1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Annonay (French pronunciation: [anɔnɛ]; Occitan: Anonai) is a French commune in the north of the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France. It is the most populous commune in the Ardèche department although it is not the capital which is the smaller town of Privas.
The commune consists of the city of Annonay and the hamlets of Vissenty, Chatinais, and Boucieu. With residential development, these four entities have merged into one today. Further away is the hamlet of Toissieu.
Annonay was built over several small hills at the confluence of the rivers Cance (Canse) and Deûme (Deôme). Annonay is a crossroads of trade routes: from the Rhône Valley to the region of Saint-Étienne (east-west) and from Lyon to south of the Massif Central (north-south). It is located 75 km (47 mi) south of Lyon, 13 km (8 mi) south-west of Saint-Rambert-d'Albon, and 13 km (8 mi) north-west of Saint-Vallier at the foot of the mountains of Vivarais just 6 km (4 mi) west of the river Rhône. Access to the commune is by the D121 from Davezieux in the north-east passing through the commune and the city and continuing to Villevocance in the south-west. There is also the D578 from the city to Quintenas in the south and the D206 to Saint-Marcel-les-Annonay in the north. There are also the D371 and the D370 in the east of the commune.
The geology consists mainly of grey or light orange leucogranite and orthogneiss rich in biotite, sillimanite and cordierite with alternating bands of felsic and mafic material. The escarpment of Annonay is surrounded by plateaux and gentle hills used for cultivating cherries, apricots, apples, pears, and other crops. A reservoir created by damming the Ternay River north-west of the town provides water for industrial and domestic use. The highest point of the town at 746 meters (2,448 ft) is located near a place called "Sagne Ronde"; the lowest point at 270 meters (890 ft) is the bed of the Cance near the ruins of the "Mill Baru". The Montmiandon overlooking the city, rises to 679 meters (2,228 ft) above sea level.
The origin of the name of the town has numerous hypotheses. One of these suggests that Annonay comes from Annoniacum meaning the domain of an "Annonius", a rich Roman who lived there. Another explanation is that Annonay came from the presence of a food store of the praefectus annonae. In any case, the site of the city has been occupied since antiquity. Roman coins and medals were found during the digging of the Rue Malleval in 1851.
The first written mention of Annonay dates from 403. A chronicle of archives in Vienne characterized the city as a small town "built by poor unclothed workers lost in the mountains of Haut-Vivarais".
A manuscript which has now disappeared, History of Annonay by P. Bartholomew Popon stated that Evance, Bishop of Vienne, had built on the site of Liberty Square a church dedicated to Saint-Mary or Our Lady in 584.
In the 13th and early 14th centuries the small town of Annonay was an important step on the road of pilgrimage to the Virgin of Puy-en-Velay. In witness to this hostelries for pilgrims, five monasteries including the Saint-Clair Convent, one Cordelier, and two priories one of which was the Chapel of Trachin.
The family de Roussillon dominated the region. One of its members, Guillaume de Roussillon, participated in the Crusades. From 1288 a charter was signed between the city and the Lord of Annonay. This granted some autonomy to the city: in particular the right to levy taxes.
In 1342 or 1347 Annonay suffered the Black Death which raged in Europe. A large part of the population was decimated. From 1365 two consuls were responsible for the city.
During the 15th century, Annonay affirmed itself as a commercial crossroads: exporting its wine, trading between the valley of the Rhône, the Dauphiné and the mountain by mule, the tannery developed using the waters of the Deume. The city, built on a rocky outcrop located between two rivers, was defended by the castle of Roussillon in the south and two fortified houses: in the north Maleton and in the west Du Peloux. A line of ramparts ringed all. The suburbs grew towards the Champ de Mars along the banks of the Cance and Deume. The relative prosperity however attracted thieves, highwaymen, and mercenaries. During the Hundred Years War the city strengthened its fortifications with watchtowers, such as the so-called Martyrs Tower. The walls were pierced by gates to control the entrance and exit to the city. There are written references to the Deume, Cance, and Champ entrances, to mention only the most important.
