|• Mayor (2001–8)||Jean-Yves Caullet|
|Area1||26.75 km2 (10.33 sq mi)|
|• Density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||89025 / 89200|
|Elevation||163–369 m (535–1,211 ft)
(avg. 254 m or 833 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.
Avallon is located 50 km south-southeast of Auxerre, served by a branch of the Paris-Lyon railway and by exit 22 of the A6 motorway. The old town, with many winding cobblestone streets flanked by traditional stone and woodwork buildings, is situated on a flat promontory, the base of which is washed on the south by the Cousin, on the east and west by small streams.
Chance finds of coins and pottery fragments and a fine head of Minerva are reminders of the Roman settlement carrying the Celtic name Aballo, a mutatio or post where fresh horses could be obtained. Two pink marble columns in the church of St-Martin du Bourg have been reused from an unknown temple (Princeton Encyclopedia). The Roman citadel, on a rocky spur overlooking the Cousin valley, has been Christianized as Montmarte ("Mount of the Martyrs").
Avallon (Aballo) was in the Middle Ages the seat of a viscounty dependent on the duchy of Burgundy; on the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, it passed under the royal authority. The castle, mentioned as early as the seventh century, has utterly disappeared.
King Arthur and the French Avallon theory
Geoffrey Ashe first mentioned the French Avallon theory in his 1985 book, The Discovery of King Arthur. His theory is that "King Arthur" is based on the historical Romano-British supreme king Riothamus, who reigned between 454–470, and whose life and campaigns have parallels to the accounts of "King Arthur" in the first medieval accounts of King Arthur by Geoffrey of Monmouth (Historia Regum Britanniae, c. 1136). In the year 470, Riothamus disappeared (and presumably died) in the neighborhood of Avallon after being defeated in the battle of Déols by Euric king of the Visigoths, who the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius had hired him to fight against. This, and other aspects of his reign, made Ashe propose him as a candidate for the historical King Arthur, with Avallon becoming the Arthurian Avalon.
In 2007, after many inquiries, the Burgundy Today website commissioned the author and resident of Avallon, Marilyn Floyde, to research all aspects of the French Avallon theory. Her findings were published in 2009 as King Arthur's French Odyssey – Avallon in Burgundy, putting forward the claim that Avallon was the only place of that name in existence during the fifth century. A second edition was published in 2016, with more about an Island of Avallon located in the vicinity of the town.
Its chief building, the formerly collegiate church of Saint-Lazare, dates from the twelfth century, on an earlier foundation dedicated to Notre Dame. Vestiges of the earlier church were revealed beneath the high altar in an excavation of 1861. The acquisition of a relic of Saint Lazare prompted its rededication: Saint Ladre is attested in the fourteenth century. It was the seat of an archdeaconate answering to the bishop of Autun. The two western portals are densely adorned with sculpture in the Romanesque style; the tower on the left of the facade was rebuilt in the seventeenth century. The Tour de l'Horloge, pierced by a gateway through which passes the Grande Rue, is an eleventh-century structure containing a museum on its second floor. Remains of the ancient fortifications, including seven of the flanking towers, are still to be seen. Avallon has a statue of Vauban, the military engineer of Louis XIV.
The manufacture of biscuit and gingerbread, and the leather and farm implements supports the economy in Avallon, and there is considerable traffic on wood, wine, and the live-stock and agricultural produce in the surrounding country.[verification needed]
Avallon is twinned with:
- Celtic, "Apple-tree" ("FalileyevMap.pdf" (PDF). Cadair the Aberystwyth University online research repository. Retrieved November 2011. Check date values in:
|access-date=(help) )[verification needed]
- Aballo appears on the Antonine Itinerary and in the Tabula Peutingeriana. ("Avallo = Aballo:aval0072". Society for Late Antiquity, University of South Carolina. Retrieved November 2011. Check date values in:
- Jordanes, The Origin and Deeds of the Goths XLV.237, quoted at Riothamus.
- Chisholm 1911, p. 51.
- Floyde, Marilyn. King Arthur's French Odyssey: Avallon in Burgundy (2nd ed.). Books Sans Frontieres. ISBN 9780956983541.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Avallon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 51.
- INSEE ([French] National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies)
- Stillwell, Richard, ed. (1976). "Aballo (Avallon), Yonne, France". Princeton Encyclopaedia of Classical Sites. (subscription required)
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