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Sub-prefecture of Cher (18)
Population: 27,000 (Vierzonnais, Vierzonnaises)
Specialities: wines from the Vierzon region (Quincy, Reuilly AOC), Berry goat's cheese, Nançay shortbread, Berry lentils...
Personalities: Edouard Vaillant (politician, Paris Commune), Serge Bec (triple Paralympic gold medallist, Tokyo 1964), Jacky Avril (canoe, Olympic medallist Barcelona 1992), Sofiane Guitoune (rugby), Jean Graczyk, Georges Meunier, William Bonnet, Marc Sarreau (cycling)
Sport: Vierzon Football Club (National 3), La Vierzonnaise Gymnastique (130 years of existence), SAV Rugby, CAJO Vierzon basketball, Les prédateurs de Vierzon (roller-hockey). Event: Paris-Chalette-Vierzon (cycling)
Economy: industry (metallurgy, chemicals), logistics, etc.
Culture: The Estivales du Canal, a free festival, is organised every summer in the Abbey garden
Motto: "aliunde pauca requirens" (ask little of others), is on the town's coat of arms.
Labels: Bicycle territory / Turnkey industrial site
Website: www.ville-vierzon.fr / www.cc-vierzon.fr / www.berrysolognetourisme.com / www.departement18.fr / www.centre-valdeloire.fr
Industrial town... on the edge of Sologne
Located in the heart of France, at the crossroads of the main national routes between Sologne and Berry, Vierzon is a town with a rich industrial past and was the flagship of the textile, porcelain and agricultural machinery industries in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The birthplace of Edouard Vaillant, a key figure in the Paris Commune, Vierzon is a town that has always been involved in social struggles. It is also the place where the Société française de matériel agricole et industriel was established. The building known as B3, with its Eiffel structure, on the site of the former Société Française, is now destined to become a reference cultural and training centre, which will host a digital campus grouping together the Algosup digital school, a connected campus and a CNAM site, alongside a site for the Centre Val de Loire Region contemporary art collection, an international reference in contemporary architecture.
This transformation is linked to the growth of the digital industry: the LEDGER company, a spearhead in the sector, has made Vierzon its main site. Vierzon is certainly an industrial town and has been able to adapt to project itself into the future.
Another sign of the area's renaissance is the Berry Canal, now known as the Canal à Vélo, with a cycle path linking Montluçon to Vierzon, and eventually to Tours and the Loire by bike. Vierzon, with its natural assets, its undeniable living environment on the edge of the beautiful Sologne forest, is a quality tourist destination and a welcoming land for anyone wishing to discover its territory.
VIERZON AND CYCLING
Although Vierzon has never hosted the Tour de France, the town was visited by Paris-Nice three times, each time crowning prestigious winners: Eric Leman in 1972, Alejandro Valverde in 2012 and Dylan Groenewegen in 2018. In 2010, Taylor Phinney demonstrated his TT qualities by winning the prologue of the Tour de l'Avenir.
Since 1949, the Paris-Chalette-Vierzon race has been held here every year in September, with riders of the calibre of Jaan Kirsipuu and Tony Gallopin on its list of winners.
The hero of local cycling was Jean Graczyk, winner of five stages in the Tour in 1959 and 1960 and double winner of the points classification in 1958 and 1960. "Popoff" also won five stages in the Vuelta.
Vierzon is also the home of a French cycling dynasty, the Meuniers. Georges Meunier, who died in 2015, was a great cyclocross rider who won two stages in the Tour de France in 1951 and 1953 and finished 9th overall in 1950. His two sons, Jean-Claude and Alain, took over and both won Paris-Vierzon before both died prematurely. Alain's son Nicolas, born 8 months after his father's death in the race, took over the baton by racing for Big Mat Auber during the 2002-2003 season, when he was crowned French points race champion.
