Alixan belongs to a collection of medieval villages often known as "circular villages" that are particularly characteristic of the south of France.
The village of Alixan occupies a mound of molasse rock overlooking a vast plain that was already intensively developed in the Gallo-Roman era. Yet its true foundations date back to the Middle Ages. With references dating from 915AD onward, the hill then became more intensively occupied with the construction of a castle and defences. In 1067, the Alixan estate predominantly belonged to the bishops of Valence and up until the French Revolution the strategic value of the site was to make it a key factor in the battles and rivalries that punctuated the history of the region. Sights to see:
The circular village: Alixan belongs to a set of medieval villages often known as "circular villages" that are particularly characteristic of the south of France. Rolled around a central peak of molasse rock measuring about ten metres in height is a village comprising three circular rings. On the central peak, once a castle courtyard, you can admire the magnificent Church of Saint-Didier. In the centre and at the top of the hillock a castle was erected, the only remains of which are a tower within the building of the modern-day town hall. These two buildings flank an esplanade from which you can gaze out over remarkable panoramic views. Access to the esplanade is via a slope that has existed in its current state since the 17th century, or via a monumental stairway built onto an arch. Only a few visible vestiges of the original ramparts remain. Church of Saint-Didier: Of typically Romanesque appearance, some features date from the 12th century. Although frequently modified, the building has a distinctive character, due in particular to its perpendicular position in relation to the wall of the esplanade. The chancel, which bears signs of further construction in the Gothic era, corresponds to the old chapel of the feudal castle.
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