Last modified: 2010-12-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: gard | aigueze | lozenges: 8 (green) |
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Municipal flag of Aiguèze - Image by Ivan Sache, 12 February 2009
The municipality of Aiguèze (204 inhabitants in 1999; 2,003 ha) is located on a plateau dominating the gorges of Ardèche and the village of Saint-Martin, located on the other side of the river. While the two villages had formed a single municipality in the Ancient Regime, the Constituant Assembly, when setting up the first 83 departments, allocated Aiguèze to Gard and Saint-Martin to Sources de la Loire, shortly after renamed Ardèche. The suspended bridge crossing the river, inaugurated in 1905 and replacing a five-arch stone bridge built in 1895 and suppressed by the river in September 1900, crosses the border beetween the two departments and between Regions Languedoc and Rhône-Alpes.
Located on the border of the Duchy of Uzès and the County of Vivarais, Aiguèze was a strategic place, with its fortress (castrum de Ayguedinis) watching the river Ardèche. Around 1374, the King of France sold the fortress of Aiguèze to Pons de Biordon, head of the salt warehouse of Pont-Saint-Esprit, a small town located on the Rhône. Biordon was extremely rich thanks to the high tax on salt (gabelle), but, accordingly, one of the most hated lords in the region. In Spring 1382, a revolt broke out in Pont-Saint-Esprit when farmers refused to pay the gabelle; they sacked the warehouse so that Biordon had to move to the fortress of Aiguèze. In September 1382, the fortress was seized by a band of local rascals called "Tuchins", who were interested in grain, wine and weapons stored in the fortress. The seizure was quite peaceful since Guillaume Astier, keeper of the fortress on Bordion's behalf, betrayed his lord and the few guards welcomed the assaulters with wine flasks. The fortress became the headquarters of the Tuchins, who scoured the Duchy of Uzès. For 14 months, some 900 rascals refused to negociate their leave with the power and even seized other fortresses in the neighborhood. The local nobles set up an army commanded by lord Gaudonnet, which besieged the fortress of Aiguèze in December 1383. The Tuchins were slaughtered, as were several villagers accused to have supported them. There remained only nine families in the village in 1384; the fortress was dismantled and Aiguèze never recovered from the event.
The village square is watched by the bust of His Grace Frédéric Fuzet (1839-1915), appointed Archbishop of Rouen in 1899 and a main actor of the religious quarrel in the early 20th century in France. The archbishop cherished his mother's birth village and contributed to the revamping of the parish church, funding pseudo-medieval mural paintings, the spire and the bells.
In May-June 1967, Guy Blanc shot the movie Le mois le plus beau (The nicest month) in Aiguèze. Quite forgotten today, the film featured a few famous comedians such as Georges Géret, Michel Galabru, Yves Robert and Magali Noël (who played, a few years later, Gradisca, the unforgottable hair-dresser in Fellini's Amarcord).
Source: Aiguèze blog
Ivan Sache, 12 February 2009
The flag of Aiguèze, as hoisted over the ruins of the fortress, is square, vertically divided blue-white-blue with two columns of four green lozenges each filling the white stripe. Photos show the flag flying together with the flag of Tibet.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms, D'azur au pal losengé d'argent et de sinople ("Azure a pale lozengy argent and vert"). The quite uncommon use of a square banner of arms in a French village is easily explained: the flag was manufactured in Switzerland and offerred by Mr. Waceck, a Swiss inhabitant of Aiguèze.
Source: Aiguèze blog
Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 12 February 2009