In 1487 the city had fourteen churches or chapels for about two thousand inhabitants. At the center of town was the parish Church of Notre Dame to which was attached a college of canons of the order of Saint-Ruf. Until the Wars of Religion clerics represented up to half of the population.
In 1524 Annonay was attached to the domain of the King of France in the wake of the revolt by the Constable of Bourbon: his property, which included Annonay, was confiscated. The country was then dominated by the Lévis-Ventadour, the Rohan-Soubises etc.
During this period Annonay had 3,500 inhabitants. The districts of Cance and Deume were neglected by the wealthy in favor of the Place Vielle (Old Square - now the Place de la Liberté or Liberty Square), Place Grenette, Rue des Forges (formerly Main Street and today Rue Franki Kramer).
Annonay adopted Protestantism before Geneva. From 1528 a Franciscan monk, Etienne Machopolis - who had heard Martin Luther preach in Saxony, spread the new ideas. In 1539 two merchants from Annonay were burned alive for spreading the ideas of Luther. It was the excesses of the clergy that pushed people into the arms of the Reformation. Moreover, in the region Protestants such as the Benay family had developed the culture of silkworms and protected the Italian artisans who came to develop the silk mills.
Annonay, when in the hands of Protestants, was taken for the first time in 1562 by the Catholic troops of Christophe of Saint-Chamond, Lord of Thorrenc and Andance. The city was retaken at the end of 1562 by the Protestants led by Jean de Saint-Romain, his own brother. Saint-Romain and his troops destroyed the Catholic places of worship in Annonay except for the Trachin Chapel which became a Protestant temple. On 10 January 1563 three thousand Catholics commanded by Saint-Chamond dislodged them from Annonay. The city was sacked in five days. The Edict of Amboise (March 1563) restored peace by giving Protestants freedom of worship in bailiwicks such as Annonay. To this misfortune was added another: plague broke out in 1564.
In 1568 the Protestants of Saint-Romain seized Annonay and slaughtered the college of Notre Dame. A few months later, in September, Catholics, under the command of Saint-Chamond, retook the city again. The troops of Saint-Romain reverted to the masters of Annonay on 17 July 1574. The houses of Cance and Bourgville districts were razed and the ramparts ruined, college and various Annonay chapels were completely destroyed except the Trachin Chapel. From 1574 the Protestant Lord Jean de Fay of Virieu was sent by Henry III to negotiate peace between Catholics and Protestants. A compromise was found in the castle of La Condamine: the Protestant lord was responsible for controlling the locations in the region which were disarmed. An edict of pacification was granted in 1577. The city then had a long period of peace but in the short term trade and industry were destroyed. The city, in ruins, had only 300 fires or about 1500 inhabitants. Religious orders were expelled. In 1583, 1584, and 1585, poor harvests caused inflation, food shortages, and famine. Plague wreaked havoc in Upper Vivarais.
With the signing of the Edict of Nantes the city regained prosperity. At the end of the 16th century thirty tanneries were located on the banks of the Deume and Cance, attracted by the quality of their waters and the prosperous farms nearby. The tanneries grew. There were 11 Tanners and 4 Dressers in 1590; there were 20 and 37 respectively in 1704.
Catholicism became the new majority in the capital of Upper Vivarais due to the massive influx of foreign population. Reconstruction of the Church of Notre Dame was undertaken with a constrained budget. Meanwhile, the Trachin Chapel, the only intact religious building, became the parish church. A Protestant church was built in the district of the Place Saint-Ursula. In September 1601 Annonay received a visit by the future Saint Francis de Sales and a little later from the future Saint John Francis Regis. The reconstruction of the city was characterized by the arrival of new religious communities and the creation of educational institutions such as the Convent of Santa Maria. A new hospital, joining the medieval structures of Notre-Dame La Belle and Notre-Dame de l’Aumône was created on 16 March 1686 at the Champ-de-Mars.
