1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vire

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VIRE, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Calvados, 47 m. S.W. of Caen by rail. Pop. (1906) 6228. Vire stands on an eminence surrounded on three sides by the Vire and crowned by the remains of a 12th-century château. The church of Notre Dame (13th to 15th century), and the picturesque Tour de l'Horloge (13th century), beneath which runs the chief street, are the principal buildings. A library and a small museum with good collections of porcelain, pictures and curiosities, are installed in the town hall (17th and 18th centuries). In the public garden there is a statue of Marshal Jacques Goyon, comte de Matignon (1525-1597); and the native poets C. J. L. Chênedollé and P. L. R. Castel are represented, the former by a marble bust, the latter by a bronze statue. Vire grew up around a castle built in the 12th century by Henry I. of England, and in the middle ages was one of the important strongholds of Normandy. South-west of the town is the gorge called Vaux-de-Vire, in which was situated the mill of Olivier Basselin (15th century), the fuller and reputed author of the satiric songs, hence known as “vaudevilles” (see Basselin, Olivier).