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An old Well in Ballans
An old Well in Ballans
Ballans is located in France
Coordinates: 45°48′53″N 0°13′11″W / 45.8147°N 0.2197°W / 45.8147; -0.2197Coordinates: 45°48′53″N 0°13′11″W / 45.8147°N 0.2197°W / 45.8147; -0.2197
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Charente-Maritime
Arrondissement Saint-Jean-d'Angély
Canton Matha
Intercommunality Pays de Matha
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Marie-Agnès Begey
Area1 6.94 km2 (2.68 sq mi)
Population (2010)2 207
 • Density 30/km2 (77/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 17031 /17160
Elevation 24–82 m (79–269 ft)
(avg. 72 m or 236 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.

Ballans is a French commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Poitou-Charente region of south-western France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Ballansois or Ballansoises and Balançais or Balançaises.[1]


Ballans is located some 35 km north-west of Angoulême and 30 km east by north-east of Saintes. The southern border of the commune is the departmental border between Charente-Maritime and Charente. Access to the commune is by the D124 road from Brie-sous-Matha in the west which passes through the village and continues south-east to Macqueville. The D133 from Macqueville to Siecq forms part of the eastern border of the commune. Apart from the village there is the hamlet of Les Gorains south-east of the village. The commune is entirely farmland.[2]

Geology and terrain[edit]

The commune is in a Jurassic limestone area which dates to the Tithonian (formerly called Portlandian) at the boundary of the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous (Berriasian stage) areas and there are marl and clay outcrops. This is a zone of low relief that is part of the drainage basin of the Charente river. Ballans commune is on a hill 82 metres high which overlooks the lowlands of other communes (24 metres or lower).


The climate is oceanic Aquitaine.

Neighbouring communes and villages[2][edit]


The name Ballans is of Celtic origin meaning "low land".


It was in Ballans that Richard I of England fought against his father, King Henry II of England, on 4 July 1189 and became king two days later. With the help of King Philip, Richard defeated his father in Ballans and was then pronounced heir to the throne of England. Henry II retreated to Chinon where he died and Richard became King of England, Count of Anjou, and Duke of Normandy.

In 1417 Jean Godefroy was Lord of Ballans.[3]

According to the State of Parishes in 1686 the Parish of Ballant had Louis Audouyn as Lord with 80 fires and land which produced grains and wine.

Baron de Livenne was Lord of Ballans in the 18th century. The botanist Bernard de Jussieu presented him with a cedar in 1734. By its girth and its majesty, it was greater than the cedar in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris which was planted by Bernard Jussieu in the same year. A third cedar from Lebanon brought with the first two trees was planted by Bernard de Jussieu on his Loiret property but it died after several years.

In 1789 Ballans participated in the drafting of the list of grievances which provides us valuable information:

"The parish of Ballans complains that ecclesiastical tithes are paid at Saintes college and what the priests take is not only for charitable works but even for their own needs. It requires mercy and the justice of your Majesty in this regard that the tithes be for the pastor in charge of maintaining the church and the rectory and to fill other functions and duties without perquisites and as tithes of this parish assigned to the College of Saintes, your Majesty is humbly begged to order that all ecclesiastical tithes and other benefits, to be raised annually an amount equivalent to that of the farm tithes of the said parish which currently amount to seventeen hundred and fifty livres."

In the 20th century the main activity was the raising and selling of horses.


The Town Hall

List of Successive Mayors[4]

From To Name Party Position
2001 2014 Annie Trimoulinard
2014 2020 Marie-Agnès Begey

(Not all data is known)


Ballans is part of the Community of communes of Pays de Matha which includes the 25 communes of the Canton of Matha. This canton forms 4.21% of the land area of the Charente-Maritime department but only 1.64% of its population.

Town planning[edit]

According to the census of 2010 there were 127 dwellings in the commune which are mostly old (63 from before 1949 and some before 1890).

There are 88 principle homes, 20 secondary residences and 19 vacant.[5]


In 2010 the commune had 207 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
495 500 544 554 563 563 559 571 600
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
588 566 558 565 548 541 516 504 510
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
475 405 383 322 327 297 302 280 285
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
280 255 224 225 204 218 200 207 -

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

Population of Ballans

Distribution of Age Groups[edit]

The War Memorial

The population of the town is relatively old. The ratio of persons above the age of 60 years (27%) is higher than the national average (21.6%) and the departmental average (28.1%). Unlike national and departmental allocations, the male population of the commune is greater than the female population (53% against 48.4% nationally and 48.2% at the departmental level).

Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Ballans and Charente-Maritime Department in 2010

Ballans Ballans Charente-M Charente-M
Age Range Men Women Men Women
0 to 14 Years 17.6 18.6 17.2 15.1
15 to 29 Years 12.0 14.7 16.4 14.3
30 to 44 Years 25.0 22.5 18.4 17.7
45 to 59 Years 20.4 22.5 20.8 20.6
60 to 74 Years 16.7 11.8 17.6 18.2
75 to 89 Years 7.4 8.8 9.1 12.5
90 Years+ 0.9 1.0 0.6 1.6


Economy and employment[edit]

According to the 2010 census there are 106 employable people of which 98 are active employees or self-employed.[6] The activity is totally related to viticulture in this Fins Bois area of the Cognac region.

The commune is also home to a flock of pheasants.

The town has several rural multi-service shops with a bar and a post office.



The school is an Inter-communal Educational Grouping (RPI) between Macqueville, Neuvicq, Siecq, and Ballans.

Ballans hosts one class which is a large children's section and CP.

Sports and recreation[edit]

There is a Hiking route and a Tennis court.

There is a local festival on the third weekend in June, Fireworks on 14 July, and a flea market in the schools on the 1st Sunday of October.


There is a Senior Citizens Club, the festival committee, and the ACCA hunting society.

Sites and Monuments[edit]

The Church of Saint-Jacques
  • The Church of Saint-Jacques was rebuilt in the 15th century. The Choir and apse kept their broken arched vault and are separated by two small columns with capitals decorated with Gothic foliage.
  • The rural heritage is represented by Charentais porches, fountains, one of which feeds a Lavoir (public laundry). There are old wells including one dating to the 17th century .
  • A remarkable tree, a cedar from Lebanon given to Baron de Livenne, Lord of Ballans, by the botanist Bernard de Jussieu in 1734. This cedar, despite being hit by lightning, dominates the village. It was planted at the same time as the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

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, 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. ^ Inhabitants of Charente-Maritime (French)
  2. ^ a b Google Maps
  3. ^ Châteaux, manors, and lodgings: Charente-Maritime, éditions Patrimoine et Médias, 1993, 541 p. (ISBN 2-910137-04-X) (French)
  4. ^ List of Mayors of France (French)
  5. ^ Lodging Statistics, INSEE (French)
  6. ^ Active Population, INSEE (French)