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Belley (Municipality, Ain, France)

Last modified: 2020-07-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Belley - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 November 2011

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Presentation of Belley

The municipality of Belley (8,750 inhabitants in 2008; 2,242 ha) is located in Lower Bugey, 100 km west of Lyon.

Belley was already settled at the Gallo-Roman times, as evidenced by the remains of two temples found in the town. However, the origin of the name of Belley is disputed; proposed etymologies refer to the Roman goddess of war Bellona, to a warlord named Bellinus, or to bellis locus, "a beautiful place".
The Bishopric of Belley was mentioned for the first time in 555, when Bishop Vicentius signed the proceedings of the Paris Council. In the 7th century, Belley was listed as the capital of the pagus bellicensis, an administrative division later known as Bugey. Owned by the German Emperor at the end of the 10th century, Belley was incorporated to the County of Savoy in the 11th century. The bishops of Belley were also lords of Belley; the most famous of them, Anthelm of Chignin, Bishop in 1163-1178, was appointed Prince of the Roman Empire by Frederick I Barbarossa, causing the wrath of Count of Savoy Humbert III. Anthelm is locally venerated as the town's patron saint, although it seems he was never officially canonized.
Occupied by France in 1536-1559, Belley was officially incorporated to the Kingdom of France by the Treaty of Lyon, signed on 17 January 1601; the seat of a Royal Bailiwick, the town belonged to the Intendancy of Burgundy. In the 17th century, Belley was a local stronghold of the Counter-Reformation, with the set up of four Catholic convents. Excepted the establishment of the Le Tanneur fine leather goods workshop, Belley experienced very little industrialization until the second half of the 20th century.

Belley is the birth town of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), author of the book La physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste). Published in 1825, two months before the death of his author, the book is a seminal, if not "the" seminal, textbook of gastronomy. Brillat- Savarin, who analyzed gastronomy from a scientific point of view, is mostly known today through several aphorisms extracted from the book, such as Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es (Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are), La destinée des nations dépend de la manière dont elles se nourrissent (The destiny of the nations depend on the way they eat), Le vin est le monarque des liquides (Wine is the monarch of the beverages), Un repas sans fromage est une belle à qui il manque un œil (A meal without cheese is a beautiful woman lacking an eye).

Belley is the birth town of the biathlete Sandrine Bailly (b. 1979), winner of the World Cup in 2005, of eight medals in the World championships (World champion in pursuit, 2003), and of two medals in the Olympic Games (photos).
Belley is the birth town of the handball player Cédric Burdet (b. 1974), member of the French team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 14 November 2011

Flag of Belley

The flag of Belley, as observed in June 2007, is white with the municipal arms surmounted by the name of the town written in black capital letters.
The arms of Belley are "Argent a she-wolf erect vert". The shield is surmounted by a three-towered mural crown argent and surrounded by oak branches tied per saltire under the shield. Some say that the she- wolf is the emblem of goddess Bellona, after which the town was named; since this etymology is spurious, the origin of the she-wolf remains obscure.

Pascal Vagnat, 14 November 2011

Former flag of Belley


Former flag of Belley - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 November 2011

In 2007, Belley also used a white flag charged with the municipal logo (photo), which has been changed since them.

Pascal Vagnat, 14 November 2011