Vienne (Isere)

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Vienne coat of arms
Vienne (France)
region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Isère
Arrondissement Vienne
Canton Vienne-1 ( Chef-Lieu )
Vienne-2 ( Chef-Lieu )
Community association Vienne Condrieu
Coordinates 45 ° 32 '  N , 4 ° 52'  E Coordinates: 45 ° 32 '  N , 4 ° 52'  E
height 140-404 m
surface 22.65 km 2
Residents 29,306 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 1,294 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 38200
INSEE code

Aerial view of Vienne

Vienne (German outdated: Wien im Delfinat ) is a French city ​​in the Dauphiné region in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region . With 29,306 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017), Vienne is the second largest city in the Isère department after Grenoble . It is located on the left bank of the Rhone , 32 kilometers south of Lyon on the Paris – Marseille railway line . Vienne is a sub-prefecture of the Vienne arrondissement and the seat of the Pays Viennois municipal association .


Vienne lies on the Rhone and is surrounded by the following five mountains:

  • Mont Salomon, on which the castle ruins from the 13th century are located,
  • Mont Arnaud,
  • Mont Pipet on which the chapel Notre-Dame de Pipet is,
  • Mont Saint-Just,
  • Mont Sainte Blandine.

The city is divided into

  • Center-ville de Vienne
  • L'Isle ( the island )
  • Malissol
  • Estressin
  • Vallée de Gère
  • Pipet
  • Mont Salomon
  • Charlemagne
  • Saint-Marcel
  • Les Guillemottes
  • Saint-Benoît
  • Les Tupinières
  • Les Charmilles
  • Coupe-Jarret


The place was first settled in the Neolithic Age , traces were discovered on the Sainte-Hélène hill in the Estressin quarter. Archaeologists found swords and ceramics from the Bronze Age in the city area. Later, the Celtic Allobrogans immigrated from Hungary and made Vienne their capital. In 121 BC In BC Quintus Fabius Maximus defeated the allies Allobroger and Arverni near Vienne . As a result, Roman legionaries settled in the city. Under Emperor Caligula , Vienne became a Roman colony. The city known as Vienna flourished and became the second capital of southern Gaul during the Roman Empire . The emperors Julian and Valentinian II temporarily resided in it , who took his own life here in 392. According to legend, the name of the city comes from "Via Gehenna ", the way to hell . Numerous Roman buildings as well as the many mosaic floors in the ancient residential town on the other side of the Rhone (the Saint-Romain-en-Gal ) still bear witness to the wealth of Vienne .

In Vienne there were the first Christians around 100 AD . In the 3rd century the city became a bishopric . At the union of Lower and High Burgundy (see Kingdom of Burgundy ) in 951, the Burgundy King Konrad III. Vienne the capital of his empire. After the death of the last King of Burgundy, Rudolf III, who died childless . Vienne fell with the whole kingdom in 1032 on the basis of a treaty to the German King Konrad II and thus to the Holy Roman Empire . In the 12th century Vienne became the capital of the Dauphiné . In 1311/12 the council of Vienne took place in the village , at which, at the instigation of the French King Philip IV the Fair, the destruction of the Templar order , but also the confirmation of the feast of Corpus Christi , was decided. Archbishop Jean de Poitiers joined the French kingdom in 1450/51 .

In the 15th and 16th centuries Vienne experienced an economic boom, numerous houses were built in the half-timbered style of the time, and the cathedral was completed. During the Wars of Religion , the city was fought over and was frequently plundered. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was mainly Catholicism in the Dauphiné that was consolidated, and five archbishops successively determined the history of Vienne. The cathedral was renovated and the Jesuits founded a college. As a result of the French Revolution , the city lost its importance as an archdiocese, it became a sub-prefecture of the Isère department. In the first half of the 19th century, industry developed in and around Vienne: mining began and paper and textiles were produced. During and after the First World War , an Armenian community was established in the city by families who fled Turkey because of the genocide . There were also immigrants from Italy , Spain , Portugal and North Africa . During the Second World War , Vienne was partially occupied by the German Wehrmacht , which had blown up the bridge over the Rhône when they withdrew in 1944.

After 1945 the destruction was cleared up, a park from May 8, 1945 was laid out near the harbor , in which a monument commemorates the dead of the world wars.

The current economic development is aimed at strengthening tourism .

Development of the population

  • 1990-29,449
  • 1999 - 29,975
  • 2006 - 30.092


Roman buildings

Roman temple
Vienne Theater

In Vienne there are remains of Roman buildings, including the Temple of Augustus and Livia (Temple d'Auguste et de Livie) , the Roman theater , a double arch and a Cybele sanctuary.

The Temple of Augustus and Livia is a podium temple with a T-shaped cella , which is surrounded by an open portico . It was dedicated to Jupiter , Augustus and his wife Livia, who was posthumously deified under Emperor Claudius . The temple complex is one of the best preserved in the entire Roman Empire, thanks to the fact that it was used as a church in the Middle Ages. To the southeast of the temple is the Parc Archéologique with other remains of the former forum . Here the foundations of a Cybele sanctuary with associated priestly apartments and a small cult theater were exposed. The cult of the Cybele comes from Phrygia , where she was originally worshiped as the goddess of nature. The Romans saw in her a patron saint for important city foundations, which is why she enjoyed great popularity in the early imperial era. In the south-east corner of the forum are the remains of the once four-door double arch, which can be compared with the Janus Arch in Rome. He established an important link between the temple precinct and the market square.

