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Gien

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Gien is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France.Gien is on the Loire River, 80km from Orléans. The town was bought for the royal property by Philip II of France. The town is twinned with Malmesbury in England.HistoryPrehistoryEvidence of prehistoric occupation of Gien has been discovered. Gien was probably a centre of trade between farmers and blacksmiths.AntiquityIn Roman times, there was a town located in the site of Gien. However, its name remains unknown.Middle AgesThe town of Gien-le-Vieux became a parish in the high Middle Ages when Saint Peregrine, bishop of Auxerre, founded the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. In 760, the army of Pepin the short stopped at Gien-le-Vieux before going to fight against Gascony and Aquitaine. In the eighth century, Charlemagne authorised the construction of a fortified mound around the site of the present castle.In the ninth and tenth centuries the decline of the Carolingian empire and Viking Raids led to a gradual abandonment of Gien-le-Vieux. The population mostly moved to the site of the current town of Gien which was easier to defend. However, the church of St. Peter and St. Paul survived until the seventeenth century.The French Wars of ReligionGien had a large Protestant community and like its neighbours, Châtillon-Coligny, Châtillon-sur-Loire and Orleans, it was a Protestant stronghold during the French wars of religion. During this period, the churches were looted and clergy hunted.
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