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by Ivan Sache
The village of Châteauneuf-Villevieille (685 inhabitants) is located 20 km of Nice on the eastern part of the Férion ridge. It is scattered among olive and cherry trees.
There was a Ligurian castellaras (fortified camp) on the site of Châteauneuf, which was reused by the Romans to build a castrum.
The first Gallo-Roman, civil settlement was located in Villevieille (Old town); during the VI-VIIth century, it proved to be unsafe and was abandoned. Its inhabitants moved uphill (623 m asl) and built the new village of Castrum novum or Castellum novum (Châteauneuf). The medieval, fortified village (IX-XIIth century), now ruined, was defended by walls and three main gates.
The domain of Châteauneuf was then shared by some 30-40 co-owners, including the troubadour Pierre de Châteauneuf (XIIIth century), and is the root of several noble families of Nice. Châteauneuf was also among the possessions of the Order of Malta. Among the best preserved parts of the old village are a creneled tower used to breed pigeons and big water tanks dug under the houses to collect and store rain water.
In the XVIIIth century, the settlement moved back down to Villevieille, where the current village is still located.
In 1911, the two municipalities of Bendejun and Cantaron seceded from Châteauneuf. On 15 November 1961, the municipality was renamed Châteauneuf-de-Contes, after the neighbouring village of Contes. Its current name of Châteauneuf-Villevieille was adopted on 1 September 1992.
Ivan Sache, 7 January 2005
The municipal flag of Châteauneuf-Villevieille, flanked by two French national flags, is hosted on the facade of the city hall. The flag is white with the municipal coat of arms.
The municipal coat of arms of Châteauneuf-Villevieille is:
D'argent au château de gueules accompagné de six fleurs de lys du même en orle.
(Argent a castle gules an orle of six fleurs-de-lys of the same.)
This coat of arms is shown, with a grey field, on a plaque placed below the flags described above. Below the plaque, there is a wall certamic showing a yellow shield charged with a white castle inscribed inside a red 16-pointed star/sun.
Dominique Cureau, 7 January 2005Red dog casino