A few years backed I visited some family outside of Valence, France. For anyone who is looking to get away from the banks of the Rhône countryside, Valence is a great choice. It sits about 100 km south of Lyon. It’s a short drive from any outlining towns in the Drôme region.
It has a large shopping district and architecture to be marveled at. A particularly good example is The Cathedral of St. Apollinaris, which has an interesting apse and was rebuilt in the 11th century. It also contains a library and museum featuring Roman antiquities, sculptures, and a picture gallery .
History of Valence
The word “valence” comes from Latin valentia, meaning “strength, capacity”. Known in Roman times as Valentia Julia, the city had been the capital of the Segalauni, and the seat of a celebrated school prior to the Roman conquest. It became a colony under Augustus, and was an important town of Viennensis Prima under Valentinian I. It was the seat of a bishopric perhaps as early as the 4th century.
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 usurper Jovinus 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, which became part of their kingdom until 534. 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. These bishops were often in conflict with the citizens and the counts of Valentinois and to strengthen their hands against the latter the pope in 1275 united their bishopric with that of Die.
The citizens put themselves under the protection of the dauphin, and in 1456 had their rights and privileges confirmed by Louis XI and put on an equal footing with those of the rest of Dauphiné, the bishops consenting to recognize the suzerainty of the dauphin. In the 16th century Valence became the center of Protestantism for the province in 1563. The town was fortified by King Francis I. It became the seat of a celebrated university in the middle of the 15th century; but the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 struck a fatal blow at its industry, commerce and population.
Complied by: Josh Martin