Valence

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Valence
—  City  —
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View of the Financial District from the Argonne River.
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Flag
Country
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Valcluse
Province Auxerre
Prefecture Valence-Saint Denis
Municipality Valence
Founded 5th June 1705
Founder Jean-Pierre Pieck
Legislature Valence City Council
Government
 - Mayor Pierre Carnot
Area
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 - Urban Template:HidFormatting error: invalid input when rounding km2 (Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{". acres)
 - Metro Template:HidFormatting error: invalid input when rounding km2 (Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{". acres)
Population (2012)
 Urban 1,068,707
 - Urban density
 Metro 2,208,597
 - Metro density
Demonym Valentinois/Valentinoise
Time zone UTC +3
 - Summer (DST) UTC +4 (UTC)
Postal Code Span 1001-1010
Area code(s) 500, 501, 506
Website www.valence.gov.va

Valence (Prekovi: Studený Řeka) is the capital and second largest city of Valcluse with a metropolitan population of 2.2 million. Despite its political significance, Valence is not the capital of the province of Auxerre in which it is situated. The city forms a conurbation with Saint Denis, the provincial capital.

Originally settled by Prekovi speaking peoples in the 5th century A.D, Valence soon came under the control of Luxembourgish settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries and became the seat of the dissident republican government during the Valclusian War of Independence. Much of the city's current streets, parks and squares as well as buildings were constructed during the 19th century. The city itself was founded in June 1705 by Van Luxemburger entrepreneur and explorer Jean-Pierre Pieck. Today, the city forms an urban conurbation with the neighboring city of Saint Denis.

Aside from the political capital of Valcluse, Valence is also the cultural and educational center of Valcluse, as well as one of the important technological centers. It is a highly educated city as it is the location of many prestigious schools and universities. The inhabitants are also some of the most educated in the country. Valence also has a crucial economic contribution to Valcluse as well, with 20% of the country's GDP generated in the city through economic activities such as finance and tourism. Many of the nation's state owned corporations and companies are based in the city. Because of this, the city has a high standard of living. Around a quarter of the city's inhabitants are born outside Valcluse, making Valence one of the most multicultural cities in Maredoratica.

Etymology

The original Prekovi name of the city was Studený Řeka, meaning "Cold River", with this name still in use to this day. The modern name for the city comes from written account of the fortified settlement that was encountered by Jean-Pierre Pieck during his third expedition up the Durance River. He wrote that the settlement "was of the highest valence afforded by its position along the high cliffs". The city was then loosely translated into the Van Luxemburgish "Valenz" before being referred back to Valence after the Valclusian War of Independence.

History

Geography

Valence is situated close to the southern end of the Central Wilassian Plain, specifically on both sides of the Argonne River. It is located close to the Central Massif, with its southernmost suburbs being located some 100 kilometers from the foothills. The Argonne originates in the western part of the Massif and flows to the northeast towards the Gulf of Charpentier to the northeast of the city. The river is navigable from Valence itself to the sea, owing to a series of locks and modifications to the natural flow that allows vessels such as barges to navigate the river.

The terrain around the city is most flat and rolling interspersed with ravines associated with tributaries of the Argonne river as well as the Argonne itself. Valence sits at an average altitude of 55 meters above sea level, with areas close to the river lower. Like Lyon further north, Valence sits upon land composed of chalk and alluvial deposits from the river. This poses issues with building construction and parts of the city suffer from subsidence.

Valence can be split into two general geographical areas: the north bank and the south bank. The north bank is where most of the new developments of the city can be found, such as the Financial District as well as a number of middle and upper income suburbs. Within the north bank, these areas are further split. The Financial District, with its large skyscrapers, sits close to the Argonne. On the banks of the river itself include the Old Quarter of Valence which is located in the center of the city. To the west is the University District and to the south are the residential suburbs of Gatineau and Vatry. To the north of the Financial District are the upper income suburbs of Lacoste and Sainte Victoire, both of which are known for tree lined boulevards and meandering streets.

The south bank is the location of most of Valence's industrial areas as well as the city of Saint Denis. Close to the river are the suburbs of Clichy and Fort-de-Valence. These are Valence's low income suburbs.