The Roman theater is carved deep into the Pipet Hill and was probably built during the time of Augustus. With a diameter of 130 meters it was the largest Roman theater in Gaul. A total of 46 rows of spectators (nine more than the Orange Theater ) could accommodate 13,000 spectators. The theater was damaged during the Germanic migrations in the middle of the 3rd century AD and was misused as a quarry in the Middle Ages . At the beginning of the 20th century it was partially restored, the first open-air performances took place in 1938 and have been held regularly in the summer months since then. Parts of the lowest bench, which was intended for the celebrities, and fragments of the stage parapet with reliefs of various animal representations, the originals of which are made of marble in the Museum of Antiquities , are still preserved from the theater .

Sacred buildings

St-Maurice, facade

Construction of the Gothic Saint-Maurice Cathedral began in the 12th century and was not completed until the 16th century. After her patronage had changed several times in the beginning, she was consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1251 to St. Mauritius . The facade is richly decorated and is dominated by three portals. From the sculptural decoration destroyed during the French Revolution , only the archivolt figures are preserved. The center of the entrance facade is a huge flamboyant window . In terms of structure, the cathedral is a three-aisled basilica and has an interior 90 meters long. The first seven bays, counted from the choir, were built in the 12th century, the nave was extended to the west by a further four bays in the 14th century. In contrast to the usual cathedral buildings in northern France from this period, St-Maurice has neither a transept nor an ambulatory with a chapel wreath .

The Church of St. Pierre was mentioned as early as the 5th century and is one of the oldest Christian buildings in France. It still has its original appearance in the form of a simple box with a gable roof . The bell tower dates from the 12th century. The church houses the city's ancient museum, where, among other things, mosaics of Roman villas from the area around Vienne are exhibited.

The history of the monastery church of St.-André-le-Bas goes back to the 6th century. At that time there was a nunnery at this point, which was destroyed in the 8th century by invading Saracens . Boso von der Provence († 887) had the monastery rebuilt and headed it personally as rector . After being converted into a Benedictine monastery , the church was expanded in the 12th century and received a Romanesque cloister .


The Jazz à Vienne jazz festival has been held in the Roman theater between June and July every year since 1981. Internationally known musicians perform, including celebrities such as Ella Fitzgerald , Miles Davis , James Brown , Al Jarreau and George Benson .

Vienne and Pilate

The alleged tomb of Pontius Pilatus near Vienne, 1867. Graphic by Josef Resch

The city of Vienne is closely linked to the legend of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilatus . Banished here by Emperor Tiberius , he is said to have committed suicide there. Other variants of the legend tell that his body was only transported to Vienne and sunk in the Rhone after he had killed himself in Rome . Still other versions claim that Pilate was thrown into a pit on Mont Pilat, west of Vienne . Some legends also claim that he came from Vienne. Nicolas Chorier , a French historian of the 17th century, reports that the neighboring city of Lyon (Lugdunum) also claimed the Pilate stories for itself and was therefore in constant dispute with Vienne. Presumably all these legends result from a misunderstanding, because there is evidence that another governor of Judea , namely Archelaus , the son of Herod the Great , was actually exiled to Vienne and another Herod, namely Herod Antipas to Lyon.

The temple of Augustus and Livia on the city's former Roman forum is said to have been the courthouse ( le prétoire ) where Pilate sat in judgment during his exile. In front of the temple there was a stone ball on which the saying C'est la pomme (or: pommeau ) du scepter de Pilate is said to have stood. The tower in which Pilate was supposedly held prisoner was also shown to visitors in the past. In the south of the city you can still visit part of the old Circus Maximus , which is sometimes referred to as the tomb ( le mausolée de Pilate ) and sometimes as the house ( la maison de Pilate ) of Pilate. There are also many references to the procurator in the Vienne area. The name of the place Ponsas south of Vienne is said to be derived from Pontius and ancient sources report that there was even a whole place nearby that was called Maison de Pilate . Of course, the name of Mont Pilat is derived from Pilatus.

Town twinning

GermanyGermany Esslingen am Neckar , Germany
SpainSpain Albacete , Spain
ArmeniaArmenia Goris , Armenia
WalesFlag of Wales (1959 – present) .svg Neath Port Talbot , Wales
PolandPoland Petrikau , Poland
NetherlandsNetherlands Schiedam , Netherlands
ItalyItaly Udine , Italy
SloveniaSlovenia Velenje , Slovenia
PolandPoland Wroclaw , Poland

Economy and Infrastructure

Vienne is located in the Vin de Pays du Comté wine-growing region, Rhodania . The products are classified as Vin de Pays . Important branches of industry in the 21st century are the leather , machine , metal , pharmaceutical and textile industries .



  • 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 , pp. 63–68.

Web links

Commons : Vienne (Isère)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ François Giry: The lives of their saints, From which one can run through the year ... , German edition. 1730, p. 580.
  2. ^ Thorsten Droste: Provence. 2011, pp. 64-65.
  3. a b c Thorsten Droste: Provence. 2011, p. 64.
  4. ^ Thorsten Droste: Provence. 2011, pp. 66-67.
  5. ^ Thorsten Droste: Provence. 2011, p. 65.
  6. ^ Thorsten Droste: Provence. 2011, p. 66.