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Valence coat of arms
Valence (France)
region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Drôme
Arrondissement Valence
Canton Valence-1 , Valence-2,
Valence-3 , Valence-4
Community association Valence Roman's agglo
Coordinates 44 ° 56 '  N , 4 ° 53'  E Coordinates: 44 ° 56 '  N , 4 ° 53'  E
height 106-191 m
surface 36.69 km 2
Residents 63,714 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 1,737 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 26000
INSEE code

Aerial view of Valence on the Rhône

Valence ( Occitan Valença ) is the capital of the French department of Drôme . The city lies on the left bank of the Rhone across from Guilherand-Granges in the Ardèche department and is an industrial center and transshipment point for agricultural products. The city is considered the northern gateway to Provence and has 63,714 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017).


Valence was the capital of the Celtic tribe of the Segallauner ( Segovellauni ) in ancient times under the name Valentia . It was probably since Caesar in the middle of the 1st century BC. A Roman colony in Narbonese Gaul , which was not only called Colonia Valentia (or Ventia ), but also Civitas Valentinorum . Little information is available on the city's history in Roman times. Inscriptions attest to the existence of cults for Cybele and Mercurius at that time . Christianity found its way here since the end of the second century. The city has been the seat of a bishop since the 4th century , who also ruled over the city in the following centuries.

Not far from Valentia in 407 Sarus , at the head of a Roman army, defeated Justinian , a general of Constantine III. After the battle he besieged Valentia in vain. In 413 the city fell under the rule of the Visigoths and in 507 under that of the Franks . With the Kingdom of Burgundy , Valence came to the Holy Roman Empire in 1032 . In 1157, Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa confirmed their independence to the city's bishops and guaranteed that they could continue to exercise suzerainty over Valence. The bishops were often in conflict with the inhabitants of Valence as well as the Counts of Valentinois , and in order to strengthen their position vis-à-vis the latter, in 1275 the Pope united their diocese with that of Die .

In 1396 Valence came to the Dauphiné , and in 1449 the bishops accepted the feudal sovereignty of the French king. In 1452 the Dauphin Louis, later King Ludwig XI. , a university in the city. King Franz I had the city fortified. Under Bishop Jean de Monluc (1553–79) Protestantism spread in Valence, which in 1563 became the capital of the province's Huguenots . The repeal of the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) dealt a severe blow to the economy, trade and the population. In the course of the French Revolution , the university was closed in 1792. Pope Pius VI died in 1799 . in Valence, who was imprisoned here. It was not until the end of the 20th century that a university was re-established in Valence.

Population development

year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2017
Residents 52,532 62,358 68,604 66,356 63,437 64,260 65,263 63.714

In 1793, Valence still had just under 7,000 inhabitants, until the beginning of the 20th century the population rose steadily to 30,000. There was a sharp increase in the period from 1930 to the mid-1970s, when the number of inhabitants more than doubled. It has fallen slightly since then.


Valence is an agricultural trading center for fruit and vegetables grown in the Rhone Valley. In the city there are among other things metallurgical, electrical, textile and food industries as well as the production of jewelry. Valence also has an industrial port on the Rhone.


Valence TGV station

Ten kilometers from the center is the modern Valence TGV tower station . The TER regional trains, which act as feeders on the upper level , cross the TGV high-speed trains on the Paris - ( Lyon ) - Marseille connection on the lower level . The French crime film "RIF-I'll find you!" From 2010 was also shot at the TGV station in Valence. Valence also has a train station in the city center, on the Paris – Marseille railway line . The central bus station is also located there.

Valence is located directly on the A7 motorway ( Autoroute du Soleil ). Via the A7, Valence is connected to the metropolitan areas of Lyon (around 100 km north) and Marseille (around 210 km south). Since the construction of the A7 in the 1960s, the old town has been cut off from the banks of the Rhône by the motorway. There are plans to relocate the A7 over a length of 1.5 km in a tunnel or at a lower level in order to restore access to the banks of the Rhône. However, this project will not be able to be carried out before 2025. According to initial studies, the cost is estimated to be 500 million euros , to be shared between the French state, the company that operates the Vinci Autoroutes motorway , the Drôme department and the city of Valence.

The Valence-Chabeuil Airport today has only a minor role.


  • The Romanesque cathedral Saint-Apollinaire , episcopal church of the diocese of Valence , goes back to a medieval predecessor building from the 11th century, which was consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II , suffered damage during the Huguenot Wars (1562-98) and the beginning of the 17th century collapsed. In 1604-09 the cathedral was restored and in 1861 the tower was renewed. The mixture of different stylistic epochs can still be seen on the faithful replica. The design of the nave with three naves of equal height suggests architects from the Poitevini region. The ambulatory with radially arranged chapels is typical of the Burgundian Romanesque, but the even number of four chapels (in Burgundy three or five are more common) is more likely to be found in auvignatic buildings from the 12th century. A tympanum with a representation of the Last Judgment on the south portal is still preserved from the medieval decor .
  • The small central building Le Pedentif in the Renaissance style, open on all sides, is located on the north side of the cathedral. It was commissioned by Canon Nicolas Mistral in 1548 and served as a burial place for the founder and his family .
  • The Maison des Têtes on Grande Rue has a remarkably decorated facade. The palace dates back to the 16th century. The name of the building is derived from four large head sculptures that represent personifications of the winds.
  • The bandstand Kiosque Peynet inspired the graphic artist Raymond Peynet to write many of his famous drawings of lovers.
  • Parc Jouvet
  • Parc Jean-Perdrix with two water towers and an amphitheater

Town twinning

The city maintains city partnerships to

The city is also a member of the Federation of European Napoleonic Cities .


  • Pope Pius VI died on August 29, 1799 as a prisoner in Valence

See also


  • Thorsten Droste: Provence: ancient arenas, Romanesque cloisters, cities with history - a journey through France's sunny province. 7th edition. Reiseverlag Dumont, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7701-3927-9 , p. 69.
  • From an Association of Catholic Scholars: Valence . In: Wilhelm Binder (Hrsg.): Allgemeine Realencyklopädie or Conversationslexikon for Catholic Germany, Volume 10 . Georg Joseph Manz, Regensburg 1849, p. 452 .

Web links

Commons : Valence (Drôme)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Marcel Le Glay: Valentia 2. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 5, Stuttgart 1975, Sp. 1092 f.
  2. a b c d Thorsten Droste: Provence , 2011, p. 69.
  3. a b c Valence , in: Brockhaus Enzyklopädie , 19th edition, 1986-94, Vol. 23, p. 36.
  4. Allgemeine Realencyklopädie or Conversationslexikon for Catholic Germany, ed. by Wilhelm Binder, 10th vol.Georg Joseph Manz, Regensburg 1849, p. 452.
  5. ^ A b Valence , in: Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon , 9th edition, 1971-79, Vol. 24, p. 324.
  6. ^ A b Valence , in: Encyclopædia Britannica , 11th edition, 1910-11, Vol. 27, p. 844.
  7. ^ Valence , in the Encyclopædia Britannica online.