Stage town for the first time Prefecture of Allier (03)
Population: 20,000 (Moulinois, Moulinoises), 65,000 in Moulins Communauté.
Personalities: Master of Moulins (painter). Dukes of Bourbon, Anne de Beaujeu. Théodore de Banville (poet). Coco Chanel (dressmaker). Richard Bohringer (actor). Stéphane Risacher (basketball). Vanessa Demouy (actress). Samuel Paty (teacher). Angelo Tulik (cycling).
Specialities: pompe aux grattons. Meat from the Charolais. Wines from Saint-Pourçain.
Sport: Moulins Yzeure Foot 03 Auvergne (football, National2). AS Moulins Football. FC Moulins (rugby).
Events: Jacquemart'o56 (downhill run, February). La Bourbonnaise pour elles (race and walk against breast cancer). Stages of Paris-Nice.
Economy: administration, prefecture. Logistics (Logiparc 03). Shopping centres.
Festivals: Moulins carnival in April. Festi BD de Moulins created in 2001. Salon de l'illustration et du livre de jeunesse. River festival. Night of the Artists. Jean Carmet film festival (October).
Labels: town and art trades. Country of art and history.
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta: www.agglo-moulins.fr, www.ville-moulins.fr
MOULINS AND CYCLING
Moulins was the only metropolitan prefecture not to have hosted the Tour de France during its 120-year history. This anomaly has now been rectified, even if the capital of the Allier region had other cycling references. It hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice in the same year, 1957. Four other towns in the Allier had already had the honour of hosting the Grande Boucle: Cérilly, Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, Vichy and Montluçon, the town of the 1956 Tour winner Roger Walkowiak, but also the town where Julian Alpahilippe made his first steps. Born in Moulins, Jean-Pierre Bourgeot took part in four Tours de France between 1993 and 1996.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Annunciation
Construction: 15th and 19th century.
Style: Flamboyant Gothic, Neo-Gothic.
History: the choir is in the flamboyant gothic style of the 15th century in orange-yellow sandstone from Coulandon. The nave and the neo-Gothic spires radiate with a mixture of white Chauvigny limestone and black Volvic stone. The 13th-century Gothic style was considered the purest by 19th-century architects. The work to complete the cathedral, undertaken in the 1850s by architects Lassus and Millet, was later abandoned. The cathedral was finally completed in the 1880s on more modest plans. Its two spires are 82-metres-high but they appear higher because the cathedral square overlooks the Allier River by about 20 metres.
Special features: the cathedral houses the famous triptych by the Master of Moulins (Jean Hey). Its gallery organs by Joseph Merklin (1880) have been listed as Historic Monuments since 1984. The cathedral also houses a choir organ by John Abbey.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1875.
Triptych of the Master of Moulins
Style: Gothic and Renaissance.
Characteristics: The triptych is attributed to the "Master of Moulins". After a long period of debate concerning the identity of the latter, he is now identified with near certainty as the painter of Flemish origin Jean Hey, whose first known work is the Nativity preserved in Autun, at the Rolin Museum. This triptych from the Moulins Cathedral, dated 1502, is in an excellent state of preservation. It depicts the Virgin of the Apocalypse, accompanied by the donors, Duke Peter II and Duchess Anne de Beaujeu, with their daughter Suzanne. This work shows the pivotal elements between the late Gothic tradition and the emerging Renaissance.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1898.
Construction: 15th century.
Characteristics: it is a clock tower of about thirty meters high located in the centre of Moulins so called because of the jacquemart (bellringer) which it carries. Built in the middle of the 15th century, it has been modified and restored following various fires. Originally equipped with a single bellringer, the belfry was rebuilt in the 17th century to include the entire family of four bellringers: Jacquemart, Jacquette, and their children, Jacquelin and Jacqueline.
History: built between 1452 and 1455 on the orders of John of Bourbon, it suffered two major fires, the first in 1655, when only the masonry survived; and in 1946, when Bengal fires set to commemorate the first anniversary of the liberation of Moulins set fire to the building.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1929.
Construction: 14th century.
Listed as: historical monument in 1875.
Characteristics: The Mal-Coiffée tower is the remnant of the former medieval castle of the Dukes of Bourbon. Its nickname of Mal-Coiffée comes from Louis II of Bourbon, who is said to have exclaimed "it's a beautiful tower, but it's badly coiffed". This ancient 14th century keep measures 20 metres by 14 metres with an elevation of 45 metres over six or seven levels.
