The iron bridge in Lodève
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Marie-Christine Bousquet (PS)|
|Area1||23.17 km2 (8.95 sq mi)|
|• Density||320/km2 (820/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||34142 / 34700|
|Elevation||117–700 m (384–2,297 ft)
(avg. 165 m or 541 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.
Lodève (Occitan: Lodeva) is a commune in the Hérault département in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. The derivation of the city's name is the gaulois Luteva, composed of lut-, swamp, mud + suffix -eva. It might therefore translate as the muddy place or the swamp city.
Lodève lies where the plains rise up to the Larzac plateau, 54 km (34 mi) from Montpellier, in the valley of the Lergue river where that river is joined by the smaller Soulondre. It is surrounded by green hills and vineyards and lies only 8 km (5.0 mi) from the large man-made Lac du Salagou.
Lodève enjoys a mostly mediterranean climate, with the hot summers that allow plentiful viticulture. Violent storms and torrential rain are frequently seen in late summer, leading to flooding and the muds and swamps that gave the city its name.
Lodève started as the capital of a Volque tribe (the Lutevani) before becoming the Roman city Luteva (also known as Forum Neronis). The town was a stopping point on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela via the Arles road. An episcopal city until the French Revolution, it was also a centre for textile production under Louis XV and was home to one of only two royal manufactories for tapestry, the other being the one of the Gobelins in Paris.
- Lodève Cathedral Cathédrale Saint-Fulcran de Lodève), parts of which date from the sixth century.
- Museum Fleury (temporary art exhibitions (mainly paintings) and archeology permanent collection).
- Halle Dardé, dedicated to local sculptor Paul Dardé.
- L'Atelier national du tapis de Lodève, the French state carpet-making workshop (visits arranged by Tourist Office, Lodève).
In the vicinity:
- Cave: Grotte de Labeil.
- Saint-Michel de Grandmont Priory and its dolmen.
- Lerab Ling: Buddhist Temple in traditional Tibetan form.
Throughout the year, the town hosts a varied programme of festivities and events both cultural and sporting, as well as all sorts of markets which are always well worth a visit. In recent years, the Museum Art Gallery has gained national acclaim for its major art exhibitions.
The "Voix de la Méditerranée" poetry festival, established in 1998 takes place every July for around 9 days. Poets, musicians and writers come from many different countries on the Mediterranean to share their culture through poetry readings, concerts and other cultural events. This is considered a very special festival for poetry and is enjoyable for all.
Lodève was the birthplace of:
- André-Hercule de Fleury (1653-1743) a cardinal who served as the chief minister of Louis XV, the museum is named after him.
- Georges Auric (1899-1983), composer
- Paul Dardé (1888-1963), sculptor, the middle school is named after him.
- Joseph Vallot, Alpinist, the highschool is named after this alpinist who installed an observatory in the Alps.
The town houses a famous carpet-manufacturing company, part of the national Savonnerie, which once supplied large, exquisite carpets to the French royal family, and still today produces hand made carpets for State buildings.
Viticulture, focussed on the Carignan grape variety, is a major industry. The climate is also favourable for fruit production, and the region's peaches, apricots, melons and tomatoes are prized.
Lodève is twinned with South Kirkby and Moorthorpe, UK
- Sometimes excessively hot. The canicule of 2003 saw temperatures in excess of 40 °C (104 °F), causing many deaths
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
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