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Mende (Municipality, Lozère, France)

Last modified: 2019-01-07 by ivan sache
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Flag and banner of Mende - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 30 July 2002

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Presentation of Mende

The municipality of Mende (11,860 inhabitants in 2016; 3,656 ha) was in the Roman times, Mende was a vicus (domain) established on the right bank of river Lot. In the 3rd century, Saint Privat, the evangelist of Gévaudan, lived in a cave on Mount Mimat. After his martyre by local pagans, his grave (now in the crypt of the cathedral) became an important place of pilgrimage, and the town of Mende spread to the left bank of the Lot.
In the 13th century, the Notre-Dame bridge was built to link the two parts of the towns. The single-arched bridge has been succesfully resisting the Lot floods since its building.
Pope Urban V (Guillaume de Grimoard, 1310-1370) was born in the castle of Grizac in Lozère. He resided in Avignon and attempted an aborted return to Rome (1367-1370). However, he did not forget his fatherland and built the cathedral of Mende. In 1579, during the Religion Wars, the Protestant warlord Matthieu Merle seized the town during Christmas Eve. He blew up the pillars of the cathedral and broke the Non Pareille (Without Equivalent) bell, which was at that time the biggest bell of the Christian world (20 tons). The bell clapper (2.15 m) was preserved and placed in the cathedral beside the organ. Restored in the 17th century, the cathedral was a neogothic porch to the main entrance in 1900.

Ivan Sache, 30 July 2002

Flag of Mende

The flag of Mende, flown at the most important crossroads the town, is blue with the sun from the municipal coat of arms in the upper right corner and "Mende" written in white letters in the lower part of the flag. The sun is placed above the "d "of Mende. A swallow-tailed version of the flag is also hosted vertically in the town.

The coat of arms of Mende is "Azure an uncial letter M or surmounted by a sun of the same". The heart-shaped "M" and stands for "Mende". The sun refers to the town's Latin motto "Tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt", 'Darkness never invaded it". The motto was intended to mean that Protestant religion never entered the town and recalls that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mende was Count of Gévaudan and President of the States General of Gévaudan.

Ivan Sache, 30 July 2002