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Privas

Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes  /  Ardeche  /  Privas
Privas is a commune of France, capital of the Ardèche department. It is the smallest administrative centre of any department in France. It is the fifth-largest commune in the Ardèche, behind Annonay, Aubenas, Guilherand-Granges, and Tournon-sur-Rhône. It was the location of the 1629 Siege of Privas. Today Privas is known for the purée made from the local chestnuts, and for its sweetened marron glacé.HistoryThe earliest traces of the commune are attested in the hamlet of Lac where recent archaeological excavations have revealed a Roman villa dating to the beginning of the Empire, as well as a medieval burying-ground. Moulds for counterfeiting coinage found in the 19th century on the slopes of Mont-Toulon had not been interpretable as signifying a local centre of population.Privas possibly comes from the old Gallic word briva meaning thoroughfare, or more specifically a wooden causeway over a ravine or water. This may refer to a river crossing now spanned by the Pont Louis XIII, just to the south of the town centre. Privas inhabitants are called Privadois.The earliest bourg of Privas developed around the church of Saint-Thomas (place de la République), a dependency of the Cluniac priory of Rompon. The château (castri) of Privas on the site of the present collège-couvent des Récollets is not attested prior to the 13th century, when the town was walled. Laid waste in 1621 and again following the siege of 1629, nothing of it remains.
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