Salon-de-Provence from the "Middle Ages to the present..."
In 871 an act mentioned 'Villa Salonne', which was no more than an agricultural estate from the time of Charlemagne, belonging to the Saint-Sauveur de Marseille Abbey.
Towards the 10th century the Archbishops of Arles built a defensive castle (castrum) on the rock of Le Puech. This was Château de l'Empéri. (Photograph taken from Château de l'Empéri's main courtyard). It was given this name [Emperi] because the suzerain of Provence at the time was the Holy Roman Emperor.
In the 12th century, farmers and shop owners who had settled at the foot of the castle built ramparts to protect themselves. Of these, the Bourg Neuf tower, the Clock Tower and the Galagaspe tower are still visible.
The Church of Saint-Michel, 13th century and the 12th-15th century Saint-Laurent Collegiate Church are characterised by a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Michel de Nostredame, known as Nostradamus, lived in Salon-de-Provence from 1547 to 1566. The St-Laurent Collegiate church houses the remains of his tomb.
During the Renaissance, Adam de Craponne designed a canal (the Craponne Canal came to salon in 1559) in order to carry the water needed in the town. By means of a canal taking water from the Durance River, he irrigated the town and the Crau Plain, enabling first industrial, then agricultural and therefore economic development. In 1854, a statue was erected in the town in tribute to him (located opposite the Town Hall, in photo).
During the 17th century the Town Hall frontage overlooked the districts that were being built outside the mediaeval town. In 1909, Salon was badly shaken by an earthquake.
In 1918, Salon de Crau became Salon-de-Provence.
Between the 1870s and the 1920s Salon became an industrial town, producing large quantities of oil and soap, following the lead of Marseille.
In 1937, the presence of the 701 Air Base and then the stationing of the French Acrobatic Patrol in 1964 brought a more urban and cosmopolitan element to the population. The Middle Ages and the 19th century left a heritage that is visible throughout the town.