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Les Vans

Les Vans commune in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.GeographyThe village of Les Vans, the principal settlement of the canton of the same name in the south of the Ardèche, lies at the centre of a basin near the Chassezac river. Dominant to the south is the Serre de Barre, the last western summit of the Cévennes du Bas-Vivarais range. In 2001, Les Vans became the "gateway town" of the Monts d'Ardèche Natural Regional Park.The village is a tourist haven in summer; a traditional market is held every Saturday morning.A night-time craft market is held on summer Tuesdays at the Place de la Fontaine.Many activities are available in the vicinity of Les Vans: walking, climbing, caving, horse riding, canyoning, swimming, fishing and kayaking in the Chassezac gorges.HistoryLes Vans was a dependency of the Abbey of Saint-Gilles. The town became Protestant in the 16th century; in 1629 it returned to Catholicism, and its fortifications were dismantled.On the death of Professor Ollier (1900), who lived near the village church, a world-wide subscription paid for the erection of two monumental bronze statues, created by Boucher. One at Les Vans on Grande Place Ollier, the other at Place Ollier in Lyon. The Vanséens' cunning preserved the first from the covetousness of the Germans during the Second World War, though the second was melted down by the Wehrmacht in 1941.In 1972, the commune of Les Vans amalgamated with those of Brahic, Chassagnes and Naves.PopulationIts residents are called Vanséens.
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