1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lodève

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LODÈVE, a town of southern France, capital of an arrondissement of the department of Hérault, 36 m. W.N.W. of Montpellier by rail. Pop. (1906), 6142. It is situated in the southern Cévennes at the foot of steep hills in a small valley where the Soulondres joins the Lergue, a tributary of the Hérault. Two bridges over the Lergue connect the town with the faubourg of Carmes on the left bank of the river, and two others over the Soulondres lead to the extensive ruins of the château de Montbrun (13th century). The old fortified cathedral of St Fulcran, founded by him in 950, dates in its present condition from the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries; the cloister, dating from the 15th and 17th centuries, is in ruins. In the picturesque environs of the town stands the well-preserved monastery of St Michel de Grammont, dating from the 12th century and now used as farm buildings. In the neighbourhood are three fine dolmens. The manufacture of woollens for army clothing is the chief industry. Wool is imported in large quantities from the neighbouring departments, and from Morocco; the exports are cloth to Italy and the Levant, wine, brandy and wood. The town has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a chamber of arts and manufactures, and a communal college.

Lodève (Luteva) existed before the invasion of the Romans, who for some time called it Forum Neronis. The inhabitants were converted to Christianity by St Flour, first bishop of the city, about 323. After passing successively into the hands of the Visigoths, the Franks, the Ostrogoths, the Arabs and the Carolingians, it became in the 9th century a separate countship, and afterwards the domain of its bishops. During the religious wars it suffered much, especially in 1573, when it was sacked. It ceased to be an episcopal see at the Revolution.