10 largest cities in France




Vendôme is a French commune, sub-prefecture of the department of Loir-et-Cher in the Center-Val de Loire region. It is also the third largest city in the department behind Blois and Romorantin-Lanthenay.

It is located between the natural regions of Perche in the north and Petite Beauce in the south, at the foot of the Loir. At the entrance to the city, the river splits and crosses it into several smaller streams. The Vendôme forest happens to be one of the southern remains with the Fréteval forest and a few woods dotted with the immense forest that made up the original Perche, the Sylva Pertica.

The city has a rich medieval history and many historical monuments.

Its inhabitants are called the Vendômois.



Vendôme castle

Hôtel de Ville (Former high school Ronsard) - Monument classified or listed as historical monuments in France Former high school Ronsard, Honoré de Balzac was a student there for seven years.

Abbey of the Trinity
The Abbey of the Trinity of Vendôme was founded in 1033 by Geoffroy Ier Martel, count of Vendôme1. Legend has it that the Count of Vendôme saw three stars fall into a well, seeing there a divine sign, Geoffroy Martel decided to erect an abbey on this site.

Very quickly prosperous, the abbey is frequently in conflict with the Counts of Vendôme about their respective rights, conflict where they often had the upper hand.

It experienced a restoration campaign thanks to Émile Boeswillwald.

This abbey is subject to protection as historical monuments: a classification by the 1840 list concerning the Church of the Trinity, an inscription in 1948 concerning the remains of the Saint-Loup chapel and a classification in 1949 concerning the facades and the roofs of the buildings of the old abbey, the chapter house and the courtyard of the cloister.

Saint-Georges gate
2 rue Poterie, 41100 Vendôme
The Porte Saint-Georges is a Vendôme gate, built between the 14th and 16th centuries to the south of the city. Along with three other gates and a series of walls, it formed the fortified wall of the city, it is the only one of the four gates of the time still in existence today.



In prehistoric times, the Loir, divided into several branches, favors human settlement, soon followed by a troglodyte habitat dug into the hillside on the left bank. Under the Roman Empire, the region was evangelized by Martin de Tours in the fifth century.

Located in the hollow of the Loir valley, Vendôme was the capital of the county of Vendôme, whose existence is attested from the ninth century, and which will become a duchy in the sixteenth century, then election in the eighteenth century. From the end of the fourteenth century, the county of Vendôme, then the duchy until the accession of Henri IV to the throne, belonged to a branch of the royal family: the Bourbon-Vendôme. In 1790, the city became a simple arrondissement and sub-prefecture of Loir-et-Cher, under the supervision of Blois. From the nineteenth century, the district of Vendôme will be regarded, under the influence of local scholarship and soon the promotion of tourism in the Loir valley, as a traditional country: the Vendômois, really valued by the river du Loir which crosses it, gives it its charm and its region of Perche, diverse and green.

Vendôme had four parishes: two intramural parishes (Saint-Martin and La Madeleine) and two extra-muros parishes (Saint-Bié or Bienheuré and Saint-Lubin). The Collegiate Church of Saint-Georges was considered a parish for the inhabitants of the castle where it was established. On March 5, 1791, the parish of La Trinité was formed by the reunion of those of Saint-Bié and Saint-Lubin, then the decree of May 19, 1791 removed the parishes that had existed and made the parish of La Trinité the church parish church.

From the founding of the Trinity to the Franco-English struggles
On the southern rocky promontory is the original keep of the Château de Vendôme. It probably succeeded in the eleventh century to a Roman castrum, itself preceded by a Gallic oppidum. The Abbey of the Trinity, founded in 1032, and the early church of Saint-Martin have concentrated around them a first group of dwellings.

In 1032, the accession of Geoffroy Martel, son of Foulque Nerra, Count of Anjou, marked the beginning of Angevin political influence on the county of Vendôme. During the second half of the 12th century, the city passed in turn into the hands of Henri II Plantagenêt and Philippe Auguste. In 1161, the city suffered a siege.

In 1188, Bouchard IV of Vendôme delivered the city, the castle and the English garrison to Philippe Auguste from the first assault. In August of the same year, Richard Cœur de Lion took over Vendôme. In 1194, the King of France returned to invade the city again and besiege the castle, but he had to lift the siege before Richard's arrival. The clash between the two armies took place on July 5, 1194 in Fréteval and Philippe Auguste, defeated, fled, abandoning his archives in the battle.

From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, the Bourbon-Vendôme family
In 1371, after the death of Count Bouchard VII and his daughter Jeanne de Vendôme, Catherine de Vendôme, their sister and aunt, inherited the county of Vendôme. His marriage to Jean VII Comte de Vendôme gave birth to the House of Bourbon-Vendôme. In 1458, his grandson John VIII, the king's support, welcomed Charles VII and had a "bed of justice" drawn up. The Duke of Alençon Jean II de Valois was condemned there for collusion with the English.

Vendôme becomes a duchy in 1515 and the dukes and duchesses participate in the transformation of the city. Countess Marie de Luxembourg (1462-1546) oversaw the embellishment of the Saint-Jacques chapel, the Saint-Georges gate, the castle collegiate church and the reconstruction of the Saint-Martin church. In 1623, César de Bourbon founded the college of the Oratorians which later became the Lycée Ronsard, and part of whose buildings house the town hall and the current tourist office.

