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Ardèche (Department, France)

Last modified: 2018-06-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: ardeche |
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Flag of Ardèche - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 September 2009


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Administrative data

Code: 07
Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Rhô-Alpes until 2014)
Traditional province: Languedoc
Bordering departments: Drôme, Gard, Isère, Loire, Haute-Loire, Lozère, Vaucluse

Area: 5,529 km2
Population (2006): 306,238 inhabitants

Préfecture: Privas
Sous-préfectures: Largentière, Tournon
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 33 cantons, 339 communes.

The department is named after river Ardèche (120 km), tributary of the Rhône.

Ivan Sache, 11 November 2009


Flag of Ardèche

The flag of Ardèche (photo, Departemental Council; photo, former Regional Council of Rhônes-Alpes) is blue with 16 yellow fleurs-de-lis placed 4+4+4+4 and a yellow border charged with eight blue escutcheons placed 3+2+3.

The department of Ardèche, originally named "Sources de la Loire ou Pays du Vivarais" (26 February 1790) and renamed to "Ardèche" on 6 March 1790, is mostly made of the former Pays of Vivarais.
Originally known as "pagus vivariensis", named for its capital, Viviers, Vivarais was confiscated in the 13th century by the Bishop of Viviers from Count of Toulouse Raymond VI, excommunicated because his support to the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. Subsequently incorporated to the Kingdom of France, Vivarais was nominally part of the Province of Languedoc but kept its own States, presided by one of the Barons of Vivarais and ran by the Consul and the Seneschal of Vivarais. The presiding Baron represented Vivarais at the States General of Languedoc.

Robert Louis assigned in 1949-1950 to the Department of Ardèche the ancient arms of Vivarais, D'azur semé de fleurs de lis d'or, à la bordure d'or chargée de huit écussons d'azur ("Azure semy de lis or a border of the second eight inescutcheons of the field"). On the flag, the semy of lis is replaced by 16 fleurs-de-lis. The town of Aubenas has the same border on its arms, said to highlight the status of the town, one of the eight towns of Vivarais appointing a Consul to the States of Vivarais.

Ivan Sache, 24 September 2009


Ardèche goat's flags

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Ardèche goat's flags - Images by Chèvres&Co, 15 March 2018

The Chèvres&Co company (website) sells two Ardèche flags:
- the Ardéchois flag (photo), white with a white map of the department outlined in black and charged with a black goat's head wearing a white eye-band and the name of the department written in black letters beneath the goat;
- the Tricolardéchois flag (photo), made of the French Tricolore charged in the center with the aforementioned emblem.

Chèvres&Co, located in Saint-Remèze, presents itself as "a fierce defender of Ardèche, of the Southern patois, of farmers... and of goats!". Most of the products sold by Chèvres&Co are designed by the strip comic artist Olivier Tichit (website), renown for his offbeat humor.
Tichit's goat's head is clearly inspired from the Corsican Moor's head.

Goat breeding is one of the main sources of income in Ardèche. As of late 2004, 31,000 goats (vs 85,175 in 1929) were bred in Ardèche; 97% of them were raised in 534 farms, mostly (60 %) located in Upper Vivarais.
[Agreste, March 2005]
The emblematic goat cheese from Ardèche is called picodon (website). A Decree issued on 25 August 2000 restricts the use of the name of picodon to cheese produced in the departments of Drôme, Ardèche, Gard (canton of Barjac) and Vaucluse (canton of Valréas). A small, round cheese, picodon was named for the Occitan word pichot, "small".

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2015