Flavigny-sur-Ozerain: The village of "Chocolat"
The medieval village of Flavigny is situated on a rocky spur, surrounded by three streams: the Ozerain, the Recluse and the Verpant.
The first written mention of the village of Flavigny was in the Latin form of its name, Flaviniacum, which appears in the cartulary (or charter) of the Benedictine abbey founded on the site by a certain Widerard in 719. In the mid-9th century, in response to the increasing frequency of Viking raids, the relics of Saint Reine (or Santa Regina) were removed from the nearby town of Alise to Flavigny in the hopes that they could be better protected in a more fortified setting. The relics remain in Flavigny to this day, although they travel back to Alise every fall for the celebration of the saint's feast day in early September.
The town was prosperous during the Middle Ages, catering to large numbers of pilgrims, both those who came to visit the relics of Saint Reine and those on their way to Santiago de Compostela. By the 10th century, the abbey had grown into a town, with a parish church dedicated to St. Genest in addition to the abbey church (dedicated to St Peter). During the 12th and 13th centuries, extensive fortifications were raised around the town; large portions of these walls still surround the village to this day, including the Porte du Val.
In 1632 the Ursuline convent of Flavigny was founded, and in the early 18th century a new residence for the Abbot of Flavigny was constructed. Local tradition holds that it suffered damage at the hands of revolutionaries.
In the 21st century, Flavigny has fewer than 400 year-round residents, although this number increases in the summer due to the substantial number of foreigners (Swiss, American, Australian, German) who have summer homes in the village. The abbey now houses the factory which manufactures Les Anis de Flavigny, small aniseed-flavored pastilles distributed worldwide. Various artists and artisans make their homes in the village, and it has become a popular tourist destination.
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