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Encyclopedia > Bar le Duc

Bar-le-Duc is a town in northeastern France, in the Meuse département, of which it is the préfecture (capital).



Bar-le-Duc was at one time the seat of the countship, later duchy, of Bar. Though probably of ancient origin, the town was unimportant till the 10th century when it became the residence of the counts.

Originally part of the early medieval duchy of Upper Lorraine. At some stage in the early modern period it was acquired by the neighbouring dukes of Lorraine.

Population (1906): 14,624.

See also: Counts and dukes of Bar


The lower, more modern and busier part of the town extends along a narrow valley, shut in by wooded or vine-clad hills, and is traversed throughout its length by the Ornain, which is crossed by several bridges. It is limited towards the north-east by the canal from the Marne to the Rhine, on the south-west by a small arm of the Ornain, called the Canal des Usines, on the left bank of which the upper town (Ville Haute) is situated.


The Ville Haute, which is reached by staircases and steep narrow thoroughfares, is intersected by a long, quiet street, bordered by houses of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. In this quarter are the remains (16th century) of the chateau of the dukes of Bar, dismantled in 1670, the old clock-tower, and the college, built in the latter half of the 16th century. Its church of St Pierre (14th and 15th centuries) contains a skilfully-carved effigy in white stone of a half-decayed corpse, the work of Ligier Richier (1500-1572), a pupil of Michelangelo erected to the memory of Rene de Chalons (d. 1544).

The lower town contains the official buildings and two or three churches, but these are of little interest. Among the statues of distinguished natives of the town is one to Charles Nicolas Oudinot, whose house serves as the hotel-de-ville.


Bar-le-Duc has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade arbitrators, a lycee, a training-college for girls, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France and an art museum. The industries of the town include ironfounding and the manufacture of machinery, corsets, hosiery, flannel goods, jam and wall-paper, and brewing, cotton spinning and weaving, leather-dressing and dyeing. Wine, timber and iron are important articles of commerce.


Bar-le-Duc was the birthplace of:

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

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