In 1685 the revocation of the Edict of Nantes affected Annonay. Protestants who were at that time 50% of the population had to choose between exile, abjuration, or to continue practicing their religion in secret. The Protestants were mostly artisans, manufacturers, wine-growers, and traders. A century later a census showed that there were only 7% Protestants mostly from the upper classes.
The paper industry was started in Annonay in the 17th century with the Montgolfiers, papermakers originating from Auvergne, installed at Vidalon-lès-Annonay (today a hamlet in the commune of Davézieux). The Johannot, another Auvergne family, had been settled in Faya since 1634. Attracted to the water quality, the driving force of the rivers, and the abundance of raw materials (rags), they imported technological innovations from Holland: e.g. the Dutch pile.
In the maze of streets and small squares of Annonay, there was progress with the commissioning in 1726 of four public fountains fed by captive water sources.
In 1780 industrial production was booming: 25,000 cow hides and 500,000 sheep skins were processed by the tanneries. Paper mills produced 300 tons of paper. This success did not go smoothly: the employment in great numbers of the best workers by Montgolfier caused a scarcity of labor and demands for wage increases. There was a strike for two months in the Vidalon Workshop in late 1781 after a long period of tension between the employer and his employees, the first lost the best of his workforce through his intransigent attitude at a time when fights between gavots and journeymen were common.
In 1781, the term Bailiage was changed to Sénéchaussée.
On 14 December 1782, thanks to Etienne and Joseph Montgolfier, the first balloon rose above Vidalon-lès-Annonay. It consisted of a large paper bag lined with cloth placed over a fire of wet straw and wool. It remained however a private experience: the first public official flight in a hot air balloon took place on 4 June 1783 at Annonay, or precisely from the Place des Cordeliers - in front of a chosen public: the Members of State particularly of Vivarais. Several other inventions are credited to Joseph Montgolfier: the hydraulic ram, the method of manufacture of Wove paper and filter paper, called joseph paper.
Annonay developed through trade. It benefited from an improved road network (even if it was as a result of the revolt of camisards). In 1787 Annonay had 130 merchants for about 7,000 inhabitants. Among them: 11 drapers, 11 clothoiers, 26 grocers, 3 goldsmiths, 26 shoe merchants, and 28 tailors. At the same time, the Catholic parish of the city was headed by a priest-archpriest, and vicars. The college of canons was composed of the prior and twelve canons. The monastery of the Poor Clares had twelve nuns and two lay sisters, the Convent of Santa Maria had thirty nuns and four lay sisters. Adding to this religious presence was the pastor of the Protestant community.
The French Revolution started down this organization. The region was characterized by a wave of dechristianization which caused a certain spirit of resistance among the Catholic and Protestant populations. The Terror made victims such as Pierre-François Dulau-Dallemand, the pastor of Saint-Julien-Vocance; Bartholomew Montblanc, Vicar at Givors hidden around Annonay, and the priests of Rouville, Bac-et-Guards, and former Jesuits. To them must be added the three Sisters of Saint-Joseph from the community of Vernosc-lès-Annonay.
The representatives of Annonay, while being very favorable to the new order, adopted a moderate attitude. This moderation was well illustrated by the personality of the lawyer Boissy d'Anglas, closely linked to the Girondins. André Joseph Abrial, a native of Annonay, became Minister of Justice and was an author of the Civil Code (Code Napoleon).
During the first half of the 19th century, the need for an industrial workforce for paper-making and leather at Annonay attracted population from the surrounding countryside. The number of inhabitants doubled from 5,550 in 1801 to 11,398 in 1846 (it would reach 18,445 inhabitants in 1866). The physiognomy of the city changed with the rapid development or opening of new shopping streets (Rues Sadi Carnot, Montgolfier, Boissy d'Anglas, Tournon, Melchior de Vogue). A new city hall was built in a developing area.
In 1822, the Congregation of St. Basil, a Catholic order of priests was founded in the town.
On 26 February 1848, the city workers violently showed their support for the revolutionary Parisians (during February 1848), including the stoning of houses belonging to notable people. The army maintained order.
