QR Vic-le-Comte – Bourg 4
The Robin Gate
Main entrance to the count’s town
The Robin Gate (Porte Robin) was one of the seven ancient gates of the once fortified city. It was located here and opened onto the Rue de la Chaussade. The gate, one of the most beautiful in the town, marked the entrance to the count’s town. It was described as being surmounted by an elegant square tower. On 12 July 1533, King Francis I and his huge procession passed through it on their way to visit Jean Stuart, the Count of Auvergne.
During the Wars of Religion, Vic-le-Comte remained loyal to the king. When Henry IV came to power in 1589, the Count of Randan, a rebel, laid siege to the town for thirteen days in an attempt to seize it. To discourage him, the people of Vic-le-Comte began destroying buildings in the suburbs that gave the enemy a vantage point from which to fire cannons on the town. Their determination paid off and the Count of Randan, unable to take the town, eventually retreated. In 1591, the Duke of Nemours, in turn, also laid siege to Vic-le-Comte. Following a severe bombardment, he lifted the siege in exchange for 2,500 crowns (knowns as écus). But the town was devastated, as this testimony from 5 July 1592 tells us:
« Within the city walls, the consuls showed us one hundred and twenty houses demolished and pulled down. On the outskirts they also showed us the great parish church pulled down together with its steeples. They also showed us, from the grand’rue du faubourg named Chaussade to the Porte Robin, a great quantity of demolished houses and barns. »
When peace returned, Henry IV granted tax exemptions to help Vic-le-Comte recover. The fortifications bore the scars of the cannonballs fired upon them. The beautiful square tower that topped the Robin Gate collapsed, much to the sadness of the inhabitants!
- Equestrian portrait of François I by François Clouet, circa 1540, Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Jean-Louis de La Rochefoucauld, Count of Randan, anonymous German artist, 16th century.