Villers-Cotterêts


Villers-Cotterêts

French commune
nomcommune=Villers-Cotterêts
région=Picardie
département=Aisne
arrondissement=Soissons
canton= Villers-Cotterêts
insee=02810
cp=02600
maire=Renaud Belliere
mandat=2001-2008
intercomm=Villers-Cotterêts–Forêt de Retz
longitude=3.090591
latitude=49.259963
alt moy=120 m
alt mini=65
alt maxi=226 m
hectares=4171
km²=41.71
sans=10,106
date-sans=2005
dens=242|

Villers-Cotterêts is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardie in northern France. The inhabitants are called "Cottereziens".

Geography

It is located 80 km NE of Paris via the RN2 facing Laon. Its nickname "Petite villa sur la côte de Retz" means "Little villa by the coast of Retz", as the town is situated next to the Retz forest which covers 130 km² of land.

History

Villers-Cotterêts is famous because of the "Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts" 1539 signed by king Francis I of France ('François Ier') which made French the official language in the kingdom instead of Latin.

It was the birthplace of Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870), novelist.

The town was the start of Stage 4 in the 2007 Tour de France.

The local château, known as Château de Noüe was built in the 16th century for Francis I and later got 18th century régence decoration by Gilles-Marie Oppenord. The original château was built around 950 AD and was burnt to the ground twice before being rebuilt out of stone in the early 1100's. The front entrance is the only original remaining structure, which is listed with the Historic Monument Registry at the Beaux Arts. The château was purchased from the de Noüe family by Francis I to house his mistress Anne de Pissleux. The current owner is the Pepinieres du Valois, an agricultural venture.

ources and external links

* [http://tourisme.cc-villers-cotterets.fr Tourist office website] (in French)
* [http://cfranquelin.free.fr/shrvc/ Historic society of Villers-Cotterêts] (in French)
* The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11261a.htm Gilles-Marie Oppenordt]


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Look at other dictionaries:

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