A little stroll in Villefranche
In Villefranche-de-Conflent, the first fortifications were raised by count of Cerdagne Guillaume Raymond, at the end of the 11th century, at the confluence of two valleys.
They called the city Villafranca, free city, because of fiscal privileges allowed since the beginning: so, Villafranca became the economical capital city of Conflent, until the 18th century!
Then, king of Aragon Alphonse V raised the Devil tower. Then, king of France Louis XIII conquered Roussillon. In July 1654, his royal troops besieged Conflent after one week of battle (we have details in the part 2 of Bussy-Rabutin’s Memoirs).
Famous architect Vauban came himself to inspect the old fortifications and re-made them.
He wrote it was a small city, completely surrounded by very high mountains. And he added that this city only needed a stronghold to be impregnable… it will be of course the famous fort Liberia.
We start by the ramparts’ circuit, and discover the double vaulted covered way, with 6 bastions (17th c). Then, Saint-Jacques church (13th c) with its Virgin statue (14th c) and Baroque retables.
In rue Saint-Jean, nice little houses (14th c), including the maison de l’Infante, at number 65: a terrible news story happened just behind those walls… which one?? The Villefranche conspiracy!