With demographic pressure, the size of the existing infrastructure including the sole Catholic church did not allow proper welcoming of new residents to the faith. Two new churches were built: Saint-Francis and Saint-Joseph. Around the city, about a kilometer or two new town houses were built in the image of the Domain of Marc Seguin or Déomas Castle constituting a "sunbelt".
The tannery rode the industrial prosperity of Annonay. High-end gloves were made in Grenoble but the best skins came from Annonay. In 1870 the Annonay tannery processed 8 million skins and employed 50% of the workers in the city. Three thousand of them were working at the time in this industry.
Improving the road network and creating the first lines of railway put an end to Annonay's role as a commercial center for the mountainous hinterland. The latter was now in direct contact with Saint-Étienne. The east-west trade that were advantageous to Annonay were replaced by north-south trade particularly following the valley of the Rhône. From now on Annonay, although the hometown of Marc Seguin, would be connected to the railway network by a branch line.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 blocked exports: the stocks of the Annonay works were blocked for a time in Paris. This crisis began the decline of the tanneries in Annonay compounded by weak industrial investment. More than 2,000 employees were laid off to go and find work in other areas.
Barthélémy Baru Canson married the daughter of Étienne de Montgolfier. New processes of papermaking were established and production became specialized. The paper mill employed 1,500 people around 1875. Such activity requires a lot of water which was supplied by the Ternay reservoir from 1867. Its water was also distributed to residents through standpipes positioned in each district.
While modern community life was started with the creation of the first sports clubs such as Annonéenne, a company gym which still exists; the nascent local press reported on events such as celebrations marking the centenary of the first flight of a balloon. Annonay improved its main entrance by creating a new road connecting the PLM station to the center of town: the Boulevard of the Republic (1883-1888).
In the early 20th century, the city still retained its appearance after the Wars of religion except for the Station district. Construction works were mainly concentrated in the industrial valleys of Cance and Deume. The historic center saw the building of Annonay's first department store "Les Galeries Modernes" (currently Public Service offices) and reconstruction on another site of the historic church of Notre-Dame. At this time the magic of electricity came (1910). The telephone was known and used. The national news with the laws on religious congregations and the separation of church and state was a passion in Annonay and in its surroundings. There were expulsions of monks and nuns with the Querelle des inventaires particularly active during violent protests motivated by the fear of a return to the excesses of 1793-1794.
The First World War with its refugees, its wounded, its mutilated, and its dead (552 from Annonay) put an end to the protests.
The period between the two wars was marked by the presidential visit of Alexandre Millerand in 1923 on the occasion of the inauguration of the monument in honor of Marc Seguin and by the 150th anniversary of the first flight of the balloon (1933). The appearance of the city remained the same: dirty, dark streets, few new buildings like the "Vanaude" house. The "sunbelt" of castles contrast with the city center of slums and polluting industries. On the economic front mechanical industries grew: machines for the tannery of the Mercier brothers and especially for the manufacturing of buses. The old craft business of Jean-Joseph Besset became Renault then Irisbus, who manufacture its entire range of buses and coaches for France. These entrepreneurs invented the concept of the industrial zone. The descendants of the Montgolfier brothers, B. and E. de Canson invented tracing paper and photographic paper. Weaving experiencing strong growth.
During the Second World War Annonay was the site of the last battles of 1940. On 6 June 1944 the local resistance of the Secret Army were the first to liberate their own city. These facts earned the city the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 and a citation at the order of the nation.
When peace returned, industrial sectors developed in Annonay such as food processing and pharmaceutical production. Other industries declined following the marginalisation of the work of leather and textile after great social conflict. The face of the city changed. From 1949 near the Besset factory a new district was created from scratch on farmland. It contains large housing subdivisions, schools, sports facilities and shops. Catholics built their fourth church in the city. Urbanization moved towards Boulieu-lès-Annonay, Roiffieux, and especially Davézieux with its industrial and commercial area. In the center, renovation of the old town, reconstruction of the banks of the Deume and the hillsides of Cance are scheduled. From a city with black façades, slums, and industrial wastelands, Annonay has become a colorful city made of new or rehabilitated buildings. The Deume has been covered for more than one kilometer and a new axis conveys traffic: the Avenue de l'Europe.