History: a first castle is attested in the 11th century. It was rebuilt by Louis II of Bourbon between 1366 and 1375. At the end of the 15th century, Peter II de Bourbon and Anne de Beaujeu, Duke and Duchess of Bourbon, enlarged the castle according to a flamboyant gothic architecture. This part of the castle, called the Anne de Beaujeu Pavilion, now houses the Museum of Art and Archaeology. In 1775, the castle suffered a fire from which it never recovered. During the French Revolution, it was sold as national property and in the 19th century, the extension of the cathedral led to the dismantling of part of the castle's buildings
Special features: During the Second World War, the tower served as a German prison (9 June 1940-25 August 1944). Thousands of Jews and resistance fighters were detained there. The Tower remained a prison until 1984. Completely renovated in 2007, it is now open to the public.
Anne de Beaujeu Museum
Opening of the museum: 1910.
Characteristics: its collections include 20,000 works of art, archaeological finds, coins, spurs, weapons and a natural history collection, classified into five themes: archaeology, history of the Bourbons, 15th century Germanic and Flemish painting, 18th century decorative arts, 19th century painting and sculpture.
History: the museum has been located on the site of the castle of the Dukes of Bourbon, in the so-called Anne de Beaujeu pavilion, since 1910. The pavilion was built around 1500 and closes the large courtyard of the medieval castle. It is an early example of Renaissance architecture in France. The present museum owes much to former sub-prefect Louis Mantin, who owned a villa next to the castle. He bequeathed his house, his collections and a sum of money for the foundation of the museum.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1840. Certified as a Museum of France.
Construction: late 19th century
Architect: René-Justin Moreau.
Characteristics: the residence, which has the appearance of a composite villa, opened its doors to the public in 1910, then was closed during the inter-war period, and reopened in November 2010 as a museum, after a restoration undertaken by the General Council of the Allier. Bequeathed in 1905 to the town of Moulins by Louis Mantin, who had no heirs, it was intended to "bear witness to the lifestyle of a late 19th century bourgeois". It allows to take a leap into the past and to enter the world of an erudite bourgeois collector.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1986.
Style: Art nouveau, neo-rococo.
Characteristics: the Grand Café, dating from 1899, is considered one of the ten most beautiful brasseries in France from the 1900s. Its wood-panelled front, its walls covered with mirrors whose combined reliefs extend the space to infinity, its barometer and its clock are formidably preserved. At the back of the room, the ornate balcony housed the orchestra. The later glass roof was installed in the 1930s.
History: a man named Renoux, originally from Montluçon, who had been a waiter in Parisian brasserie Lipp, was looking for a place to set up such an establishment. He found it on the Place de l'Allier, which had become the new centre of commercial activity in Moulins. He commissioned Italian architect Louis Galfione-Garetta and painter Auguste Sauroy with the decoration. The Grand Café, frequented by the town's notables, was a concert café until the 1950s.
Trivia: the place is also known for having been frequented in their youth by Coco Chanel and Georges Simenon.
Listed as: the interior has been listed as a historical monument since 1978.
CNCS (Centre National du Costume de Scène – National Centre for Stage Costume)
Built in a former military barracks, the CNCS is an exceptional museum that has forged its reputation in France and abroad. 10,000 costumes are carefully preserved: an invaluable heritage of theatre, opera and ballet, from the Comédie Française to the Paris Opera, etc. A permanent exhibition is dedicated to dancer-choreographer Rudolf Nureyev.
Banks of the Allier
The Allier is one of the last great wild rivers in Europe. Moulins is turning its attention to this wonderful natural heritage through several facilities. It is possible to walk or cycle over an old SNCF railway bridge, to take advantage of a playground with a supervised swimming area or to discover, in detail, the heritage of the whole agglomeration in a dedicated place: The river house.
House of Art and Design
Engaged in the label of Cities and Crafts of Art since 2019, Moulins Community proposes the House of the crafts of art and design which is a functional place for the craftsmen of art. It provides training and showcases local skills, as well as hosting students specialising in ironwork or glassmaking.
Pompe aux grattons
The scratch pump
It is a culinary speciality of central France (Bourbonnais and, more generally, Auvergne). It is generally made with a kind of salted brioche dough, which contains fewer eggs than the classic brioche and in which the butter is totally or partially replaced by grattons, residues of melted and browned pork meat and fat. Pompe aux grattons is often served warm, as an aperitif and during receptions. It is commonly found in the bakeries of the region. It can undoubtedly be considered as part of the identity of the Bourbonnais.