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Bollène (Municipality, Vaucluse, France)

Last modified: 2018-01-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: bollène |
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Flag of Bollène - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 26 Auguqt 2017

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Presentation of Bollène

The municipality of Bollène (13,900 inhabitants in 2015; 7,003 ha) is located 50 km north of Avignon and 25 km north of Orange.

Bollène was mentioned, as Abolena, in a donation granted in 971 by King of Arles Conrad I the Peaceful (937-993) to the Isle Barbe abbey, located north of Lyon. The donation included a Benedictine priory encompassing a church, three rural chapels and the depending land and buildings. Totally rebuilt, the St. Martin's church was consecrated in 1112/1119 by Guy of Burgundy, subsequently elected Pope as Callixtus II (1119-1124). Partially destroyed in the 13th century during the Albigensian Crusade, the church was rebuilt and increased in the 16th century. During the Wars of Religion, the Baron des Adrets (1512/1513-1587), a Huguenot warlord, ordered its demolition after having seized the town but was expelled by the Catholics. The priory was suppressed in 1727, the church being transformed into a collegiate church.
From the 13th century to the French Revolution, Bollène was part of Comtat Venaissin. Erected in the 11th century in Romanesque style, the Cardinal's house was probably used as a temporary residence by cardinals, and, maybe, popes. On his way back from the Council of Vienna, Pope Clement V (1305-1314 stopped at Bollène on 19 May 1312.
[Syndicat d'initiative de Bollène]

Clay extracted in Bollène - at least since the Roman times - has an unusually high content in aluminum oxide (more than 30%) and iron (6%), which makes it suitable for the production of refractory bricks. Already used in the 16 the century to build water pipes, the bricks of Bollène were soon exported to the Murano glass-works in Venice to build ovens. Industrialized in the 19th century, brick production boomed in Bollène in 1851-1861 and 1871-1900. The local bricks, which could withstand a temperature of 1200 C, were specifically used to coat the fire chambers of steam locomotives.
Brick industry declined in Bollène in the 1930s in the aftermath of the economical crisis. Moreover, the electrification of railways and technical progress in ceramics industry made the bricks of Bollène obsolete. In 1947, the Société Européenne des Briques Réfractaiares, controlled by Saint-Gobain, set up a factory in Le Pontet, near Avignon, producing ceramics that withstand a temperature of 1900 C.
[Le réfractaire de Bollène]

Bollène is the namesake of the snail Helicella bolenensis (Locard, 1882). IUCN lists the species as "data deficient", with the following profile.

This species is endemic to France where it has a very restricted distribution and is only found in Ardèche. It has been been introduced into Germany by a nature lover who transported them from France to Germany and established them there. It has also been introduced to Haute-Garonne in France.
In France, it is present in the lower part of the Rhône valley where it is rather rare and scattered. The current population trend is unknown. The number of collections has decreased in the last decades which could indicate a population decline but could have other reasons too.

Ivan Sache, 2 September 2017

Flag of Bollène

The flag of Bollène, as seen there in 2017, is white with municipal the coat of arms and the name of the town.

The arms of Bollène are "Azure a castle or ensigned by two keys or and argent in saltire". The shield is surmounted by a mural crown argent and a scroll argent inscribed "CONCORDIA TURRIS FORTISSIMA" in letter sable. The shield is surrounded by two branches of laurel and oak argent.
The castle may recall that Bollène was once a fortified town, surrounded by a wall defended by five gates. The St. Peter's keys recalls that Bollène was part of Comtat Venaissin. The Latin motto reads "Concord is the strongest tower".

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 2 September 2017

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