Villefranche De Rouergue
VILLEFRANCHE DE ROUERGUE, a town of France, chef-lieu of an arrondissement in the department of Aveyron, is situated 390 miles south of Paris by the railway to Toulouse, on the right bank of the Aveyron. One of the three bridges that cross the river belongs to the 13th century, and the narrow, winding streets are full of gabled houses of the 13th and 14th centuries. The church of Notre Dame (1260-1581) has a nave and two fine rose windows of the 14th and 15th centuries. The steeple is represented by an unfinished square tower (190 feet). In the interior the stone pulpit, the rich woodwork of the choir, and tapestry of the 16th century are worthy of notice. Some parts of the Carthusian monastery, now used as a hospital, belong to the 15th and 16th centuries. The little cloister is a masterpiece of the best period of Gothic ; the fine pulpit of the refectory and the Gothic architecture of some of the rooms have been preserved. Rich quarries of phosphates arc worked near Villefranche.
The population in 1881 was 8433 (commune 10,366), and in 1886 8092 (commune 9836).
Villefranche, founded about 1252, owes its name to the numerous immunities granted by Alphonse of Poitiers, count of Toulouse. In 1348 it was so flourishing that sumptuary laws were passed. The town fell into the hands of the Black Prince, but was the first place in Guienne to rise against the English. Charles V. granted it new privileges, which were taken away by Louis XI. In 1588 the inhabitants repulsed the League, and afterwards murdered a governor sent by Henry IV. The town was ravaged by the plague in 1463, 1558, and 1628. A revolt excited by the exactions of the intendants was cruelly repressed in 1643. Villefranehe was the birthplace of Marshal de Belle-Isle.
-VILLEFRANCHE-SUR -SAONE, a commercial and manufacturing town of France, chef-lieu of an arrondissement in the department of Rhone, is situated on the Morgon, near its junction with the Same, 18 miles by rail nearly north of Lyons. The chief industrial establishments are factories of coarse woven goods, cotton, fustian, " molletons," prints, and blankets, tan-yards, puddling-works, spinning-mills, distilleries, foundries, and a saw-mill. The wines of Beaujolais, hemp, cloth, linen, cottons, drapery goods, and cattle are the principal articles of trade. An old Renaissance house is used as the town-hall. The church of Notre Dame des Marais, begun at the end of the 14th and finished in the 16th century, has a tower and spire (rebuilt in 1862), standing to the right of the facade (15th century), in which are carved wooden doors. Villefranche is the seat of the primary normal school of the department. The population, 12,032 (commune 13,074) in 1881, was 12,157 (commune 12,518) in 1886.
The town grew up near a tower from which the lords of Beaujeu enforced their rights of toll on the Burgundy and Lyons road. The name arose out of privileges granted by Guiehard I. of Beaujeu, which were confirmed and extended by his successors. Under the dukes of Burgundy Villefranche was the capital of Beaujolais, and retained some of its privileges when united to France. Baron des Adrets sacked the town and demolished the ramparts in 1562. A well-known academy was founded here in 1695.