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Nevers

 

Nevers is a commune in central France, located in the Nièvre department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. It has 32,990 inhabitants, its agglomeration 65,547 inhabitants (2017 census) and its urban area 98,102 inhabitants.

Nevers is the capital of the department of Nièvre and the fifth largest city in Burgundy, after Dijon, Châlon-sur-Saône, Auxerre and Mâcon.

Capital of the province of Nivernais under the Ancien Régime, it was designated as the prefecture of the department of Nièvre during the territorial reorganization of 1790. Its inhabitants were called “Nivernais et Nivernaises”, according to Larousse.

With a remarkable historical heritage, an important medieval heritage (Saint-Étienne church, Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte cathedral), Renaissance (ducal palace) or contemporary (Sainte-Bernadette church in Banlay), the town is affiliated to the national network of towns of art and history.

 

History

Antiquity
It is not certain that the stronghold Noviodunum Aeduorum cited by Caesar, stronghold of the Aedui, was Nevers. Neuvy-sur-Loire is often cited on this subject, 80 km away, also in the Nièvre. We also speak of Nevirnum or even of Nebernum. The name comes from that of the Nièvre river (Nivara, Nevara).

Nevertheless, we note the presence of Gallo-Roman remains under the ducal palace.

This city was evangelized in the third century, then became the seat of the bishopric in the sixth century.

Middle Ages
Capital of the hereditary county of Nevers in 992, the city was strengthened under the influence of Pierre II de Courtenay in 1194. The city belonged successively to the families of Courtenay, Bourbon, to the houses of Flanders, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Cleves and Gonzaga. The Abbey of Saint-Martin d'Autun, in 1347 had a few walls and places of houses in the rue de la Parcheminerie, which it leased.

The city was then fortified, an important part of the ramparts still remains, including the Porte du Croux, a fine example of military architecture intended to assert urban power. It brings together the concept of a gate tower placed in front of the wall in order to better defend it and the symbol of the master tower rising up against the intruder and controlling visitors. In addition to traditional features such as corner watchtowers and machicolations, it includes more modern innovations such as the separation of pedestrian and cart access as well as a drawbridge with spire. To cope with the progress of artillery, the Porte du Croux has a front door offset from the main door.

Modern era
The county was transformed into a duchy in 1538 and bought by Jules Mazarin for his nephew Philippe Mancini in 1659.

In anticipation of the Estates General of 1789, Me Larenne - parish priest of Saint-Martin de Nevers - was elected deputy of the clergy.

Contemporary period
During the Second World War in July 1940 Nevers moved into the occupied zone. A major Allied bombardment of Nevers took place on July 16, 1944, killing 161 and partially destroying the Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte cathedral. The Germans finally left the city on September 7, 1944.

In the 1970s, during the post-war boom, Nevers was at the height of its economic development.

In 1983, the socialist Pierre Bérégovoy was elected mayor. During his mandate, major projects were launched (motorway interchanges, shopping centers), the city also benefiting from its national influence.

After his death in 1993, it experienced a gradual decline. Poorly served (motorway dead end and no TGV connection), it is affected by a decline and an aging of its population, a fall in prices per square meter, housing becoming unsanitary and the closure of many shops, as in some number of medium-sized towns in France. At the start of the 21st century, initiatives were launched to try to halt this decline, for example the government project Action coeur de ville in 2018.