Valence, Drôme

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Coordinates: 44°56′00″N 4°53′30″E / 44.9333333333°N 4.89166666667°E / 44.9333333333; 4.89166666667

Valence (Occitan: Valença) is a commune in south-eastern France, the capital of the department of Drôme, situated on the left bank of the Rhône, 65 miles (105 km) south of Lyons on the railway to Marseilles. Its inhabitants are called Valentinois or the Valentinoises. Valence was a part of the French Towns and Lands of Art and History and the city received four flowers in the Concours des villes et villages fleuris.

Formerly the duchy of Valentinois, it was ruled by the Duke of Valentinois, a title which is still claimed by the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, though he has no actual administrative control over the area.

Valence lies at the northernmost band of olive cultivation: the local saying à Valence le Midi commence, "at Valence the Midi begins" pays tribute to the city's southern culture.



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[1]. 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.

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