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Saint Etienne des Sorts

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  IN THE COTES DU RHONE ::
Saint Etienne des Sorts
Between Ceze and Ardeche rivers In the Cotes du Rhone Cevennes foothills Across the bridge from Avignon Near the Pont du Gard Around Uzes Tave river valley
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 village or monument :: Venejan wind mill Site of Gicon Pont Saint Esprit Bagnols sur Ceze Carsan Saint Alexandre Saint Nazaire Venejan Saint Etienne des Sorts Chusclan Codolet Orsan
 
 Saint Etienne des Sorts
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Saint Etienne des Sorts

Saint Etienne des Sorts
Saint Etienne des Sorts
Town hall :: 04 66 79 26 06
   
 
This village is situated on the banks of the Rhône, to the north of Codolet and Chusclan, and south of Pont Saint Esprit. Its landscapes are some of the most mountainous in the area.
 
The first humans who came to settle in this region must have been fascinated by its favorable position among the hills, and in fact, several vestiges of prehistoric settlement have been discovered. The area was still inhabited during the Romanesque period, from which at least two religious buildings remain: the parish church on the bank of the Rhône and the chapel of Saint Pierre on the summit of a nearby mountain.
 
heritage Parish church of Saint Etienne: to our knowledge, there are no existing ancient documents concerning this monument; all we can say is that it was the seat of a Cluny priory under the authority of Piolenc.
 
Chapel of Saint Pierre: it is located some 300 meters north of the village of Saint Etienne des Sorts, on the summit of a steep hill which towers over the Rhône.
history The people of Saint Etienne and the Rhône :
 
The old town registers of Saint Etienne des Sorts mention a number of bargemen whose work was to transport merchandise and materials over the Rhône. The people of St. Etienne specialized in navigating relatively small boats which were called "sapines." Three bargemen, four at most, were enough to do the work; two horses could carry them without much trouble. They carried trunks of poplars and other trees up to the sawmills of Avignon, as well as stones taken from quarries, which were used to cover the river banks. This commerce reached its apogee from 1878 to 1883.
 
In this period, there was a project underway to dike and canalize the Rhône. It took five hundred workers to extract the stones, to cart them from the quarries to the Rhône, and to transport the stones by water so that they could be used for the construction of the dikes. Approximately twenty "sapines," each carrying an average of 30 ml of stones and commanded by regional supervisors, left every day from the ports of Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts and delivered their cargo as far as Avignon.
 
There is not one surface, one dam, or one dike on the Rhône, from Pont Saint Esprit to Avignon, to which the bargemen of Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts did not contribute. The oldest "sapine" that had circulated on the Rhône broke down in 1912. In the meantime, these boats were replaced by much larger pontoons, towed by steam-propelled tugboats. Construction on the Rhône has slowed considerably, and resources have suffered from this slowdown in activity. The population, which reached 1000 in the year 1880, progressively declined to 311 in the year 1931.
 
From that period, the Compagnie Générale de Navigation recruits Saint-Etienne's best bargemen, who all become the best tugboat captains.