Statue of Élie Decazes
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Jean Reuilles|
|Area1||13.88 km2 (5.36 sq mi)|
|• Density||440/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||12089 / 12300|
|Elevation||163–454 m (535–1,490 ft)
(avg. 225 m or 738 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.
The town is built on coal. La Salle (the former name) produced coal since the 16th century. It was exported in small quantities to Bordeaux.
Louis XIV and his successors gave mines to their mistresses. The Duke of Decazes inherited such mines, and in 1826 he created, with the help of a technician named Cabrol, the "Houillères et Fonderies de l'Aveyron" (Mines and Foundries of Aveyron) which were to make this small village into a center of ironworking.
Under Napoléon III, the city took the name of Decazeville, and a statue of Decazes dressed in a Roman toga was erected.
The high point of iron production was reached early in the 20th century, with 9000 employees and 1 million tons of steel produced. The production then decreased, and the town has since diversified its industry: metallurgy, woodworking, metal fabrication, and production of steel tubing.
Although it felt the full brunt of the decline in the mining industry, the town has much thriving industry.
A noted strike of mine workers occurred from 1961 to 1962. Some 1500 miners spent 66 days in the mines from 23 December 1961 to 26 February 1962. The last mine closed in June 2001.
The town has a geological museum named after Pierre Vetter, its founder. It is dedicated to coal strata.
The open-pit mine La Découverte is open to the public.
The modern church of Notre-Dame has a celebrated painting of the Way of the Cross by Gustave Moreau.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Decazeville is twinned with:
- Élie Decazes (1780–1860), founder of the town and president of ministers under Louis XVIII.
- Henri Agel (1911–2008), cinema critic and philosopher who died in Decazeville.
- Lilian Bathelot (born 1959), novelist who spent his childhood in Decazeville.
- Jean-Claude Berejnoï (born in 1939), rugby player born in Decazeville.
- François Gracchus Cabrol (1793–1882), captain in the Napleonic army at 21, director of the mining enterprise. Buried in Decazeville.
- Emma Calvé (born 1858), singer born in Decazeville.
- Maurice Frot (1928–2004), writer.
- Serge Mesonès (1948–2001), footballer
- Jacques Monfrin (1924–1998), philologist born in Decazeville.
- Paul Ramadier, mayor of Decazeville from 1919 to 1959, governor of Aveyron, and minister.
- Jean-Pierre Timbaud (1904–1941), World War II Resistance fighter worked briefly in the mines as a child.
- List of places named after people
- Héroïnes, a 1997 film partly set in Decazeville
- Virtual 3D tour in GE
- Communes of the Aveyron department
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