BELLEY, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Ain, 52 m. S.E. of Bourg by the Paris-Lyon railway. Pop. (1906), town, 3709; commune, 57 0 7. It is situated on vine-covered hills at the southern extremity of the Jura, 3 m. from the right bank of the Rhone) Apart from the cathedral of St Jean, which, with the exception of the choir of 1413, is a modern building, there is little of architectural interest in the town. Belley is the seat of a bishopric and a prefect, and has a tribunal of first instance. The manufacture of morocco leather goods and the quarrying of the lithographic stone of the vicinity are carried on, and there is trade in cattle, grain, wine, truffles and dressed pork. Belley is of Roman origin, and in the 5th century became an episcopal see. It was the capital of the province of Bugey, which was a dependency of Savoy till 1601, when it was ceded to France. In 1385 the town was almost entirely destroyed by an act of incendiarism, but was subsequently rebuilt by the dukes of Savoy, who surrounded it with ramparts of which little is left.
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