The church in Airvault
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Jacky Prinçay|
|Area1||49.28 km2 (19.03 sq mi)|
|• Density||65/km2 (170/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||79005 / 79600|
|Elevation||67–140 m (220–459 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The inhabitants of Airvault are the Airvaudais and the Airvaudaises.
A Romanesque bridge over the Thouet leads into the town. The Saint Pierre church in the center of town was built circa 975 AD by Aldéarde, the wife of viscount Herbert I of Thouars. Rebuilt in the 11th and 12th centuries, the church was used as a stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. An underground fountain is located under the square in front of the church. One block from the church is the abbey which houses a museum of traditional arts and crafts. In the vicinity of the church, timber-framed houses border narrow medieval streets. The Castle of Airvault overlooks the church.
François-Marie Arouet might have chosen his pen name, Voltaire, by inverting the syllables of the word “Airvault.” Although this is largely unsubstantiated, one of Voltaire’s parents allegedly owned property in the area.
- Wade, Ida Owen. Voltaire's Name. PMLA, Vol. 44, No. 2. (Jun., 1929), pp. 546-564.
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