Last modified: 2004-07-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: vaucluse | roaix | stars: 2 (yellow) |
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by Arnaud Leroy
The village of Roaix (600 inhabitants, 597 hectares) is located 40 km north of Avignon and 6 km west of Vaison-la-Romaine. The area around Vaison is known as Pays voconce, after the eponymous Gallic tribe. The Gallo-Roman city, known today as Vaison-la-Romaine, was called Vasio Vocontiorum.
Roaix is well-known by paleontologists. In a place called les Crottes (after Latin crotae, caves), an hypogeum including about a hundred of human skeletons was found. Most of the human beings buried there had an arrow point stuck in thorax, and it is believed that an early collective slaughter took place in Roaix in the late Neolithic (Chalcolithic). An artefact known as perle de Roaix was dated with carbon-14 to 3015-2207 BP. It was then considered as the most ancient glass artefact found in southern France and the possible indication of an early elaborated glass craft industry. However, a more recent study showed that the pearl was made of turquoise and not of glass.
Roaix was mentioned for the first time as Roais in 1137, then belonging to the bishop of Vaison. Next year, the domain was granted to the Temple knight Arnaud de Bedos, commander in the neighbouring vilage of Richerenches. The commanderie (fortified estate) of Roaix was granted autonomy in 1148. The Order of Temple was suppressed in 1312 by pope Clement V at king of France Philippe le Bel's greedy instigation, and Roaix became a papal domain, immediatly enfeoffed to the Vaesc family. The Vaesc built the castle of Roaix in the XVIth century.
The village is divided into two parts, the old village on top of the hill, around the castle, and the new village on the banks of the river Ouvèze. The bridge on the Ouvèze was destroyed in September 1992 by the flood which also trashed Vasion-la-Romaine.
Roaix is known for its wine. The vinyard covers 85% of the cultivated land. It is part of the Côtes-du-Rhône vinyard. Since 1966, Roaix is one of the 16 villages which are allowed to use the name Côtes-du-Rhône Village and add their name on the label of the bottles. It is the smallest of these villages, with a vinyard stretching over 46 hectares only.
Ivan Sache, 3 March 2004
The flag of Roaix, as described by Pascal Vagnat, is white with the municipal coat of arms, surmonted by a crown and surrounded by two branches.
The coat of arms of Roaix is (Brian Timms):
De gueules à la fasce d'argent chargée de quatre colonnes de sable, accompagnée de deux étoiles d'or.
Gules on a fess argent four columns througout sable in chief two mullets or.
Ivan Sache, 3 March 2004