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Ardèche (Department, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: ardeche |
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Flag of Ardèche - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 16 February 2019

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Administrative data

Code: 07
Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Rhône-Alpes until 2014)
Traditional province: Languedoc
Bordering departments: Drôme, Gard, Isère, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lozère, Vaucluse

Area: 5,529 km2
Population (2016): 325,157 inhabitants

Préfecture: Privas
Sous-préfectures: Largentière, Tournon
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 17 cantons, 339 municipalities.

The department is named after river Ardèche (120 km), a tributary to the Rhône.

Ivan Sache, 11 April 2019

Flag of Ardèche

A blue flag with the main element of the logo adopted in 2015 in the center and the whole logo in smaller size below can be seen inside the Departmental Assembly (photo, photo, photo).

Olivier Touzeau, 16 February 2019

Banner of arms of Ardèche

[Flag]         [Flag]

Banner of arms of Ardèche, two versions - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 12 February 2020

The flags representing the departments of the former Region Rhône-Alpes were hoisted, together with the Region's flag, in front of the seat of the former Regional Council at Charbonnières-les-Bains, near Lyon (photo, 12 February 2006).
The department of Ardèche was represented by a banner of arms, "Azure 16 fleurs-de-lis or placed 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 a bordure or charged with eight escutcheons azure placed 3 + 2+ 3.

The flag was seen in early 2019 in Avignon, during the protests of Yellow Vests Movement with a different arrangement of the fleurs-de-lis, 5 + 4 + 5 instead of 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 (photo, 19 February 2019).

The coat of arms of Ardèche was assigned by Jacques Meurgey de Tupigny & Robert Louis in Marques symboliques des départements français as "Azure semy de fleur-de-lis or a bordure or eight inescutcheons azure"). The town of Aubenas has the same bordure on its arms, said to highlight the status of the town, one of the eight towns of Vivarais that appointed a Consul to the States of Vivarais.
The department of Ardèche, originally named "Sources de la Loire ou Pays du Vivarais" (26 February 1790) and renamed to "Ardèche" on 6 March 1790, has, more or less, the same limits as the traditional country of Vivarais.
Originally known as "pagus vivariensis" and named for its capital, Viviers, Vivarais was confiscated in the 13th century by the Bishop of Viviers from Count of Toulouse Raymond VI, who was excommunicated because his support to the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. Subsequently incorporated to the Kingdom of France, Vivarais was nominally part of the Province of Languedoc but kept its own States, presided by one of the Barons of Vivarais and ran by the Consuls and the Seneschal of Vivarais. The presiding Baron represented Vivarais at the States General of Languedoc.

Pascal Vagnat, Tomislav Todorović & Ivan Sache, 12 February 2020

Ardèche goat's flags

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Ardèche goat's flags - Images by Chèvres&Co, 15 March 2018

The Chèvres&Co company (website) sells two Ardèche flags:
- the Ardéchois flag (photo), white with a white map of the department outlined in black and charged with a black goat's head wearing a white eye-band and the name of the department written in black letters beneath the goat;
- the Tricolardéchois flag (photo), made of the French Tricolore charged in the center with the aforementioned emblem.

Chèvres&Co, located in Saint-Remèze, presents itself as "a fierce defender of Ardèche, of the Southern patois, of farmers... and of goats!". Most of the products sold by Chèvres&Co are designed by the strip comic artist Olivier Tichit (website), renown for his offbeat humor.
Tichit's goat's head is clearly inspired from the Corsican Moor's head.

Goat breeding is one of the main sources of income in Ardèche. As of late 2004, 31,000 goats (vs 85,175 in 1929) were bred in Ardèche; 97% of them were raised in 534 farms, mostly (60 %) located in Upper Vivarais.
[Agreste, March 2005]
The emblematic goat cheese from Ardèche is called picodon (website). A Decree issued on 25 August 2000 restricts the use of the name of picodon to cheese produced in the departments of Drôme, Ardèche, Gard (canton of Barjac) and Vaucluse (canton of Valréas). A small, round cheese, picodon was named for the Occitan word pichot, "small".

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2015