Former railway station
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Bernard Portales|
|Area1||10.32 km2 (3.98 sq mi)|
|• Density||310/km2 (810/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||30037 / 30160|
|Elevation||146–492 m (479–1,614 ft)
(avg. 170 m or 560 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.
Historically Bessèges was a hamlet of Robiac. Its importance began with the opening of a coalmine in 1809, followed by an iron and steel plant in 1833, and eventually the railway reached it in 1857. The commune was created in 1858 from several neighboring districts.
At its peak in the late 19th century, the population was over 11,000. However, during the 20th century it declined and eventually the mine was abandoned, in 1964, and the steel-works in 1987. Today its economy is based on tourism, and it is home to the Étoile de Bessèges road bicycle race.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bessèges". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 822.
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