The city bore the brunt of deindustrialisation. Economic jewels disappeared causing job losses (industrial weaving, manufacture, and paper production). At the same time new companies emerged bringing hope in the fields of food and cleaning equipment.
Although more discreet in a secular society religious life remains. The Catholic community created the parish of Sainte-Claire by merging the parishes of the city of Annonay, Roiffieux, Vocance, Villevocance, Vanosc, Saint-Julien-Vocance, Monestier, and the hamlet of Toissieu. The Protestant community is shared between the Evangelical Church and the United Protestant Church of France. The Muslim community built the House of the Orient, a building which includes the first mosque in Annonay.
On 8 March 2001, an ETA suspect was arrested at a local roadblock.
Associative and cultural life is rich. The people of Annonay celebrated the centennial of the opening of the new Church of Notre Dame (2012) and the establishment of the Joseph Besset factory (2013).
|The motto of Annonay is Cives et semper cives meaning "Citizens and always citizens"
List of Successive Mayors
|1942||1944||Pierre Lapize de Sallee|
|1944||1944||Jacques Meaudres de Sugny||PCF|
|1944||1950||Ferdinand Janvier||SFIO||Senior Executive|
|1953||1959||Daniel Aime||SFIO||College Director|
|1965||1971||Daniel Aime||SFIO||Former College Director|
|1977||1983||Jean Parizet||PS||Senior Executive|
|1983||1986||Régis Perbet||RPR||Director of Farm cooperative, MP 1980-1992|
|1986||1997||Claude Faure||RPR||Senior Executive|
|2001||2008||Gérard Weber||UMP||Physiotherapist, MP 2002-2007|
|2008||2020||Olivier Dussopt||PS||MP for Ardeche|
(Not all data is known)
In 2009 the commune had 16,923 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[a]
The population of the town is relatively old. The proportion of people above the age of 60 years (28%) is higher than the national rate (21.8%) and the county rate (26.8%). Like the national and departmental proportions, the female population of the commune is higher than the male population. The rate (54%) is higher by more than two points than the national rate (51.9%).
Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Annonay and Ardèche Department in 2009
|0 to 14 Years||18.0||14.8||18.7||16.9|
|15 to 29 Years||18.4||16.6||15.4||14.0|
|30 to 44 Years||19.5||16.3||19.9||18.9|
|45 to 59 Years||18.4||18.3||21.5||20.6|
|60 to 74 Years||14.9||17.1||16.1||16.4|
|75 to 89 Years||10.2||15.1||8.0||11.7|
Annonay has a strong industrial tradition, originally powered by the water flowing through the deep gorges around the town. In the 19th century, it was connected to the Paris-Lyon Railway and was famed for the best paper in France. It also produced glove leather and cotton, woolen, and silk goods. A modern dam was constructed across the Ternay, an affluent of the Deûme northwest of town, which expanded the power available to local factories. By the First World War, the leather industry had become predominant, while the economy expanded to include more raw silk, flour, chemical manures, glue, gelatine, brushes, chocolates, and candles. Although the leather industry has since declined, the Tannerie d'Annonay ("Annonay Tannery") continues the tradition under the Grison brand.
Other industries in or close to the town include plastics, textiles, and pharmaceutical companies including Ciba, Aguettant and Tetra Médical.
There are a number of vineyards near the town.
The average salary in the area is 23,300 euro.
The regional newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré is available in Annonay. It also hosts the headquarters of the weekly Le Reveil du Vivarais. Another weekly L'Hebdo de l'Ardèche also covers the territory. Since the early 2000s a free monthly made its appearance, L'Indispensable is distributed among traders in the Annonay basin. It informs readers about cultural events taking place around the region.
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