Another native of Vierzon, sprinter Marc Sarreau, is riding for the AG2R-Citroën team this season and is still waiting for his first selection for the Tour after having competed in the Giro and the Vuelta for Groupama-FDJ.
Former Société Française museum B3
Built at the end of the 19th century, the industrial buildings of the former Société Française ceased all activity in December 1995. Built using "Eiffel" techniques, the site has been listed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments. It is currently being restored, and a bowling alley has already been installed, as well as the Vierzon Museum. It has a rich collection of porcelain, glass, stoneware, clothing and agricultural machinery. It also has an important collection related to the history of the railway in France and in Vierzon. The exhibition space of more than 600m², with regularly renewed thematic presentations, allows visitors to discover the heritage of Vierzon.
Canal de Berry
The Canal de Berry, opened to navigation between 1829 and 1841, extends over 320 kilometres. It is the narrowest and one of the longest canals in France. It had its heyday at the very end of the 19th century, when traffic reached more than 1,600,000 tonnes of goods per year, but the choice to establish a small-gauge canal quickly limited its claims. Its history is worth a visit for the beauty of the landscapes it crosses, the complexity of the engineering structures built and the hopes it still raises today. In its new version, the brand-new Berry Canal by bike is a greenway that will soon link Tours to Montluçon.
Abbey Garden, Lucien Beaufrère Square
This extraordinary garden is the work of Eugène-Henry Karcher, an Anjou statuary, who had the idea of creating a peace garden after the massacres of the Great War. It is located on an island between the Berry canal and the Yèvre river. This development bears the name of Square Lucien Beaufrère, mayor of Vierzon from 1929 to 1935. The people of Vierzon also call it the Jardin de l'Abbaye (Abbey Garden), as it is located on the grounds of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Pierre. This achievement is a witness to the Arts Deco period between the two world wars. The garden, the war memorial, the auditorium, the bandstand and the washhouse are surrounded by the "peace gates". The impressive pacifist war memorial is the main feature of the square. It was inaugurated on 11 November 1933 and, together with the whole square, has been a listed monument since 1996.
The municipal theatre has a 498-seat auditorium, a bar area, the Mac-Nab Café, a reception hall with a mezzanine that can accommodate temporary exhibitions and a more intimate area called La Pergola. It is named after the famous chansonnier Maurice Mac-Nab, born in Vierzon (1856-1889). Every year, it has a very eclectic programme, ranging from classical music, variety artists, classical or boulevard theatre, to contemporary dance and comedians, and welcomes several thousand spectators each season. The Château de Fay, where the chansonnier was born, now houses a fitness centre.
The church of Notre-Dame (12th-15th century, listed as a Historic Monument) has a 13th century bell tower with 5 bells and a 17th century organ. The church contains a sculpted font (11th century) as well as several chapels dedicated to various saints of the early Middle Ages, notably Sainte Perpétue, Patron Saint of Vierzon.
Espace Maurice Rollinat (Micro-folie)
Located in the former central post office, which has been completely renovated, the Maurice Rollinat space is a new cultural centre which will open in 2020. It consists of an exhibition room, a virtual reality space and Micro-Folie, a digital museum designed by La Villette in partnership with several major national museums.
The wines of Quincy
Located 18 km from Vierzon, Quincy is famous primarily for its vineyards. It covers an area of about 220 hectares and was one of the first in France to be awarded the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in 1936. Its dry and fruity white wine, made from Sauvignon grapes, has made Quincy famous. Winegrowing is at the heart of the town's life thanks to the know-how and determination of winegrowers who know how to combine professionalism and tradition, with an ever-growing respect for the environment. The opening in 2007 of the Villa Quincy, a modern and original interactive scenographic space, has strengthened the image of the vineyard and contributed to its reputation and dynamism. The Society of Saint Vincent, during the annual celebration of the patron saint of winegrowers, and the Confrérie des Compagnons du poinçon, through various events and inductions, are at the forefront of the promotion of the "Noble wine of Quincy".