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The Ardèche River in Balazuc
The Ardèche River in Balazuc
Coat of arms of Balazuc
Coat of arms
Location of Balazuc
Balazuc is located in France
Balazuc is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Coordinates: 44°30′34″N 4°22′23″E / 44.5094°N 4.373°E / 44.5094; 4.373Coordinates: 44°30′34″N 4°22′23″E / 44.5094°N 4.373°E / 44.5094; 4.373
IntercommunalityGorges de l'Ardèche
 • Mayor (2012–2020) Bernard Constant
18.9 km2 (7.3 sq mi)
 • Density20/km2 (52/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
07023 /07120
Elevation113–379 m (371–1,243 ft)
(avg. 159 m or 522 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Balazuc is a French commune in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.

The village has been labelled a "Village of Character" by the Departmental Committee of Tourism. It is a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The most beautiful villages in France) Association.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Balazucains or Balazucaines.[2]


View of the Ardèche river at Balazuc.

Balazuc is located some 16 km south of Aubenas just east of Uzer. Aubenas Aerodrome is just north of the commune. Access to the commune is by the D579 road from Vogüé in the north which passes through the commune east of the village and continues to Pradons in the south. The D294 branches off the D579 in the commune and goes west to the village. Apart from the village there are also the hamlets of Servière, Translatour, Le Retourtier, and Les Louanes in the commune. The commune is forested in the west and east with large areas of farmland in the centre.[3]

The Ardèche river flows through the commune and the village from north to south where it forms part of the southern border before continuing south to join the Rhône at Pont-Saint-Esprit. Numerous tributaries rise on both banks of the Ardèche and flow into the river including the Ruisseau de Mariou, the Ruisseau de Chadenas, the Ruisseau de Chastagnon, the Ruisseau de Tison, and the Ruisseau des Costes.[3]

Neighbouring communes and villages[3][edit]


For millennia Balazuc has been the site of a ford on the Ardèche river which was a Gallic stronghold. The name Balazuc comes from the name Baladunum of bal meaning "rock" and "dunum" or "fortified height" in Gallic

Balazuc has the remains of Neanderthal men who hunted ibex there over 50,000 years ago at the beginning of the last ice age.[4] Farmers arrived in the Neolithic period around 3000 BC. to raise goats and sheep, cultivate the bottom of the depressions, and place their dead in mass graves in stone coffins.

In the Late Bronze Age, around 750 BC., the ford below the village was used. The Gauls, for whom there is no trace, gave it its name: Baladunum. The Gallo-Romans cultivated the Plain des Salles where the great Roman road passed between the Rhône and Nîmes. An early Christian sarcophagus has been found whose high reliefs include biblical scenes (a facsimile is displayed in the town hall). In the Middle Ages the village had a church and a castle from the 11th to 13th centuries in an enclosure which dates them. The castle was originally built in the 12th century and greatly enlarged in the 13th century with a square keep. The ramparts, keep, noble houses, and fortified houses are well preserved.

The village underwent an evolution of houses across the centuries but retained its originality and the medieval character of the village with its narrow streets and its "callades".

Pons de Balazuc,[5] the son of Gérard de Balazuc, was one of the first known lords. He went on the first crusade and was killed just before the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 at the Siege of Arqa (at the archaeological site of Tel Arqa) near Tripoli (now in Lebanon).


Arms of Balazuc

Paly of six pieces Argent and Sable, in chief Gules charged with three mullets of Or.


List of Successive Mayors[6]

From To Name Party Position
1971 1977 Pierre Berre
1977 1995 Aimé Mouraret
1995 2001 Guy Boyer
2001 2012 Josiane Delsart
2012 2020 Bernard Constant

(Not all data is known)


In 2010 the commune had 341 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
550 586 670 762 787 800 780 881 905
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
892 878 843 818 802 694 718 705 680
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
605 576 563 456 469 447 419 347 301
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
248 218 213 275 277 337 - 341 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

The War Memorial
Population of Balazuc

Culture and heritage[edit]

The Balazuc Sarcophagus

Civil heritage[edit]

  • A ChateauLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[7]
  • The picturesque Medieval Village from the 11th and 13th centuries
  • A copy of the Balazuc sarcophagus, an early Christian sarcophagus from the end of the 4th or early 5th century found in the hamlet of Salles, visible under the Town Hall
  • A Fortified House from the 13th century
  • The Viel Audon village cooperative

Religious heritage[edit]

  • The Romanesque Church of Saint Madeleine (11th century).Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[8] The windows of the Church are by the painter Jacques Yankel. The Church contains many items that are registered as historical objects:
    • 2 Processional Crosses (19th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[9]
    • A Statue: Virgin Mary (19th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[10]
    • A Painting: Crucifixion (19th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[11]
    • The Dome of an old Tabernacle in the gallery (18th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[12]
    • A Statue: Virgin and child (19th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[13]
    • A Painting: Rosary (19th century)Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[14]
    • A Statue: Virgin and childLogo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[15]
  • A Funeral chapel in ruins from the 13th century
  • The Church of Saint Mary Magdelene from the late 19th century

Environmental heritage[edit]

Cultural events[edit]

The Roche-Haute Association since 1982 has organised concerts and exhibitions of paintings in the Romanesque church including paintings by: Guillaume Beaugé, Jacques Dromart, and Erik Levesque.

Balazuc Picture Gallery[edit]

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

  • Guilhem de Balaun, Castellan of Balazuc and Occitan troubadour in the 13th century.
  • John M. Merriman, Professor of French History and Geography at Yale University (USA), has written a book on the History of Balazuc: The Stones of Balazuc (Norton Press).
  • Aimé Bocquet, pre-historian, in 2011 published a synthetic history of the village since ancient times focusing on life in the Middle Ages based on a tax document dated 1464: Balazuc, medieval village of Vivarais (Éditions Plumes d'Ardèche) (in French).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Inhabitants of Ardèche (in French)
  3. ^ a b c Google Maps
  4. ^ Balazuc, one of the most beautiful villages in France, Aimé Bocquet
  5. ^ Ponce de Balazuc, Father Fillet, imprimerie centrale du Vivarais, 1895 (in French)
  6. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00116641 Chateau (in French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00116642 Church of Saint Madeleine (in French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000513 PM07000512 Processional Crosses (in French)
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000511 Statue: Virgin Mary (in French)
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000510 Painting: Crucifixion (in French)
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000509 Dome of an old Tabernacle (in French)
  13. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000508 Statue: Virgin and child (in French)
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000507 Painting: Rosary (in French)
  15. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM07000506 Statue: Virgin and child (in French)