Viviers draws its name from the fish ponds (viviers in french) which fed to it near Gallo-Roman city to Alba (Aps). It remains in the district of the castle of the traces of a Roman presence. With V th century, transfer of évêché in the Vivarium antique, oppidum of Helviens, after the destruction of the capital, Alba . Excavations made it possible to discover the remainders of an ancient place and a base of villa with collonades.
The bishop is lord of the city, and the economic and social life is organized little by little around the presence of évêché: in the high city is established the canonic district, while the civil dwellings are staged on the slope and the low city.
bishop, true main of the country with the archbishop of Lyon, fought
for the independence of Vivarais until the annexation of Lyon per
Philippe the Beautiful one with the XIVth century.
The south of the country, in Viviers, recognized then the suzerainty of king de France and the bishops took, with the XVth century, the title of counts of Viviers, princes of Donzère and of the Châteauneuf-of-Rhone. Viviers was attached to the Germanic Roman empire of 1032 to 1308.
The cathedral Vincent Saint
Saint-Vincent presents a composite aspect today. It was built in Roman style between the last third of the XIIth century and first half of the next century. The bell-tower-porch and the nave, even if they underwent many rehandlings, go back mainly to this time.
wars of religion damaged seriously with the Roman cathedral, which
until had been preserved there: the vaults broke down. The restorations
lasted until the XVIIIth century.
The Gothic chorus and its radiating chapels, built by Charles de Tournon at the end of the XVth century, were restored. This one appears disproportionate compared to the nave, which preserved its proportions of origin; moreover, the luxuriance of the decoration of the chorus contrasts with quasi the absence of ornamentation in the nave.
The nave preserves important Roman architectural elements: outside, with middle height of the side walls, one sees traces of resumption and change of the apparatus. Each span comprises a bay in semicircular arch walled. A trace of recovery to the top of bay of the western frontage (XVIIth century) announces the site of the Roman roof.
An open coursière occupies the high part of the chorus and connects between them the 3 paring arcs and the 8 buttresses in a decorative composition complexes where are mèlent openwork railings, pinnacles, gâbles, pinnacles, waste-gas mains, garlands of stone and pendant. The unit is decorated of a profusion of florets, hooks and reasons vegetable.
The two side pinnacles have their 6 carved faces of fabulous or familiar animals. On the northern pinnacle, two small monks sitted reading constitute the only human representations of all the decoration external of the chorus.
One notices 11 pendant with decorations varied in the center of each side of the apse and the re-employment of Gallo-Roman and Carolingian fragments, with concise signs. In the south-western angle, a bull recalls us that Mithra is not far.
The Saint Michel's tower
The bell-tower of the cathedral, or Holy turn Michel, is high 40 m and broad at its base of 9m. It was built in two parts: initially the square, Roman base of the XIth century being used as baptistry, then the high square tower to deny oneself at the end the XIVth century.
It is attached to the remainder of the building by a porch. The crenels of this one point out its primitive military vocation.
The bells are 4: Marie-Jeanette (1439 kg), Théodorine-Joséphine (760 kg), Arsene-Elisabeth (446 kg), Antoinette-Sophie (338 kg).