VALENCE, a town of south-eastern France, capital of the department of Dr6me, situated on the left bank of the Rhone, 65 m. S. of Lyons on the railway to Marseilles. Pop. (1906), town, 22,950; commune, 28,112. The river is here crossed by a fine suspension bridge. The cathedral of St Apollinaris, which has an interesting apse, was rebuilt in the 11th century in the Romanesque style of Auvergne and consecrated in 1095 by Urban II. It was greatly injured in the wars of religion, but restored in the first decade of the 17th century. The porch and the stone tower above it were rebuilt in 1861. The church contains the monument of Pius VI., who died at Valence in 1799. A curious house (Maison des Tetes) of the 16th century has a sculptured front with heads of Homer, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, etc. The Maison Dupre-Latour with a beautifully carved doorway and the sepulchral monument known as the Pendentif date from the same century. The library and the museum containing Roman antiquities, sculptures and a picture gallery, are housed in the old ecclesiastical seminary. The most notable of the monuments erected by Valence to its natives are those to Emile Augier the dramatist by the duchess of Uzes (1897) and to General Championnet (1762-1800).
Valence is the seat of a bishop, a prefect and a court of assizes, and has a tribunal of first instance, a board of trade arbitration, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, training colleges for both sexes, and a communal college. Among the industries are flour-milling, cooperage and the manufacture of furniture, liquorice, whitewash, and tapioca and similar foods. Trade, in which the port on the Rhone shares, is in fruit, cattle and live-stock, wine, early vegetables and farm produce, etc.
Valentia was the capital of the Segalauni, and the seat of a celebrated school prior to the Roman conquest, a colony under Augustus, and an important town of Viennensis Prima under Valentinian. Its bishopric dates probably from the 4th century. It was ravaged by the Alani and other barbarians, and fell successively under the power of the Burgundians, the Franks, the sovereigns of Aries, the emperors of Germany, the dukes of Valentinois, the counts of Toulouse, and its own bishops. The bishops were often in conflict with the citizens and the dukes of Valentinois, and to strengthen their hands against the latter the pope in 1275 united their bishopric with that of Die. The citizens put themselves under the protection of the dauphin, and in 1456 had their rights and privileges confirmed by Louis XI. and put on an equal footing with those of the rest of [Dauphine, the bishops consenting to recognize the suzerainty of the dauphin. In the 16th century Protestantism spread freely under Bishop Jean de Montluc, and Valence became the capital of the Protestants of the province in 1563. The town was fortified by Francis I. It had become the seat of a celebrated university in the middle of the 15th century; but the revocation of the edict of Nantes struck a fatal blow at its industry, commerce and population.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)