Climate

Valence has a humid continental climate under the Köppen climate classification system. Summers last between June and August. They are humid with temperatures averaging between 20°C and 25°C, with average lows bwtween 14-16°C. The highest temperature recorded in Valence is 36.1°C, observed on July 15, 1919. Summers are also when the most rainfall occurs, with the wettest months of the year between June and August. Humidity around this time can easily exceed 80% during the summer months. The growing season is from May until September when the weather is warm and generally frost free. Because of the reasonably high humidity and warm temperatures, thunderstorms frequently occur during summer. These can become severe with large hail and even tornadoes forming. Valence sits on the southern edge of the area that is conducive to forming supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes are rare occurrences.

Autumn and spring last between September to November and March until April respectively. Both seasons are variable, with snow occurring as early as September or as late as November in autumn and falling as late as May in spring. Temperatures range from just above freezing in early spring and late autumn to comfortable temperatures in double figures. Snowfall and rain can occur any time during these seasons and often falls as sleet. Ice is also a problem during autumn and spring months and the locals refer to spring and autumns as the "saison de la glace" or "ice season".

Winters in Valence are much colder than in neighboring Lyon, which sits further north. Lasting between December and February, average daily temperatures are below freezing during the day. Average mean temperatures are between -12°C and -9°C. Low temperatures during winter easily exceed -20°C and can get as low as -35°C during bad winters. The lowest recorded temperature in Valence was -45.1°C recorded on the night of February 4, 1893. Most of the snowfall that occurs falls in winter, with January recording the most snowfall on average. Valence is affected by winter storms from the north during winter when northerly winds are predominant.

Northerly winds also bring most of the rain that falls during the spring, summer and autumn months, as Valence sits within the rain shadow cast by the Central Massif. Rain also comes in from the west off the Prekonati Sea and from the east. Humid air masses come from the east and easterly winds often produce the thunderstorms that occur in summer months. However, Valence is a reasonably dry city, receiving 364 mm (14 inches) of rain annually.

Climate data for Valence, Valcluse
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −5
(23)
−1
(30)
2
(36)
11
(52)
17
(63)
22
(72)
25
(77)
23
(73)
18
(64)
11
(52)
3
(37)
−3
(27)
10.2
(50.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) −12
(10)
−9
(16)
−4
(25)
4
(39)
10
(50)
14
(57)
16
(61)
15
(59)
10
(50)
3
(37)
−5
(23)
−11
(12)
2.5
(36.5)
Average low °C (°F) −17
(1)
−15
(5)
−10
(14)
−2
(28)
3
(37)
7
(45)
9
(48)
8
(46)
3
(37)
−2
(28)
−10
(14)
−16
(3)
−3.5
(25.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 20.8
(0.819)
11.9
(0.469)
16.5
(0.65)
28.7
(1.13)
42.4
(1.669)
40.4
(1.591)
64.7
(2.547)
50.9
(2.004)
33.8
(1.331)
22.6
(0.89)
17.3
(0.681)
14.5
(0.571)
364.5
(14.35)
Snowfall cm (inches) 21.7
(8.54)
13.4
(5.28)
17.5
(6.89)
14.4
(5.67)
6.5
(2.56)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.1
(0.43)
10.4
(4.09)
17.3
(6.81)
15.9
(6.26)
118.2
(46.54)
Avg. precipitation days 11 8 9 8 9 12 12 12 12 6 8 10 117
Avg. snowy days 10 8 8 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 9 50
Source: Météo Valcluse

Economy

Valence is the country's second largest economic centre, behind Lyon at $61.93 billion, generating 10.2% of Valcluse's GDP. This gives Valence the second largest GDP of any city in Valcluse at $28,042. Valence has an unemployment rate of 4.9%.

Valence's biggest industries are the civil service, high-tech industries such as information technology as well as light manufacturing, tourism and finance.

The government of Valcluse is the primary employer within Valence, directly providing 29% of all jobs. An additional 30% of the job market could be considered indirectly provided by the government through services and contracts. Alongside the Presidential Palace and the Prime Minister's Residence as well as various government ministries, Valence is also the headquarters for the Central Bank of Valcluse and the Valclusian Armed Forces Supreme Command. The Maredoratic League also maintain a series of officers here, including the headquarters for the Maredoratic League International Children's Education Fund (MLICEF).

Many state owned companies also have their headquarters in the city. Companies such as Sonatel, GazNat and CFNV all have their principal headquarters in Valence, as well as other companies in the information technology and light manufacturing industries in the city. The Valence Stock Exchange (Bourse du Valence) is the second stock exchange of Valcluse and primarily trades stocks and securities related to state-owned enterprises as well as smaller companies based in the city.

