pansy, tulip, crocus…).