1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mende

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MENDE, a town of south-eastern France, capital of the department of Lozère, 59 m. N.N.E. of Millau by rail. Pop. (1906), town 5246; commune 7007. Mende is picturesquely situated on the left bank of the Lot, and at the foot of the Mimat cliff, which rises 1000 ft. above the town, and terminates the Causse de Mende. The town is the seat of a bishopric. Its cathedral of St Peter was founded in the 14th century by Pope Urban V., a native of the district, but the two towers, respectively 280 and 210 ft. high, were added by Bishop François de la Rovère in the early part of the 16th century. Partly destroyed during the devastation of the town by the Protestants in 1579 and 1580, it was rebuilt in the 17th century, and in 1874 a statue of Urban V. was erected in front of it. A Renaissance tower of the ancient citadel now serves as the belfry of the church of the Penitents, and a 14th-century bridge crosses the Lot. The town is a convenient centre for visitors to the gorges of the Tarn. It is the seat of a prefect and a court of assizes, and has a tribunal of first instance and a chamber of commerce. The chief industry is the manufacture of serges and shalloons, known as Mende stuffs, exported to Spain, Italy and Germany.

Mende (Mimate) grew up around the hermitage, partly excavated in the side of the Mimat cliff, to which St Privat, bishop of Javols, retreated after the destruction of that town, and where he was subsequently slain by the Vandals, who had pursued him thither, about 408. In the 14th century the new town became the civil, as it had previously been the ecclesiastical, capital of the Gévaudan district.