Valence is a regional center for high-tech industries in Valcluse, especially in the development of information technology. Software developer Solaris is based in the city, as well as a number of other companies. Valence is also home to a small number of factories and plants that manufacture circuit boards and microprocessors.

Light manufacturing in Valence mainly consists of the production of consumer electronics and appliances.

Government

Valence is the national capital of Valcluse. It is the location of all government offices as well as both houses of Parliament. The Presidential Palace also is located in Valence. The capital also hosts all of Valcluse's international embassies and foreign representatives as well as the Maredoratic League International Children's Education Fund (MLICEF) which was founded in 1973. The city became the designated political capital of Valcluse in June 1801.

Alongside being the capital for national politics, Valence is the capital of two out of the three tiers of local government. It is the capital of the prefecture of Valence-Saint Denis as well as the municipality of Valence. It was formerly the capital of the Auxerre region until 1916, when regional administrative control was shifted to Saint Denis as part of a government decentralization plan. Valence itself is governed by the Valence City Council which is composed of 19 councilors and the Mayor, Pierre Carnot.

Transport

Main Article: Transport in Valence

Public Transport

Valence and Saint Denis are served by RATV, or the Régie Autonome des Transports Valenciennes, which is the metropolitan public transport company jointly owned and administered by both the city councils of Valence and Saint Denis. RATV officially manages the Valence Métro system as well as all bus services in the city and neighbouring Saint-Denis as well as all the regional rail services within Valence and connections elsewhere. RATV also co-manages the tram services in Saint-Denis with a local company. It introduced its "Voyager" smart-card in 2006 and has since issued nearly three million cards which are used nearly 35 million times a year.

Buses are operated by RATV under the Metrolink brand and operate all services in Valence and Saint-Denis. Metrolink also operate special services, such as Valence's "AirShuttle" which operates between the city center and Valence International Airport as well as several historical trolleybus services in the northern suburbs.

Aside from the Valence Métro, RATV operates all commuter and light rail services within Valence and Saint-Denis under the RATV brand. All services are fully integrated with other networks within Valence as well as inter-city rail services operated by SNCV. All commuter trains are compatible with the "Voyager" smart-card system. RATV also operates the Saint-Denis tram which is not connected to the "Voyager" network.

There are nearly 7,000 registered taxicabs in Valence, all of which are operated by individual drivers under the auspices of a council-funded union. This is primarily a safety measure to ensure that rogue operators do not gain a foothold.

Railways

Valence sits as one of two major hubs for the domestic rail network and is served by four major railway stations. The Gare du Nord, the largest station by size, handles trains from the north and northeast of Valcluse, including high speed services from Lyon and Cherbourg as well as regional rail services in the north of the city. The Gare de Ville, located near the centre of the city, handles services from the east and southeast of Valcluse as well as south and eastern regional services. The Gare d'Ouest handles all trains from the west and some northwestern services also. The Gare Levallois is mainly orientated towards regional services although the station has begun to handle services from the south of Valcluse also.

SNCV operates all passenger services out of Valence. These services include Corail regular inter-city services which primarily operate to the southeast and east and the Vitesse high-speed rail lines between Valence and Lyon as well as areas in the west.

Road

Valence is the only major city connected by one motorway, the A5. It runs northeast to southwest from Lyon to the intersection with the A15 just north of Chatillon. It is a dual carriageway throughout most of its length although widens to a quadruple carriageway when it enters the city limits. It passes just north of the city center and forms the northern portion of the Périphérique Valentinoise, the city's principle ring road. Other roads in the region include the B72, a dual carriageway between Valence and the Massif d'Argent and the B81, another dual carriageway between the city and the small city of Brno-sur-Prairie midway between the city and the border with Prekonate.

The street layout of Valence is a combination of planned grid streets and the narrow, winding alleyways and streets of the old city and in Saint-Denis, which developed simultaneously. Most of the planned grid streets can be found in the CBD and northern areas of the city, as they were the last to be developed. Most of the old streets can be found near the river and many of them are cobbled. There are plans by the council to make certain streets pedestrian-only, although these have not come to fruition.

Air

Valence is served by Valence International Airport which is the second busiest airport in the country.

Demographics

Healthcare

Education

Main Sights

Culture

Cuisine

Festivals

Sports