MOULINS, a town of central France, capital of the department of Allier, 121 m. by rail N.W. of Lyons. Pop. (1906), 18,997. The town is situated on the right bank of the Allier, which is here crossed by a remarkable bridge of the 18th century about looo ft. in length. Moulins did not attain any importance till the 14th century, before which it consisted chiefly of some mills belonging to the dukes of Bourbon. The medieval town occupied a small area, the boundaries of which are marked on the N.E. and S. by the central boulevards occupying the site of the old moats. The modern town, expanding from this nucleus, is limited on the east and south by the railway, the southern portion being traversed by agreeable promenades. To the north is the spacious avenue known as the Cours de Bercy, close by the hospital and the lycee. The more interesting buildings lie within the old enceinte. The chief of these is the cathedral, which consists of a huge choir of the isth and 16th centuries, and a nave in the early Gothic style but modern in construction and terminated by two towers with stone spires rising to a height of 312 ft. The church possesses a fine triptych attributed to Domenico Ghirlandajo (d. 1494), and fine windows of the isth and 16th centuries. Among the oldest buildings in the town are the square tower of the 14th century (used as a prison) which is the chief relic of the chateau of the dukes of Bourbon, and a belfry of the i sth century. Part of an old Jesuit college serves as the court-house, which contains an archaeological museum. The library, which possesses a valuable Bible of ii 15, is part of the h6tel-de-ville. Numerous mansions of the 15th and 16th centuries border the streets of the MOULMEIN MOUND-BUILDERS old quarter of the town. There is a statue of the poet Theodore de Banville, born at Moulins in 1823. The town is the seat of a prefect, a bishop, and a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and commerce, and a branch of the Bank of France. Yzeure, i j m. E. of Moulins, has an interesting Romanesque church (i2th" century); 7^ m. W.S.W. of Moulins is Souvigny, formerly famous for its Cluniac priory. Its church, a fine building of the nth and 12th centuries, restored in the 1Sth century, contains the splendid tombs of Louis II. and Charles I., dukes of Bourbon in the isth century, and other tombs of the Bourbon family, now in ruins.
Moulins became the residence of the dukes of Bourbon about the middle of the 14th century, and capital of the duchy towards the end of the 15th century. In 1566, under Charles IX., an important assembly of notables was held in the town, at which the judicial system of France was reorganized.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)