VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-SAONE, a manufacturing town of eastcentral France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Rh6ne, on the Morgon near its junction with the Sa&ne, 21 m. N. by W. of Lyons by rail. Pop (1006) 14,794. Among its industries the chief are the manufacture of working clothes, the manufacture, dyeing and finishing of cotton fabrics, the spinning of cotton thread, copper founding and the manufacture of machinery and agricultural implements. The wines of Beaujolais, hemp, cloth, linen, cottons, drapery goods and cattle are the principal articles of trade. An old Renaissance house is used as the town hall. The church of Notre-Dame des Marais, begun at the end of the 14th and finished in the 16th century, has a tower and spire (rebuilt in 1862), standing to the right of the facade (isth century), in which are carved wooden doors. Villefranche is the seat of a sub-prefect and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce and a communal college among its public institutions.
Founded in 1212 by Guichard IV. count of Beaujeu, Villefranche became in the 14th century capital of the Beaujolais. As a punishment for an act of violence towards the mayor's daughter, Edward II. was forced to surrender the Beaujolais to the duke of Bourbon.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)