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Title: Gien  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Siege of Orléans, Olivier Sorin, Renaud Dion, Bernadette Chirac, Montargis
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Loire River in Gien
Loire River in Gien
Coat of arms of Gien
Coat of arms
Gien is located in France
Country France
Region Centre-Val de Loire
Department Loiret
Arrondissement Montargis
Canton Gien
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Christian Bouleau
Area1 67.86 km2 (26.20 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 14,519
 • Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 45155 / 45500
Elevation 117–190 m (384–623 ft)
(avg. 161 m or 528 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Gien is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France.

Gien is on the Loire River, 80 km (50 mi) from Orléans. The town was bought for the royal property by Philip II of France. The town is twinned with Malmesbury in England.


  • History 1
    • Prehistory 1.1
    • Antiquity 1.2
    • Middle Ages 1.3
    • The French Wars of Religion 1.4
    • Second World War 1.5



Evidence of prehistoric occupation of Gien has been discovered. Gien was probably a centre of trade between farmers and blacksmiths.


In Roman times, there was a town located in the site of Gien. However, its name remains unknown.

Middle Ages

The town of Gien-le-Vieux (Old Gien) became a parish in the high Middle Ages when Saint Peregrine, bishop of Auxerre, founded the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. In 760, the army of Pepin the short stopped at Gien-le-Vieux before going to fight against Gascony and Aquitaine. In the eighth century, Charlemagne authorised the construction of a fortified mound around the site of the present castle.

In the ninth and tenth centuries the decline of the Carolingian empire and Viking Raids led to a gradual abandonment of Gien-le-Vieux. The population mostly moved to the site of the current town of Gien which was easier to defend. However, the church of St. Peter and St. Paul survived until the seventeenth century.

The French Wars of Religion

Gien had a large Protestant community and like its neighbours, Châtillon-Coligny, Châtillon-sur-Loire and Orleans, it was a Protestant stronghold during the French wars of religion. During this period, the churches were looted and clergy hunted.

Second World War

Much of Gien was destroyed during the Second World War. The town was bombed by the Luftwaffe, who aimed to destroy the town's bridge to prevent the French Army from retreating. The bombardment created a huge fire

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