a little history
The first reference to Villes sur Auzon goes back to 1234, under the reign of Raymond VII, count of Toulouse and the pontificate of Gregory IX .
In 1274, Philippe III le Hardi, the king of France, gave the Comtat Venaissin (the area around Carpentras to which Villes-sur-Auzon belongs) to the pope during the pontificate of Gregory X.
During the XVIIIth century, before becoming a part of France, Villes sur Auzon was a seigneury belonging to Catherine de Caromb, Robaud de Mazan, Du Puy de Caromb and the bishops of Carpentras.
The Comtat was only brought back to France in 1791 by proclamation of the Constituent "Assemblée Nationale".
In 1562 François de Beaumont, the famous "baron des Adrets" stirred up the Dauphiné, and, passing through Villes and Saint Honorat (a hamlet close to the village), destroyed the Benedictine monastery that stood there.
the village in the 18th century
the Grand Portail
The village used to be surrounded by ramparts. The walls and gates have disappeared, except for the 18th-century "Grand Portail" with its pediment supported by stone pilasters.
An insalubrious part of the centre of the village was demolished in the middle of the 20th century. The "Place des Cent Canards", probably a deformation of the name "Saint Cannat", and the "Rue de la Juiverie" were then destroyed. The latter name is reminiscent of the Jewish community which probably settled in Villes when the Avignon popes protected the Jewish communities in the Comtat.
the village before 1950
|the village as it is today|
The original chuch was demolished, and replaced by a new building in 1850. There is also a chapel, Notre Dame de Miséricorde, built in 1688, and rebuilt in 1767, where pilgrimages took place until 1945. It is now private property, and converted into a garage.
|the Grand Portail fountain||the 19th century church||l'ancien lavoir de la place de la Mairie|
Villes-sur-Auzon has always been an agriculture area, with truffles, madder, wheat and olive orchards.
Until 1921 there used to be an ochre industry. The ochre was extracted in the pine forest between Villes and Mormoiron, and the sand was purified and processed here. The different ochres were used for making colours and dyes which were sold all over the world.
the old ochre factory
Agriculture is the village's main economic activity today. Grapes and cherries have replaced the old crops. With the arrival of modern machines, a certain number of crafts dependent on agriculture such as blacksmiths, saddlers, wheelwrights have disappeared. The olive oil presses have also gone.
Since the home distillers' privilege was abolished, there are no longer any alcohol stills.
Of Villes-sur-Auzon's total surface of 2630 hectares, 1900 are covered with forest, mainly oak, which was extensively exploited for many years for firewood and charcoal.
Charcoal burners at work in Villes sur Auzon