Vianne Fortified Town

Vianne, France

Where the town of Vianne now lies already existed a village, Vilalonga, with a mill and a dam on the river Baïse. The village also had a church from the 12th century. When Aquitaine belonged to the crown of England, it was decided to fortify in 1248.

Started in 1284 and finished in 1287 Vianne is one of the most interesting bastides (fortified town) because of its formal plan and its well-preserved walls and gates. 

During the Hundred Years' War, the French retook Vianne from the English in 1337. It was then retaken in 1340 by the English who again surrendered it to the French in 1342. Again retaken by the English it changed hands several times over the next hundred years before it was finally relinquished to the French crown in 1442.

The original walls were first built approximately four to five blocks of limestone high continuously around the village before the next level of four blocks was added and so on to reach the optimum height of between six and eight metres. However following renovation work most of the walls are only between four and five metres high. In some places the maximum height of six to eight metre walls can still be seen.

Today most of the buildings in the village date from the 19th and 20th centuries although a few exist from the 17th and 18th. The outside walls were extensively restored in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the towers on the river Baïse side of the village has been removed and most of that wall replaced by houses. The towers originally were capped with wooden turrets and these have been replaced with stone. When the suspension bridge was built in the 1840s new entrances were made in the walls to allow for traffic through the village.



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D642 33, Vianne, France
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Founded: 1284
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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