Coordinates: 48°46′19″N 5°09′37″E / 48.7719°N 05.1603°E / 48.7719; 05.1603
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Clock tower
Clock tower
Coat of arms of Bar-le-Duc
Location of Bar-le-Duc
Bar-le-Duc is located in France
Bar-le-Duc is located in Grand Est
Coordinates: 48°46′19″N 5°09′37″E / 48.7719°N 05.1603°E / 48.7719; 05.1603
RegionGrand Est
CantonBar-le-Duc-1 and 2
IntercommunalityCA Bar-le-Duc - Sud Meuse
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Martine Joly[1] (UDI)
23.62 km2 (9.12 sq mi)
 • Density620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
55029 /55000
Elevation175–327 m (574–1,073 ft)
(avg. 240 m or 790 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Bar-le-Duc (French pronunciation: [baʁ dyk] ), formerly known as Bar, is a commune in the Meuse département, of which it is the capital. The department is in Grand Est in northeastern France.[3]

The lower, more modern and busier part of the town extends along a narrow valley, shut in by wooded or vine-clad hills, and is traversed by the Ornain, which is crossed by several bridges. It is bordered on the north-east by the Marne–Rhine Canal and on the south-west by a small arm of the Ornain called the Canal des Usines, on the left bank of which the upper town (Ville Haute) is situated.[4]

The highly rarefied Bar-le-duc jelly, also known as Lorraine jelly, is a spreadable preparation of white currant or red currant fruit preserves. First mentioned in the historical record in 1344, it is also colloquially referred to as "Bar caviar".


Bar-le-Duc in 1617

Bar-le-Duc was at one time the seat of the county, from 1354 the Duchy of Bar. Though probably of ancient origin, the town was unimportant until the 10th century when it was fortified by Frederick I of Upper Lorraine.[4] Bar was an independent duchy from 1354 to 1480, when it was acquired by Duchy of Lorraine.

The Ville Haute, which is reached by steps and steep narrow thoroughfares, is intersected by a long, quiet street, bordered by houses of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. In this quarter are the remains (16th-century) of the château of the dukes of Bar, dismantled in 1670, the old clock-tower and the college, built in the latter half of the 16th century. The church of Saint-Étienne (constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries) contains the Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon, a skilfully carved effigy in white stone of a half-decayed corpse. It was erected to the memory of René of Châlon (died 1544) and is the work of 16th-century artist Ligier Richier, a pupil of Michelangelo.[4]

The lower town contains the official buildings and the churches of Notre-Dame, the most ancient in the town, and St Antony, with 14th-century frescoes. Among the statues of distinguished natives of the town is one of Nicolas Oudinot, whose house serves as the hôtel-de-ville.[4] Other sights include Notre-Dame Bridge, with five arches surmounted by a chapel in the middle.

Bar-le-Duc served as the assembly point for essential supplies going to the besieged city of Verdun during the Battle of Verdun in 1916. Thousands of trucks, carrying men, equipment and food, travelled north, around the clock, on the road linking Bar-le-Duc to Verdun. The route was given the name Voie Sacrée (Sacred Way) by the writer and politician Maurice Barres in April 1916, a reference to the ancient Roman Sacra Via, leading to triumph.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 9,111—    
1800 8,961−0.24%
1806 9,970+1.79%
1821 11,432+0.92%
1831 12,496+0.89%
1836 12,383−0.18%
1841 12,526+0.23%
1846 13,191+1.04%
1851 14,816+2.35%
1856 13,835−1.36%
1861 14,922+1.52%
1866 15,334+0.55%
1872 15,175−0.17%
1876 16,728+2.47%
1881 17,485+0.89%
1886 18,860+1.53%
1891 18,761−0.11%
1896 18,249−0.55%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 17,693−0.62%
1906 17,307−0.44%
1911 17,068−0.28%
1921 16,261−0.48%
1926 16,365+0.13%
1931 16,550+0.23%
1936 16,697+0.18%
1946 15,460−0.77%
1954 16,609+0.90%
1962 18,346+1.25%
1968 19,159+0.73%
1975 19,288+0.10%
1982 18,471−0.62%
1990 17,545−0.64%
1999 16,944−0.39%
2007 16,002−0.71%
2012 15,759−0.31%
2017 14,985−1.00%
Source: EHESS[5] and INSEE (1968-2017)[6]

Notable residents[edit]

Bar-le-Duc was the birthplace of:

Other notable residents were:


Twin cities[edit]

As of 2023 Bar-le-Duc is twinned with:

Cultural exchanges are made throughout the year and the twinning committee also offers German lessons.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 6 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ INSEE commune file for Bar-le-Duc
  4. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bar-le-Duc". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 404.
  5. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Bar-le-Duc, EHESS (in French).
  6. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  7. ^ "Comité de Jumelage" [Town Twinning Committee]. Bar-le-Duc (in French). Retrieved 17 March 2023.

External links[edit]