|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (December 2008)|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Philippe Chevrier|
|• Land1||23.33 km2 (9.01 sq mi)|
|• Population2 Density||49/km2 (130/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||11022 / 11700|
|Elevation||39–120 m (128–390 ft)
(avg. 84 m or 276 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.
Azille contains vestiges of past civilisations from prehistory until today including cremations from the iron age many of which are preserved in the museum of Olonzac. Recently a necropolis of the visigoths has been discovered at the edge of the village. In the Middle Ages, Azille was one of the important villages of the Archidiocese of Narbonne. In the fourteenth century, the village supported the church of Saint Julien, part of the chapter of Saint Just of Narbonne, and two convents, the Cordeliers and the Royal Abbey of Sainte Claire. In addition to these religious roles, the village had two parishes, St Julien et St André. The parish of Saint-André is known today only from ruins and the name of a quarter in the town.
St Julien fought in the siege of the archibishop of Minervois. In the 14th century she received the title of “count”: Azilhan lo Comtal. Built on a rocky ledge, la town’s walls provided effective fortifications with minimal openings. In the 13th century, Azille was part of the cathar inspiration and contained a house of the Perfected which was destroyed in the period of the Crusades. In 1289, 63 years after the death of François d'Assise, Eustache de Lévis restored the convent of cordeliers situated outside the walls to the north of the city. In 1331, his daughter Isabelle de Lévis, widow of Bertrand de l'Isle founded The Royal Abbey of Sainte Claire (abbaye de Clarisses). The vestiges of the walls and some monuments are still visible today.
The town’s economy was based on wheat production, Azille wheat being highly prized in 19th century. Other major products have been olive oil and wine. The multitude of springs in the area allowed tanners and drapers to prosper. By the end of the 19th century with the arrival of the railway, further commerce developed, which in turn led to such bourgeois expansions as the château Gallimard where the musicien César Franck stayed. The Midi Canalbuilt in 1666 crosses the commune for four km.
The parish church of Saint Julien and Sainte Basilisse dates from the 14th century and is classified as an historic monument monument historique. It is a remarkable example of the gothique méridional style. The church and Azille was a site of departure for pilgrims of Compostelle. The fountain of source Saint Andre is today surrounded by a gothic structure dating from the 14th century. The Abbey of Sainte Claire was sold after the French Revolution although some vestiges remain around the church. Nuns returned to Azille in 1891 and built the new convent in the north of the modern town.
As with other similar villages suffering economic decline in recent decades, Azille is attracting foreign residents; current nationalities include; Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. A typical Azille house is show in the image. Another image is of a view over the Aude Valley to the south towards the Pyrenees from the Azille ramparts and houses on that side of old Azille.
Media related to Azille at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Azille.|