Vendôme knows the tensions of the wars of religion during the sixteenth century. On October 20, 1548, Jeanne d'Albret (1528-1572), who became Protestant in 1560, married Antoine de Bourbon (1518-1562), second duke of Vendôme. Together, they have for son the future Henri IV. New communities are settling in particular in the Chartres suburb. In 1562, the Huguenots desecrated and looted the Saint-Georges collegiate church. Henri IV must make the siege of the castle and the city then in the hands of the Catholic leaguers in November 1589. He will try to take back the city after a violent Catholic reaction. The city is sacked, the tanneries destroyed. The counter-reform prevailed in 1593 with the King's abjuration of his Protestant faith, in order to end the wars of religion and reconcile the French.


Poorly maintained, battered by the floods of the Loir, the fortifications lose their defensive interest and the city expands. To the south, the castle opens with a new main entrance gate (Porte de Beauce) and the construction of a ramp connecting it directly to the city. Several religious congregations set up their enclosures in the center (Oratorians) and along the northern suburb (Capuchins, Ursulines, Calvairiennes).

During the Revolution and the 19th century
Located more than 170 km from Paris, a distance deemed necessary for the serenity of a court during the revolutionary period, Vendôme received, from February to May 1797, the High Court of Justice for the trial of Gracchus Babeuf, Augustin Darthé and their supporters. . Finally, the heated debates which animated, for more than seven months, the hearings lead to the execution of the two main defendants and to the deportation of most of their sympathizers.

In 1818, the sub-prefect Armand Bonnin of La Bonninière de Beaumont acquired the old castle of Bourbon-Vendôme, sacked during the Revolution, and offered it to the town in order to develop the current park.

In 1873, the 20th regiment of hunters on horseback was reborn in Rambouillet before being transferred to Vendôme at the beginning of the 20th century where it would hold a garrison in the Rochambeau district, occupying the buildings of the former Benedictine abbey. He was not engaged in war operations until 1914 and his participation in the First World War. The regiment was dissolved in 1919.

Three new bridges and the rue de l'Abbaye were thus established to link this new Rochambeau district, which occupies nearly a quarter of the area of ​​the historic center. From 1858 to 1896, the streets were gradually aligned. The decision to destroy the Saint-Martin church, which was partly ruined in 1857, gave the heart of Vendôme a place, while the suburbs still gave pride of place to small market gardens. The railway line built from 1864 to 1867 marks, at the time, the northern limit of the urbanization of Vendôme.

It was during this period that the local press developed. A first weekly, the Journal du Haut et Bas-Vendômois et pays de Mondoubleau, appeared on Friday in 1790. It was then replaced by the Weekly Journal from 1830. In 1840, Le Loir was born, which was then replaced by Le Carillon. Le Progrès established itself as a left-wing newspaper and was directed from 1932 by Besnard-Ferron. The Carillon actively supported the collaboration and was banned in 1944, La Nouvelle République succeeded it.

The Second World War
On June 15, 1940, the Luftwaffe bombers dropped their bombs on Vendôme, a heavy human toll with more than 89 dead and 200 wounded marks this violent event which precedes the entry of the Wehrmacht into the city. The physiognomy of the historic center is changed, around four hectares in the city are destroyed by the bombardment and the two-day fire that followed. The court, the governor's house and many half-timbered houses were destroyed.

From 1941, resistance was organized in Vendômois. The first known network is the “Vendôme A” Group created by Alphonse Collin then mayor of the city, who managed it until the end of 1943. He was close to Jean Emond who led Liberation-Nord in the area until his arrest on the 28th. November 1943. The repression was as important as the commitment of the Vendôme residents to the resistance, as evidenced by the roundup of February 20, 1944 which followed the “affair of the American aviators”. Many resistance fighters were deported to the concentration camps and lost their lives, such as Jean Emond, Yvonne Chollet, Marie-Louise Gaspard and Lucienne Proux. Other resistance groups existed, such as the one led by Alfred Péricat, a communist activist, who became a branch of the Vendôme FTP.

On August 11, 1944, the city was largely liberated by the Vendôme resistance fighters led by Commander Verrier and Colonel Valin de La Vaissière. The local FFI and FTP seized the sub-prefecture as well as the Kommandantur, located in the Rochambeau district. The Americans entered Vendôme on August 13, 1944 with the mission of neutralizing the last Germans present in the city. The scenes of liesses were numerous between Vendômois and American soldiers, in particular rue du Mail Leclerc with the arrival of the first Jeeps, as well as Place de la République where children got on an M8 armored vehicle of the US army.

From the post-war period to today

Almost a quarter of the city center of Vendôme, destroyed by German bombing, must be rebuilt after World War II. The strong demand for housing which characterized post-war France was satisfied in Vendôme by the development of housing on vast agricultural plains to the north, between the railway line and the hillside. From 1959 to 1966, the Rottes will total 1,442 collective housing and 477 individual housing on 83 hectares. Large arteries were pierced to manage traffic flows: Avenue Gérard Yvon in 1967, Boulevard Kennedy from 1978 to 1980 and the deviation from Route Nationale 10 in 1976.

Since the years 1980-1990, the development of the city continues by crossing the southern slope which was once a natural barrier. Urbanization operations were then carried out in the south, in the Aigremonts district. They balance the distribution of population and activities in the town which has a total of 18,500 inhabitants, at the heart of a living area of ​​more than 30,000 inhabitants.

The development of a TGV station in 1990, at Place Vendôme, 42 minutes from Paris, was accompanied by a major change in the economic fabric.