Porte du Martray in Loudun
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Jean Touret|
|• Land1||43.77 km2 (16.90 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||170/km2 (450/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||86137 / 86200|
|Elevation||47–120 m (154–394 ft)
(avg. 90 m or 300 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.
It is located 30 km (19 mi) south of the town of Chinon and 25 km to the east of the town Thouars. The area south of Loudun is the place of origin of a significant portion of the Acadians, one of the early founding people of New France in Canada.
An ancient town, Loudun contains numerous old streets, and buildings and monuments of which five are Government-listed monuments. It is also the location of a vicus type archaeological site.
Loudun was the site of hysteria concerning the supposed mass possession of nuns by the Devil in 1634.
Loudun in art
In 1968 Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki wrote an opera The Devils of Loudun, based on Aldous Huxley's novel and John Whiting's theatre play. Penderecki's opera premiered in 1969 at the Hamburg State Opera. Ken Russell's 1971 film The Devils is also based on Huxley's novel and Whiting's play.
Loudun is the birthplace of:
- Jean Salmon Macrin (1490–1557), Neo-Latin poet
- Théophraste Renaudot (1586–1653), medical practitioner, inventor of French written press, journalist, philanthropist
- Ismaël Bullialdus (1604–1694), astronomer
- Jean-Charles Cornay, martyr.
- Marie Besnard, accused of poisoning in the '50s in what was a very mediatized trial; her story was the subject of a successful TV movie and of several books
- René Monory, mayor of Loudun, senator of Vienne, president of the French Senate, Minister of Education, president of the Vienne General Council, fonder of the Futuroscope park of Poitiers
- Nicolas Ghesquière (born 1972), creative director of the French fashion house Balenciaga was born in 1972 in Comines, Nord-Pas-de-Calais but was always raised in Loudun where his parents own a golf course.
Loudun is the place of death of:
- Urbain Grandier (18 August 1634), French Catholic priest who was burned at the stake after being convicted of witchcraft.
- André Andrejew (16 March 1967), French-Russian classic film production designer, built decors for movies produced in Germany, France, England and the US.
- Gregory M.W. Kennedy, Something of a Peasant Paradise? Comparing Rural Societies in Acadie and the Loudunais, 1604-1755 (MQUP 2014)
- Kennedy, Gregory M.W. Something of a Peasant Paradise? Comparing Rural Societies in Acadie and the Loudunais, 1604-1755 (MQUP 2014)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Loudun.|
- Tourisme Loudun (in French)